One of the great parts of being an outdoors, walking type of person is exploring every part of your “local” hills. Getting to know the best routes, places and hills, returning to them regularly, becoming intimately familiar with all their subtleties and nuances. As life and work takes you to new homes so you have new “local” hills to explore and the process starts again. This has the added benefit that when you return to your old stomping grounds it’s like renewing old acquaintances and discovering their charms all over again. The reason for this slightly rambling first paragraph. My local hills are currently the Black Mountains but my previous stomping ground was the Peak District having lived in Hilton (near the Toyota factory) for a few years. I was heading north for a rather mixed activity weekend and thought a short walk in the Peak was in order. Inspired by Terry’s video and it’s nearness to the M1, I chose the Froggatt and Baslow edges for my walk.
I set off from home rather later than I wanted so I didn’t reach the car park at Curbar Gap until 1pm. The weather was pleasant without being glorious and I set off to find a quiet spot for lunch. As I walked onto the edge the memories came flooding back. I’ve walked Froggatt Edge many times and its a classic. easy walking right along the edge of gritstone crags (hint – don’t follow the main path it runs several metres back from the edge) with stunning views across to the White Peak, down to Chatsworth House and along to the gritstone edges above Hathersage.
There are few better places for easy striding out with expansive views than these gritstone edges and I realised I’d been away too long. No navigation issues, no bog, no tussocks just long miles of pleasant soft valleys and darker moorland behind. Long lost friends
There was a keen wind blowing so I had to dip down amongst the eroded rocks to find a sheltered lunch spot. ED over at Beating the Bounds had been promoting the benefits of carrying a stove for a fresh brew on day walks so I’d armed myself with a new lightweight kettle to go with mini gas burner cartridge.
What a top idea, sitting with Froggatt to myself (it was a Thursday afternoon) sipping a fresh cuppa I felt pretty smug I can tell you. Life can be pretty chuffing good sometimes.
Still, had to get moving, it was an 8 mile walk I had planned and darkness arrives quickly this time of year.
The route is taken from the excellent set of guides to the Peak by Mark Richards, the proverbial bibles of White and Dark Peak walking. There was some lovely autumn light as I carried on down the edge and apart from a few folks out walking their dogs the place was empty.
The route works it way back by diving down to Grindleford and following a succession of paths across the fields in the Derwent valley before reaching the village of Froggatt itself. From there it follows the river all the way to Baslow. This stretch is a little more developed with a succession of large houses fronting the river. One in particular had a huge rolling lawn a good 400 yards long complete with its own figure 8 pond and iron bridge. Some serious money in these parts.
To get back to Baslow Edge the route takes you up the very steep road towards Curbar Gap. I’m sure there must be a better way to reach Baslow Edge but Curbar village is pretty and in the fading light I didn’t really have time to look for an alternative. As you exit the village Froggat Edge looms above you and it looked ethereal in the fading light with the moon coming up.
I figured I had enough time to get up onto Baslow Edge as well so I strode out across the moor to its southern end. As I reached the top the sun was setting and the lights of the villages and towns in the Derwent valley were coming on like xmas lights.
Time for another brew. The wind had dropped so I was able to sit on the edge with my feet dangling, watching the fairy lights below as it got dark.
Amazing how quickly it gets dark at this time of year. There was more than enough light for me to set up my stove when I started but I needed my head torch to find all the bits 15 minutes later when I packed up. I walked the final mile back to the car in pitch darkness but the terrain on the edges is easy so no real problem.
Quality half-day catching up with an old friend or two. With hindsight I should have taken Terry’s advice and stayed high with a return back over White Edge to take in the wild moors and big sky – it was a bit dark down by the river. Still be there next time though. Off to spend the evening with another couple of old friends, EWO and TYG in Harrogate before more adventures under Yorkshire the next day.