Stanton Moor on a snowy Sunday

Stanton Moor, the land where nine maidens and a fiddle player still stand on Stanton Moor. They were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday.  Or so the legend of Nine Ladies stone circle goes.
The Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Stanton Moor, snowbound


The Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Stanton Moor

 They are not alone.
The Nine Ladies stone circle is just one of many ancient and historic sites on Stanton Moor where prehistoric people lived and buried their dead over 3,500 years ago.  There are burial mounds, field boundaries, ring cairns, more stone circles and the subtle traces of houses crowd the woodlands and lurk beneath heather.


Hmmmm…..


Moving on.


Starting with my childhood days, I spent many happy hours walking on Stanton Moor, only to continue visiting the moor through my teens, my twenties and later, right up to the present day. I have no doubt, that while I can still get to Stanton Moor and still walk, I will continue to visit and enjoy walking on the moor for many years to come.
 
Stanton Moor has always held a very soft spot in my heart. As a child, I spent many hours there. I enjoyed walking the moors, enjoying the views around, learning about the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, climbing the Cork Stone and many other sights and activities.
I can still recall to this day, my first attempt to climb the Cork Stone, how proud I was, to scramble up that initial hard start, grasping the rungs for dear life, my heart beating ferociously as I grabbed each rung and made sure each footing was secure, until I reached the top and enjoyed not only that sense of achievement, but the views around and below.

I had done it and what was at the top?

A carved out bowl!

Now, I had got up there, I had to get down. My heart still beating ferociously, I gingerly swung my legs, one at a time, over the edge and tentatively found my first footing to start my descent.

I then had to find my second footing, then eventually, be able to grasp the first of the rungs while making progressive footings to descend the Cork Stone and re-join my mother and younger brother, waiting for me on the ground.

I finally made it to the ground, my very first ascent, no, conquering of the Cork Stone at probably around the age of eight or nine years.

Since then, I conquered, well, more like tamed it, many times since then.

Me atop the Cork Stone, some time ago
It wasn’t just the Cork Stone that made Stanton Moor a place of my childhood days, there was the Nine Ladies Stone Circle and Earl Grey Tower among many other features on the moor.

A good few years on and my wife wanted to savour what I enjoyed about Stanton Moor. We had a lovely saunter on a sunny Sunday afternoon, followed by a visit to Bakewell, where we enjoyed a wander around the shops.

Those were the days of the old Bakewell livestock market, which is where the superstore is today.

A few more years later, my son, now almost sixteen, enjoyed his first walk on Stanton Moor, on a sunny Sunday, at the age of four. It was also his first lesson in map reading.
We were able to look around the moor and the surrounding landscape, I unfolded my OS map out on to the heather, orientated the map so that I could point out many of the features on the map and show him what and where they actually were.
It was a good job I knew back then the moor like the back of my hand, probably better than the back of my hand, for when we started to move on for my son to discover more of the moor, he insisted on carrying the map!

“Daddy” said my son

“We can pretend we’re explorers can’t we?”

Not that he really looked at the map after insisting that he held it, but that to me, was a magical moment, a four year old child’s imagination taking charge, with the supervision of me, his happy and proud father.

Things have moved on since those days, my son did become a great walking companion, grasping properly map and compass in later years along with mountain safety.

At the age of seven, he had ascended Snowdon, Tryfan and Glyder Fach, at the age of eleven, Cairn Gorm and Kinder Scout, the Long Mynd and many more.

Enough reminiscing, my son, no longer my walking companion, has found his own niche, kayaking. I’m happy for him, he enjoys it, has become very proficient and very successful in many regional competitions.

Anyway, I’ve digressed more than enough, but I felt a little history outlining why Stanton Moor holds a soft spot in my heart, would explain a few things.

In more recent years, especially since I’ve become more advanced in my walking skills, Stanton Moor has not only been a place for a relaxing stroll, but also a testing ground for new kit and breaking in new items of kit, especially walking boots. My current Scarpa SL’s on their first outing got scuffed on the Cork Stone.

