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This is not intended as a walk guide

This was to be a proper hike. A huff, puff, wheeze and ‘tough on the old knees’ kind of walk, but well worth the effort.

I parked in the designated roadside bay on the no through road from Barber Booth to Upper Booth. There were cloudy skies above but no rain forecast and it was mild with a bit of a breeze, perfect conditions for this weather-dependent walk.

At the far end of the remote little hamlet of Upper Booth, one of several clusters of properties to be found in the Vale of Edale, I came across a little barn with National Trust sign for Lee Farm. Inside were information boards and a pretty wall mural depicting a variety of wild life.

The next stopping point on our route was at the lovely packhorse bridge that is just one arch striding over the infant River Noe at the base of Jacob’s Ladder. Jacob Marshall was an 18th century jaggerman, the Eddie Stobart of the day. He was a travelling salesman with a string of pack ponies that regularly made the trip to Manchester markets and back using this route and it is thought he put the stone steps in so that he could run ahead and have a rest whilst his pack ponies came slowly up the winding but less strenuous track.

The two paths unite by a metal footpath sign and man-made cairn of stones that was towering far taller than the last time I came this way a few years back.

Nellie and I continued onwards and upwards, with my faithful, four-legged friend doing her best to pull me up. Eventually we arrived at a bend where a sign indicated that the famous Pennine Way veered off to the right on its long run to Scotland. We however continued ahead up a hollowed-away gulley path to a gate that we passed through and immediately turned left. We had been sheltered from any wind on our climb up, but at this high point we were met with gusts blowing from the east, thankfully very mild for October.

We were now on our way to the trig point summit of Brown Knoll, an easy amble along a path of carefully and painstakingly laid pavers. From up there the views were all encompassing over a dramatic dark peak panoramic landscape, dominated by moorland.

In the distance I could make out the tower of a ventilation shaft over Cowburn Tunnel where vapour and fumes emerged like smoke from a chimney. Being 3,702 yards long and 875 feet deep, it is said to be the deepest railway tunnel in England.

Our lunch stop was amazing. What more can you ask for than a flat dry stone to sit on and a trig point to lean against, with a round of home-made sandwiches and a drooling dog for company!

For the next mile or so we followed more pavers with peat bog and occasional gulleys either side.

Arriving at a junction of paths we turned left, this time to descend Chapel Gate, a steep, stony path that led us back down to Edale. It seemed ever so quiet and then I realised that it was a strike day, so there were only a couple of freight trains to be seen and heard trundling along the Hope Valley line down below.

Our walk ended with some field and stile walking, passing to the side of Manor House Farm which is Grade II listed. From the footpath it is just possible to see the front façade with central doorway flanked on each side by Venetian windows. After a couple more fields we eventually emerged onto the single track road not far from my car.

Sally Mosley

FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: Me and my mum went on a right good adventure. We had driven miles from home so I didn’t know where we were but that didn’t matter because Mum keeps me safe. When the car stopped I woofed like mad to get out and get started, which was a bit embarrassing as there were people nearby putting on their boots. I just couldn’t stop myself!

On the walk we only passed a few hikers and no other dogs to say hello to but there were sheep dotted about to keep us company. On long and lonely wild walks like this, Mum takes her rucksack with snacks and a drink of water for us both and I love it when we snuggle down somewhere to eat. It’s generally cheese in our sandwiches but to be honest I don’t get to taste that as mum scoffs it and I just get the crusty corners. On the way home in the car I fell asleep and was as quiet as a mouse. Squeak, squeak! Nellie xx


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