Scrambles in the Dark Peak
Easy summer scrambles and winter climbs
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A guidebook to scrambling in the Dark Peak and Roaches areas of the Peak District. Year-round graded scrambling routes for all abilities, including classics such as Wilderness Gully East and Wildboar Clough. 41 scrambles with link routes, variants and extensions, from scrambly walks to difficult rock climbs and winter ascents grade 1-3.
- 3 winter-only routes; all others possible at any time of year but heavy rain and higher than usual water levels will affect some scrambles
- Most scrambles in this guidebook are within easy reach of Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. Local centres could be Edale, Crowden, Hayfield, Greenfield.
- Routes are graded 1-3 in order of increasing difficulty (from ‘scrambly’ walks to moderate/difficult rock climbs). Easy scrambles are suitable for adventurous walkers with good fitness and navigation skills, harder routes require some rock climbing experience. In winter conditions, Scottish winter grades 1-2/3 apply and crampons and ice axes will be needed.
- Must See
- Kinder Downfall and the ravine; Ashop Clough and its gullies; Bleaklow via Ashton Clough; Torside Gully; Wildboar Clough; the Wilderness Gullies – all are good scrambles at any time of year. Mam Tor and Back Tor gully, with the Castleton Skyline walk, are winter classics.
The Peak District has been an important area for walkers and climbers for over 100 years with many well-established footpaths. Less well-known are the opportunities for hands-on ascents, up gullies, brooks and cloughs, where scramblers can keep fit and hone their skills year-round.
This guidebook to scrambles in the Dark Peak and Roaches describes over 40 winter and summer routes, with plenty of links and extensions to make up longer, more challenging days on the moors. It is aimed at the more adventurous walker who might wish to add a little more ‘spice’ to their outings, and also those with some rock-climbing experience who may be looking for something away from the mainstream crags while retaining some element of ‘hands-on’ contact with the rock.
Routes are graded for difficulty and range from scrambly walks to more difficult rock climbs. Easy routes are suitable for walkers with good fitness and navigation skills, while harder routes are for experienced rock climbers.
- illustrated with large-scale OS map extracts
- includes routes in Chew Valley, near Crowden, on Bleaklow and Kinder Scout and in the Roaches
- with advice on equipment, conditions, grades and access and conservation restrictions
Scrambling in the Dark Peak
Warnings and Precautions
About the Routes
THE CHEW VALLEY AREA
1 Rimmon Pit Clough/Trinnacle/Holme Clough
2 Alderman's Rocks
3 Dovestone Quarry Central Gully
4 Charnel Clough
THE WILDERNESS GULLIES
5 Wilderness Gully West
6 Wilderness Gully East
7 Wilderness Gully Far East
8 Wilderness Gully Far Far East
9 Wilderness Gully Far Far Far East
10 Chew Brook
THE CROWDEN AREA
11 Oaken Clough
12 Coombes Clough
13 Shining Clough
14 Deer Knowl
15 Lawrence Edge No 1
16 Lawrence Edge No 2
17 Wildboar Clough
18 Torside Clough
19 Torside Gully
20 Yellowslacks Brook/Dowstone Clough
21 Ashton Clough
22 Alport Castles Tower
23 Alport Castles Gully
24 Blackden Brook
25 Fair Brook
26 Fair Brook Gully
27 Nether Red Brook
28 Upper Red Brook
29 Far Upper Red Brook
30 Square Chimney Exit
31 Kinder Downfall Climb
32 Arpeggio Gully
33 Red Brook
34 Crowden Clough
35 Grindsbrook Clough
36 Ringing Roger
37 Back Tor Gully
38 Mam Tor Gully
39 Elbow Ridge
40 Roaches Lower and Upper Tier Ridges
41 Chrome Hill/Parkhouse Hill
Appendix A Index of Routes
Appendix B Further Reading
Appendix C Useful Contacts
The Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Explorer OL1 (Dark Peak) map covers all the routes except for The Roaches and Chrome and Parkhouse Hills, when the OL24 (White Peak) map will be needed. Many of the footpaths mentioned in the text are not shown on the maps and can be fairly indistinct in some cases, especially where described as a ‘vague path’ or ‘sheep track’. At other times it will be a case of ‘find the best way’.Where given, National Grid references are quoted to six digits only (eg SK 123 456), close enough to enable the feature to be found on the map.
As anyone who has become ‘misplaced’ on the moors of the Dark Peak knows, it is very easy to get lost in poor visibility. So before this happens, check that you’ve got the right map and a compass with you and, more importantly, that you know how to use them.
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Far upper red brook. Route no. 29
There has been a rock slide about half way up the route. ( reported October 2017) This can be passed safely ,with care, on the right going up, left coming down. Ideally, not putting to much reliance on the new rock for holds.
With luck they will fully stabilise this winter.
(Thanks to Paul Chandler)
As a general note, all the routes in the guide use the relevant OS 1: 25,000 maps, which may not show rocky terrain in exact detail. This leaves an element of choice for the user. Whilst many people are now using GPS devices we would always recommend that users carry the relevant map and a compass.
Route 15 Lawrence Edge No 1
The approach to this route has changed as follows:
[Approach] as for Route 14, but after leaving the quarry track and walking uphill a little, work over to the right until the flat area below Lawrence Edge and behind the quarry workings comes into view. At the left (eastern) end of the crag are two shallow gully lines set close together that rise up the hillside towards a line of rock buttresses. They contain little in the way of continuous rock and prove disappointing when climbed. Further left is another, deeper, gully with more continuous rock sections. The route takes this line. Follow a vague path through the grass and heather (some hidden rocks underfoot) to the bottom of the gully.
Route 40 Roaches Lower and Upper Tier Ridges
There is extra information for the Approach to this route as follows:
...follow the path over to the right making for the very end of the lower-tier rocks (these are the most southerly). Please note that the lay-by parking is extensive and either the small gate or the main track can be used, whichever appears first.
Ramshaw rocks route description
The letters 'DFC', mentioned as scored onto the starting slab at Ramshaw Rocks, have weathered away...,
'A good little guide covering some of the hidden gems in the Dark Peak. The guide is well laid out with the scrambles categorised in to the relevant geographical locations. Where there are several scrambles close by, the guide includes possible link ups which you can do to make it a fll day out on the hill. Alternatively, the route maps include a nice walk to and from the scramble.'
Chris Guest, Mountain Rescue Magazine, April 2013
Bred, born and still living in Nottingham, Terry was 23 years old before he climbed his first proper rock routes at Lawrencefield Quarry in the Peak District and his climbing career soon peaked at leading v.diffs! After a few years of being dragged up harder routes, he decided that the life of a 'crag rat' was not for him.
A weekend away in Snowdonia in the late 70's opened his eyes to other possibilities and he began to restrict his climbing activity to trips to Wales, the Lakes and the highlands and islands of Scotland, gradually extending his skills to include winter snow and ice climbing. As he got older, the combination of a walk into the mountains, followed by a few hundred feet of steady scrambling to reach the summit, became his idea of a good day out.
Tom has been walking and climbing in the Peak District for 45 years as well as having extensive Alpine and British mountaineering experience in both summer and winter. He has developed a great affection for these Moorland places at all times of the year and in all weathers. Alone, or with friends, he has realised how varied and interesting are the opportunities for having great 'hands-on' fun using all the skills used in the bigger mountains.View Articles and Books by Tom Corker
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