Today was no exception, not just a walk in the snow, which I had been yearning for, but also to try a pair of Snow Trax, which are spikes attached o a stretchy rubber strap to aid grip on snow and ice.

Though the roads were still encrusted with either snow or slush, it was a pleasant two hour drive from home in the West Midlands, drving up through the market town of Ashbourne, past Longcliff and through Birchover on to the road at the western edge of Stanton Moor.
I got suited and booted, put on the Snow Trax, a set of spikes and coiled spring fitted to a stretchy rubber strap which fits under the boot, was quite tight to stretch over my boots, but they went on, only just.
The Snow Trax I was trying out.
I hardly knew they were there, never letting me down, once.
I will make it quite clear, that is no way a criticism, more the fact that I have a broad foot (you really wanted to know that bit of useless info didn’t you) and they do need to be a tight fit to prevent them falling off while you’re walking.

The Snow Trax do have a good stretchy rubber strap that will fit over the boot rand and a rubber strap to clasp the back of the boot, while a strap fits over the top of the boot upper and is secured by velcro to ensure the Snow Trax stay in place.

Soon after this walk, I was so impressed with the added grip provided by the budget priced Snowtrax, I invested in a more robust set of spikes in the form of Microspikes, which I still have to this day.

So I set off along the path on to Stanton Moor, heading towards the Cork Stone. This time, I didn’t try to climb the Cork Stone, mainly because I didn’t want to damage the Gritstone footings on the Cork Stone and I didn’t want fiddle around taking the Snow Trax off and putting them back on.
Entrance to Stanton Moor


The start of the path on to Stanton Moor

The first feature on the path, The Cork Stone
At the Cork Stone, the path either goes straight on, following and easterly route around the southern edge of the moor, or I could take either the northerly or north easterly path.

Its called the Cork Stone, because it is shaped, like a cork!
I took my usual north-easterly path to head for the Trig Point. This path isn’t marked on the map, but is clearly defined as far as the Trig Point. After that, it’s not quite so clear, but will eventually meet up with another path, that is marked on the OS map.
Looking northerly from the Cork Stone, I can see my choice of paths.
It was the one to the right, in a north eserlty direction that I took.
The Tig Point on Stanton Moor
My next point to visit would be the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. I’m not a Druid, hippy or anything of that nature, but I always have to visit the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. It’s more habitual than religious or anything like that.

Approaching the Plantation and the Nine Ladies Stone Circle

The Nine Ladies Stone Circle

The Nine Ladies Stone Circle closer
Nine Ladies is one of four circular monuments on the Moor.  Nine stones are set upright in a low bank to create a circle 11 metres across.  A tenth stone was discovered in 1976.  It had fallen sometime in the past and remains hidden under the turf until the summer’s drought showed where it lay.  Another standing stone, known as the King Stone, is 40 metres southwest of the circle.

Families probably held ceremonies in the circles, perhaps at certain times of the year associated with changing seasons and the farming calendar.  Spring, midsummer and harvest would all have been important.  They may have also celebrated important events in people’s lives, such as births, marriages and deaths.

Who were the Nine Maidens and their King?

As with stone circles, the Nine Ladies, the stories and names came from folklore.  The standing stones of the circle are the women and the King Stone is the fiddler.  We don’t know when the name was first used, except that it was probably sometime after the arrival of Christianity.  Dancing on Sundays during church services was punishable by excommunication from at least the 1500s, if not earlier.  During the medieval period the Church linked many stone circles to devil worship as a way to wean people away from paganism.  Follow the footsteps of our ancestors with a short 2 mile walk and explore the diverse ways in which the stone beneath us, has and continues to shape the diverse landscapes on Stanton Moor.

After spending a few moments at the stone circle, a megalith, I then set off in a south easterly direction to Earl Grey Tower, crossing the style to get close to the tower.


Walking to Earl Grey Tower


Earl Grey Tower, sometimes called The Reform Tower
Earl Grey Tower, or the Reform Tower as it is sometimes called, Earl Grey Tower, which was built by William Pole Thornhill in 1832, with the purpose of dedicating it to the Reform Act of 1832.

