Thursday, 30 December 2010

Loose Ends

I've walked most of the paths round Redmires many times but there is one path that goes off from the upper reservoir, close to the start of the track up to Stanage Pole, that I've known about for quite a  while now (like a few years) but never walked.  I had planned to explore it yesterday but got sucked into Sheffield for the sales (I know, yuk).  I managed to get out this afternoon for a couple of hours.  It was noticeably warmer than two days ago, when I'd circumnavigated the top reservoir in near arctic conditions, and there was some very atmospheric cloud just hanging around.

End of Redmires Road

Redmires Top Reservoir from the road

The track heads southwest (ish) over some open access land on the area of the OS 1:50k map marked as White Stones.  After a bit of ascent, it branches.  East would have taken me back to the path which runs above the reservoirs on the flank of Rud Hill.  I've walked over there before so I took the western branch which after only a short distance turned down hill, back to where I had come from.  However, there are a series of sheep tracks continuing south and west, which are easy enough to follow for a while before they degenerate into alternate regions of tussocks and heather.  I suspect the open access agreement doesn't extend this far but I took advantage of the low light levels, the mist and my black 'stealth' goretex and pressed on, throwing caution and responsible hill walking to the winds. 

Redmires Top and Middle reservoirs from open access path

The open access path with the plantation and Stanage Pole in the distance

It was a truly fabulous bit of wild walking over open moorland.  I aimed for the Cowper Stone on the southern end of Stanage, which I estimated would take me 5 to 10 minutes to reach and probably took nearer 15 or 20.  Usually when it's misty I find things are often closer than they appear but I guess the tussocky terrain and the two streams I had to cross slowed me down.

Walking over tussocks towards Cowper Stone and the back side of Stanage Edge in the distance

Most of the snow had gone - such a contrast to two days ago but there was still quite a bit of ice around.

Interesting speckled ice pattern in natural (?) cup in rock on top of Stanage Edge

At the Cowper Stone, a sign dated 2005 says there is a Ring Ouzel's nest.  I guessed that even if they had returned in subsequent years, they probably wouldn't be in residence just now.  So I climbed up past the stone and headed for the trig point.

As I walked along the top of the Edge, I passed one or two folk who appeared out of the gloom and saw a couple of climbers topping out - they must have been desperate to climb as the rock could hardly be described by any sane person as 'in condition'.  I made my way along to Robin Hoods Cave area, where a track cuts over normally boggy moorland directly to Stanage Pole.  It appeared boggy today but I found that instead of sinking in, I  was walking on water - well a very thin layer of water covering a thicker layer of ice.  The mist lifted a little as I dropped down from the Pole and the clouds parted enough to show a ribbon of blue sky, which I completely failed to capture with the camera phone.

3.5 miles and about 500' of up.


John J said...

I'm no expert, but that hollow in the rock looks rather like a pre-historic cup carving.


Pennine Ranger said...

Hi JJ. Yes, I wondered about that. I'm sure I have something about these features in a book but couldn't find it last night. Also there are some similar features at the northern end of Stanage Edge (beyond High Neb) which I think are more recent and used to collect rain water and dew for horses to drink from when this was a pack horse trail but again I can't remember where I've read this and, so far, google has failed me!