For much of our walk from Digley Reservoir yesterday Black Hill dominated the view. At one point I wondered if it would be possible to make a diversion to pop up to the top and bag the trig point, but I have previous in that regard from a walk in the Dales last year and Lynnie has become wary when we deviate uphill. Its not that Lynnie minds an ascent, she just likes to know when it is coming.
We have roughly planned our route for today to take in the trig point at Black Hill. Lynnie is well aware that at some point during our stay I will be heading up there so it is probably best to get it out of the way early on. The starting point is the small car park by the disused quarry overlooking Wessenden Head Reservoir.
We decide to have a sandwich before we set off, sitting in the car we see a tribute with flowers and teddy bears tied to the fence a bit further along. Starting our walk we turn left from the car park passing the tribute, we recognise the picture as one of the victims of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, known as the Moors Murderers. It was near this spot that Brady murdered and then buried Keith Bennett in June 1964 he was aged 12 and his body has never been recovered.
It is in sombre mood that we cross the A635 joining the Pennine Way footpath on the left that heads across Wessenden Head Moor. We have hardly spoken to each other; both deep in our thoughts, when we do speak it is about the evil of some individuals and the fact that as children we both recall the impact of hearing about Brady and Hindley. Both of us grew up in rural communities where we had freedom to roam without a thought that an adult would harm, rather than protect a child. Then the news was full of the dreadful activities of this evil pair and a childhood innocence was lost.
Our route is easy going, this is a section of the Pennine Way that has been laid with flagstones. I know there are some that disapprove of this approach, however having seen the way that popular paths spread and erode leaving a scar on the landscape I fully support the path laying.
There is no need to describe the route it is very clear as we pass through Reap Hill Clough and Dean Clough fording the streams at both.
We are ascending steadily and the views are extensive over to Holmfirth and further in the distance Emley Moor Tower.
The path turns to head south west up Issue Clough and then continues across level ground to the trig point on top of Black Hill. I have now bagged my 52ndOrdnance Survey trig point.
From here we leave the Pennine Way for a northwesterly path across the moor. After the clarity of the Pennine Way it is challenging to follow the indistinct path, it requires a combination of the map and my OS phone App. Fortunately the dry weather means that the footing is reasonably firm.
This section of the walk feels very remote, there are times when we are unable to see anything man-made apart from planes in the sky, and the only sound is of birds, in particular Golden Plovers.
We encounter a couple of sections across streams which are decidedly boggy and we navigate carefully to ensure a firm footing. I know for sure I would not want to wander across in wet conditions. It is with relief that we gain firmer ground and reach a quarry by the side of the A635. It is amazing that we have been so close to this road; yet felt in the middle of a wilderness.
Crossing the A635 we join a footpath and then enter a fenced area and turn right to follow the fence line in an easterly direction back towards the car park at Wessenden Head. This is another challenging route and is a difficult path to follow. There are a number of deep valleys to traverse so it feels like we are on a rollercoaster of descent and ascent.
After crossing Wicken Grain we turn northwards to head along the valley to Wessenden Head reservoir. This is the highest of the descending run of reservoirs in the Wessenden Valley; below it are the Wessenden, Blakely and Butterley reservoirs.
Construction on the Wessenden Head reservoir commenced in March 1877 and was completed in August 1881. Towards the end of a challenging six mile walk it is a tranquil spot.
We take a slight diversion to walk to the dam on the Wessenden Head reservoir to look at the view down the Wessenden valley, with Wessenden reservoir directly below us. It looks absolutely stunning.
Now it is just a straightforward walk up the hill along the track, near the gate there is a frame with the words “Many people look, but only a few see” is the idea of local artist Ashley Jackson. It is a fantastic idea which hopefully will encourage a few more folk to explore this stunning bit of countryside.
Back at the car we sit and look at the view, it is stunning. Our walk has covered just over six miles, it has been an interesting wander, but one that I am unlikely to get Lynnie to repeat!
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map 1 –The Peak District – Dark Peak area
17th May 2018
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)