From Earl Grey Tower, staying the tower side of the fence, I then continued through the wooded area in a sou-sou easterly direction, circumnavigating the edge of the moor to visit the Cat Stone.

The Cat Stone, is a stone smaller than the Cork Stone, has footings so you can climb it. I would like to warn you, you are close to the edge of the moor and also quite a steep drop off down to the valley below and the hamlet of Beeley.

The Cat Stone
Moving on still circumnavigating the edge of the moor and the clearly defined path, hand railing the fence, you walk past one of the many quarries on and around Stanton Moor. This particular one, has a warning that there is a deep quarry close by.

.... "walk past one of the many quarries on and around Stanton Moor.
This particular one, has a warning that there is a deep quarry close by"

A close up of the sing, in the centre of the above photo.
But be warned, ALL the quarries on and around Stanton Moor are deep with very steep sheer drops!

Continuing along the path circumnavigating the edge of the moor, you arrive at Gorse Stone Rock, a single rock feature standing out on its own at the southern edge of the moor.

Gorse Stone Rock
The wind wasn't too bad

But the wind chill was cold!
Returning to the path and the fence that hand rails the path, you will be close to a style, which you can cross to bring you back on to the moor. At this point, you are not far from the Cork Stone, which is where I headed towards so I can take the other path that goes in a nor-nor east direction.

This path takes you past some more quarries on the moor, but this time, there are no warnings of steep drops.
"On the walk to these quarries, we pass close to the Trig Point...."
On the walk to these quarries, we pass close to the Trig Point, almost walking in parallel to the path we started out on earlier.

You can walk down in to these quarries, but please, exercise extreme care for it is too easy to find yourself unexpectedly at a steep sheer drop.

Looking down in to one of the quarries

"You can walk down in to these quarries, but please, exercise extreme care ...."

Yes, that's me.
Continuing along the path towards Stanton Moor Plantation, you can walk round past the television transmitter and back on to the road that runs between Birchover and Stanton in the Peak, or you can head in an easterly direction back towards the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, passing the King Stone.

After a brief stop for a chat with some walkers on the moor at the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, I continued to the eastern side of the stone circle, and then took the path that heads off in a south westerly direction, back towards the Cork Stone.

As you walk down this clearly defined path, it initially appears that all your walking past is just plain moorland.



The Enclosure
However, what seems plain moorland actually tells a lot from a historical perspective, very quietly and very quaintly.

There are numerous cairns and tumuli close to and along this path, some are very clearly defined, others, you can almost make out their existence.

The return path back to the Cork Stone
So while you’re walking along this path, keep your eyes peeled and observe these features, some of which are marked on the OS map.

Eventually I arrive at a cross roads where I will take the right turn and head back towards the Cork Stone, then the path back towards the road and back to the car.

The path from the Cork Stone back to the car

Stanton Moor doesn’t cover a large area and many treat it similar to a stroll in the park. However, it is relatively high up and exposed, it’s a moor and can suffer the conditions that any high and exposed area is subjected to. So my advice is treat it with the respect that you would treat any area of a similar nature, no matter how large or small an area it covers.
Stanton Moor has quite a lot of history attached to it, along with a lot of the surrounding territory at lower levels.

Not only are the historical, but they offer navigational points to check where you are.



Map of Stanton Moor
Look for the tumuli and other historic features.
They make great navigational points
There are many megaliths, burial areas, cairns, tumulus and stone circles which can be visited nearby. If you are interested in visiting some of these megalith portals around the Peak District, you might like to take a look at www.megalithic.co.uk There you will see where many of these portals are.

While I'm thinking about it, the Snow Trax never let me down. They never felt uncomfortable at any time, neither did I loos my footing,

First impressions, are positive and I look forward to using them again, for walking in the snow with.

However, they are not designed for mountain or hill climbing where you would use crampons. That is specialist territory for those with the proper training.
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,

Peak Rambler

Kinder, Kinder Downfall and the Sabre…..

My return to Kinder has been long overdue.

Not just the return to Kinder, but also two long overdue visits were Kinder Downfall and the wreckage of the two crashed Sabre F86 jets.

