Gritstone Edge Walk With Pete (Peak District, UK)

24 June 2022

Hike / 26.1 miles / 3,206 ft ascent / 10 hours 29 minutes

Near Gardom’s Edge, looking west to Baslow

Whenever my family and my brother’s family get together, Pete and I like to squeeze in an adventure together. Last time, in 2019, we did a great walk in the Glyders of Snowdonia. This year, as we were holidaying in the Peak District, we explored the gritstone edges and moors of the Peak District National Park, an area I have not spent much time in before.

It being close to the summer equinox, it was light ridiculously early so we set off before breakfast (we joked it was our alpine start). We left the house at 5.30 am, and began walking just before 6 am from the Robin Hood pub (picture in the background and an excellent country pub to boot!):

Smiling despite the early start 🙂

Our route was an out-and-back along the western gritstone edges in the Peaks, including: Gardom’s Edge, Baslow Edge, Curbar Edge, Froggatt Edge, Burbage Edge, and Stanage Edge (similar to this All Trails route).

Yours truly looking out towards Baslow

Shortly after crossing Clodhall Lane, on our way up to Curbar Edge, we saw a basking adder on the trail. Despite Pete and I living in parts of the world where snakes are more numerous, this was my first sighting of 2022!

A basking adder, one of the few species of venomous snakes in the UK

The route traversed a series of escarpments — edges — that we followed along the tops. They ran generally south-to-north, punctuated by roads running east-to-west.

Consequently, the expansive views we enjoyed were generally to the West, into the central Peaks. But we could also often see the next edge on our route to the north (or south on the return leg).

Yours truly on Curbar Edge

Roughly halfway through the outward leg (so, one quarter distance for the day) we walked through Longshaw Estate, passing close by the sprawling Longshaw Lodge:

We traversed Burbage Edge in thick mist, which lent an end-of-the-world feel to the place. Views towards the valley disappeared over the edge.

Burbage Edge

The best thing about these days is not the scenery of course, nor the adventure at hand. No, it’s spending a full day with my brother and chatting and goofing around together again. I miss doing this more frequently.

Our final edge was the grandaddy of them all, Stanage Edge. I’ve walked and climbed here before, so I was vaguely familiar with the area, although our southerly approach and the thick mist meant I didn’t recognize anything specifically.

The trig point at the southern end of Stanage Edge

We walked most of Stanage Edge, past Robin Hood’s cave, but we stopped short of the road crossing that borders the north edge. My Strava read 13 miles at the turnaround, so we knew we still had a long way to go to get home.

Pete above Robin Hood’s cave

Our route home was mostly over the same ground, although we took the low route beneath the edges when we could.

View down Burbage South Valley

We started feeling weary at this stage, eighteen miles into the walk, as we passed Burbage Edge for the second time.

Burbage Edge on the return

We took a different route through the Longshaw Estate on the return leg, opting to walk around Granby Wood since we’d bypassed it earlier in the day. It was easy terrain through the estate.

Rhododendron bushes on the Longshaw Estate

Our weary feet and creaking knees carried us over Curbar Edge again, and this time the clouds made for a wonderful backdrop to the English countryside.

Curbar Edge
The man, the myth, the mountain: Pete on Curbar Edge.

Not going to lie, the last couple of miles were tiring!

We walked a tad over 26 miles all up, so a marathon distance. Not bad for a couple of old buggers. I think this is the longest walk I’ve ever done in a day (notwithstanding the handful of ultra runs I’ve done, which were further).

My knees are the limiting factor for me now, and they were quite tender by the end of this walk. I didn’t have my poles with me, which would have helped. I do think I can go slightly further though, so the next goal of course is 30 miles in a day.

To summarize, a truly fantastic day out with Pete! One I’ll remember fondly for the rest of my life, along with the myriad other adventures we’ve done together. Cheers bro!

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