After a good drive up the M1 and through Sheffield, I stopped off at Ladybower Reservoir, with the morning sun shining on the still unrippled waters, it made for a lovely photo, which at the time of typing this blog, was adorning my desktop as the wallpaper.
 
An becalmed Ladybower Reservoir
 

After a photo shoot of Ladybower, I drove along the Snake Pass towards Glossop, to where the Pennine Way crosses the A57, where I parked up in the layby, got suited and booted and headed south along the Pennine Way towards Mill Hill.
 
The gate leading to the Pennine Way

The start of my walk, the Pennine Way

It’s quite a long walk along what some people have nick named “The Yellow Brick Road”, which if you’ve walked along it, you will understand why.

The photos here, should give you a good clue also.

 
The Pennine Way, often nicknamed the Yellow Brick Road
What started out as a nice sunny morning, with the forecast suggesting cloudy late morning till early afternoon, I was observing the cloud coming up from the south west, heading right for the Kinder Plateau.
 
I was observing the cloud coming up from the south west,
heading right for the Kinder Plateau





This meant I might have to review my walk route, for I was going to be heading off path in search for the F86 Sabre wreckage. However, as with all walks, I would continually review the situation making any necessary route adjustments as I go along.

With any walk I undertake, I always ensure I’m prepared for whatever the weather, informing my family of my intended route and area and estimated return time.

But, the fun could come if there were to be a big route change, depending on available mobile phone signal.

It always worth remembering, the hills and mountains will still be there another day, so “if in doubt leave it out”.

I continued along the Pennine Way, enjoying the peace and quiet, Mill Hill getting slowly nearer, when I could hear a commotion in the distance. Stopping to listen, it almost sounded like some form of public event, not nothing alarming. But my curiosity was getting the better of me, there was nowhere really close enough for a large gathering.


The Pennine Way leading to Mill Hill on the horizon
The noise was slowly getting nearer, so I thought, cycle race?

But no, it didn’t sound right, more like a gaggle of geese, but nothing could be seen.
 
Then, in the distance, was a large gaggle of geese flying in quite a large V formation.


..... in the distance, was a large gaggle of geese
flying in quite a large V formation....

The geese flew over and disappeared in to the distance and the peace and quiet of the Pennine Way resumed.

A nice steady and easy ascent of Mil Hill brought back memories from when I was around that way visiting the Liberator crash site last year (see Mill Hill and the Liberator).

There, I met up with the first of many small groups of people out and about on Kinder. The two couples had walked up from Glossop and going to see Kinder Downfall.
 
Walking down from Mill Hill, which really isn’t that great an ascent, I dipped down to the cross roads, where the Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path (don’t try and say that after too much alcohol) crossed, then started to ascend to the Kinder Plateau, properly.


I dipped down to the cross roads, where the Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path crossed

This part of the route brought back yet more memories, from May 2011, when I started from Bowden Bridge and was beaten back by the weather, from getting to see the Sabre crash site. 


The climb up to the Kinder Plateau

Remember, “If in doubt leave it out”, that was very much a case of leave it out…..

On that day, the rain was virtually horizontal, visibility then was less than a couple of metres, any further progression on to the plateau would have been beyond any common sense.

Was today going to be another day of leaving it out?

I arrived at the plateau, recognising the area where I turned around the last time, but with a far greater visibility than back on that grisly day in May 2011.

On that grisly day in May 2011, the frustrating thing was, I was only about 400 metres away from the coordinates I had obtained for the Sabre wreckage!



The cairn at the end of the climb.
I digress.

So I continued to follow the Pennine Way, which circumnavigates around the Kinder Plateau, until the point I needed to veer off and start wreck hunting.

I had located on the map, my back stop, the stakes, which turned out to be a fence, erected by for the National Trust with regular styles to facilitate the open access.


my back stop, the stakes, which turned out to be a fence,
erected by for the National Trust with regular styles to facilitate the open access

Using a combination of bearing and pacing’s, I started to locate some of the wreckage. Sadly, I didn’t take the coordinates of the engine, or I would have found that along with all the others which I had the coordinates for.
 
A mound, with rocky features, was my outer limit
according to the data I had acquired for the Sabre wreckage
I could have used the GPS, but I prefer where possible, to use good old map and compass, keeping my hand in on the navigation skills.

It was a fantastic atmosphere, but very humbling, low cloud, on the plateau and aircraft wreckage strewn around ….
 
This was the first bit of wreckage I came across, after crossing the Stakes

This and the next photo, were following areas of wreckage
I came across, but after crossing back over the Stakes





The story of the two F86 Sabres was, they had been on exercise from Linton-on-Ouse. While climbing to gain height, they crashed, leaving no survivors.
 
My blog wouldn't be complete without the Kestrel's appearance
It was a cool 1.7ÂșC wind chill
My Kestrel has been nicknamed Kes, measured a maximum wind speed of 18mph







My blogs wouldn't now be complete, with an appearance of my Kestrel wind anenometer. After comments and talking to many people, I've named the Kestrel, 'Kes'. Which is also the name of an old film directed by the late Ken Loach, called Kes, a very sad story about a 15 yerar old boy, Billy Casper (played by David Bradley) who finds a Kestrel and takes it home, trains it and it provides the only love and affection in his life.
 
I won't tell you any more about the story, but it is a sad story, with a sad ending.
 
Any way, back to Kinder.
 
Lunch time was fast approaching and I love my food. So I needed to find a wind sheltered area, to eat my lunch. There was some protection from the wind in the groughs around the wreckage, but I felt I could find better if I returned to the path and looked among the rocky outcrops shown on the map that I would pass.
 
So I set my compass for south and returned to the Pennine Way that circumnavigates the Kinder Plateau.
 
Be wary of steep drop offs close to the edge of the path.
Once on the path, I headed in a south easterly direction, following the path with the intention of getting to Kinder Downfall, after finding a suitable lunch stop.

While walking the path, I came across a few more small groups of people walking and also some fell runners.

I feel it wise to warn those thinking the Pennine Way is an easy path to follow, while it’s relatively clearly defined, there are some extremely steep and sharp drops on the southerly side. So it is well advised to be careful and stick close to the footpath.

Continuing along the path, I found what looked like an ideal sheltered spot for lunch. Though a narrow gap between some stones, a welcome shelter for a lunch stop.
 
.... an ideal sheltered spot for lunch.....
 
 
While enjoying my lunch, I was greeted by an oldish Jack Russell terrier, hoping to share some of my Ploughman’s sarnie. The Jack Russell’s owner was very apologetic, but as far as I as concerned, having had two border collies many years ago.

Lunch over, a quick check of the map and then pack everything away, ready to set off for Kinder Downfall.

As I continued my way, I came across the two couples I met earlier on Mill Hill. They had taken a wrong turn after Sandy Heys on their way back from Kinder Downfall, following the ridge down to Hollin Head. Realising they had taken a wrong turn, back tracked up the ridge and re-joined the path and headed back to Glossop via Mill Hill.
 
 
After my left turn, I came across a cairn.


Be aware, there are some very steep drop offs from the path
Though realised where they went wrong and were confident of their route back, I took the time to make sure they were confident on their route back and I bid them a safe journey. I then continued my walk to Kinder Downfall, passing a cairn, many rock formations, finally arriving at Kinder Downfall.

Atop Kinder Downfall
 

Looking down Kinder Downfall
I had tweeted a photo of Kinder Downfall,
with the words Kinder Downfall. Bit of a tame pussycat today




Even though I had tweeted a photo of Kinder Downfall, with the words “Kinder Downfall. Bit of a tame pussycat today” I wasn’t disappointed in what I saw, which was a trickle compared to some of the videos I’ve seen on YouTube. After all, it was quite high up as far as the water table was concerned and the week leading up to my walk, had been relatively dry.

I would however, like to return to Kinder Downfall on a windier day, to view the water being blown upwards and also after a good down pour.

But that will be difficult timing with having a three hour drive from home in the West Midlands coupled with work and family commitments.

But one day, I will get there and see the water being blown upwards….

Before setting off back to the car, I had a quick look at the map to check my return route, for which I had three options.

I could have headed for the Snake Path on Black Ashop Moor, hand railed the Stakes, or back tracked the route I had just walked.

I decided that cutting across to Black Ashop Moor might just be a little too wet, the Stakes again could also be on the wet side, considering how wet the area was by the Sabre wreckage and back tracking the route I had come along was good solid ground.

Needless to say, I decided the best option was to back track my outbound route.
 
Before setting off, a time check and considering I took around four hours to get out here, including my wreck hunting stint, I had a couple of hours before sunset, would most likely mean the last part of my route back, Mill Hill back to the car, would be close to darkness. So I decided to get my headtorch out of my pack and place it in a pocket for quick easy access for when the light did fade.

I wasn’t worried about walking in the dark; after all, I had spent many hours training on a plateau by Moel Siabod in Snowdonia, at night for low visibility and night time navigation.

In fact, I was actually looking forward to doing a bit of walking in the dark, even though the bit I would be walking was a clearly marked path.

So off I went, back tracking my outbound route, which, I expected to take a couple of hours to get back to the car, because I wouldn’t be going off track looking for any other sights.
 
But I was going to be prepared, irrespective, for completing the walk in the dark.

I walked through Sandy Heys, past a small cairn not too far from the point where I needed to turn right and head for Mill Hill.

No sooner had I started the route back towards Mill Hill, than the large cairn at the edge of the Kinder Plateau appeared. But I was still just on track to complete the days walking in the dark.

As you descend from Kinder, you'll come across a forked junction. You need to take the right fork for Mill Hill. The left fork takes you back down Willaim Clough, Kinder Reservoir and to Bowden Bridge and eventually Hayfield.


No sooner had I started the route back towards Mill Hill,
than the large cairn at the edge of the Kinder Plateau appeared

I had not seen or heard a soul since leaving Kinder Downfall, until I had descended from the plateau joining the cross roads where the path to Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path (it’s always easier to say second time around) crosses my path to Mill Hill.

you'll come across a forked junction.
You need to take the right fork for Mill Hill
I met up with a couple, who looked relatively well equipped, heading for the plateau. We stopped and had a quick chat and I let them know of the conditions on the plateau, so they could reassess their route, should they choose, wished them a safe journey and then continued for Mill Hill.

On Mill Hill summit, I did look back to see if I could see the couple, especially as one of them had a nice bright orange jacket on. But alas, the cloud had really come down thick and there was no chance of seeing anyone, no matter how bright the clothing was.


the cross roads where the path to Hayfield – Snake Pass Inn path

 
Approaching Mill Hill Summit





The yellow brick road back to the car was straight ahead, meandering across Featherbed Moss.

This would be almost the last point at which I would be able to obtain any electronic communication with civilisation, so a quick text home, to say I’ll be back at the car in an hour, apart from the lack of a mobile phone signal, those who have driven along the Snake Pass, will know generally mobile phone signals are poor, so I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone until I got in to Sheffield.

Mill Hill Summit

Looking out to my route back to the car from Mill Hill Summit



I would also add, you shouldn’t attempt to use a mobile phone while driving and I often find  a suitable spot to pull over safely and make the call.

I started the last leg of my day’s walking, probably the most boring bit and the light was fast fading, but not enough to warrant the use of artificial light just yet.

The light had faded just as I was in the last ten minutes of my walk. Though my eyes had nicely adjusted to the faded light, I decided that safety was paramount and reached in to the pocket for my headtorch, placed it on my head and switched on.

I did have a bit of an idea, to try and photograph what it would be like in the dark both without and with illumination from the headtorch. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold the camera steady enough to get a decent photo and not having a tripod in the car, just made it impossible to take a long exposure shot.

The Pennine Way as seen using my headtorch

But I did however manage to get a photo of what it looked like under the illumination of my headtorch.


The Pennine Way in daylight




 It was a perfect day, just a shame I have that three hour drive home.
 
Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler