After a tough couple of weeks, the decision to book an AirBnb and head to the Peak District for Mr Fletche’s birthday was a good one. I would even pull on my hiking boots and bring my backpack. That’s how dedicated I was to making this a special birthday weekend. And I promised not to moan. Much.
We’d both checked out simple hikes that wouldn’t expend too much energy whilst still satisfying our mileage quota. Coincidentally, we’d both picked out the 8 mile circular walk from Curbar Edge, taking in Froggatt Edge, the Longshaw Estate and White Edge. I have to thank the fab Becky the Traveller for the inspiration – go check our her blog for some amazing outdoors adventures!
We stayed in this lovely loft AirBnB in the village of Litton. It’s a studio flat with double sofa bed, private kitchen and bathroom, and a small terrace outside. If you’ve never used AirBnb before and want to book a stay at the Cotton Loft or any other property, use this link for £25 off your first booking!
We pull into the Curbar Gap car park at about 9:30am. There are only a few cars there before us which bodes well. We pay £4 for all day parking although we don’t anticipate the walk taking that long. The climb from the car park is probably the steepest of the lot, but we’re still fresh as daisies at this point.
As a photographer – and particularly one who loves wide sweeping landscapes – this is a dream scene for Mr Fletche. Except I keep on insisting he takes photos of me sitting on rocks. He point blank refuses to let me sit anywhere I’m actually dangling perilously over the edge and instead does some creative jiggery-pokery to make it look like I’m risking life and limb. I have a safety conscious Instagram husband.
Even I get bored of shedding my big red puffa jacket and backpack at every photo opportunity, and we continue across Curbar Edge and Froggett Edge, with the Derwent Valley far below us. Rock climbers are popping their heads above the precipice. I wonder if I can borrow a helmet and some rope and pretend I’ve climbed up the sheer face. Now that would look impressive on the ‘gram.
We wind our way through a changing landscape, into Hay Wood and across the main road. There’s a small stream to cross on the other side, and Mr Fletche has flashbacks of his dip in the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye. We both make it successfully to the other side. This is the only time during the walk that we take an incorrect path, and end up climbing up a steep embankment to get back on the right route. After the slight detour, we’re at the Grouse Inn (Readers, Grouse Inn is not open before 12am. So if – like me – you’re looking forward to a toilet stop before noon then you’ll have to head over to the Longshaw Visitor Centre).
Apart from the toilet stop at Longshaw, we have a welcome break for a cuppa, and an impromptu picnic of an apple and some shortbread biscuits, kindly provided by our AirBnb hosts. We’ve walked 5 mile, so we’re over halfway. Really. Not like the South West Coastal Path walk where “halfway” was nowhere near halfway due to a slight distance miscalculation.
We head through the estate, towards the Wooden Pole car park, and then veer off towards the main road. Mr Fletche consults his “Walking Britain” directions and we ignore the gate in favour of a stile. Cos you haven’t really been on a country hike until you’ve hoiked your legs over a stile or two. We’re now entering White Edge. There’s not as much “edge” as Curbar and Froggatt, but it’s still a lovely walk through the moorland which must look beautiful when the heather is blooming later on in the summer. Eventually we pass the trig point and begin our descent to the Curbar Gap car park.
It’s a relief to cast off our walking boots and grab a cold drink from the food truck in the car park. We eye up the Baslow Edge walk but decide to head down to the village of Calver to get some lunch. We spy a small tea room called The Eating House and settle down for a light late lunch. There are more welcome toilets here too so we take advantage and replenish our fluids.
Hunger sated, we drive back up to Curbar Gap where our car parking spot remains. The walking boots are back on, and we head across the road, following the signs for Baslow Edge. There are more rocks to clamber on, and great views back to Curbar Edge. The people at the top look like tiny little ants. I’d heard tales of the Highland cattle herd at Baslow Edge, and it is only later that I read that sadly the majority of the herd is no longer present after a dog walker complained about the cattle “upsetting” their dog. You can read more about that story here.
We did however spy four of our furry friends on a ridge enjoying the April sunshine. I’m insistent on us taking a slight downhill detour to get a little closer. They don’t seem fazed by our presence in the slightest. Especially this one who is quite the poser.
We carry on around the trail, past Wellington’s Monument and the impressive Eagles Stone which looks seemingly impossible to scale, although a couple are giving it a good go. We’re heading back to the car park when our pathway is blocked by a flock of sheep being moved from one place to another by a shepherd on a quad bike and two sheep dogs. It’s quite the sight.
We’ve clocked 10 mile now so it’s time to reward ourselves with a beer at the Bridge Inn in Curbar. It’s warm enough to sit in the beer garden (just) overlooking the River Derwent.
Mr Fletche decides we haven’t walked quite enough today so we decide to head to Mam Tor for sunset. Not quite fresh as daisies any more, we don’t attempt the hike from Castleton, instead parking up on the side of the road giving us a bit of a head start up the 517 metre Tor. We only intend to walk partway but I get a second wind and decide we might as well hit the summit and bag the trig point.
We’ve ended up walking 14 miles today so it’s only fair that we reward ourselves with a chippy tea from Elliott’s in Tideswell and a couple of beers back at our cosy loft.
The Curbar and Froggat Edge walks are pretty easy, on good terrain for the majority of the walk. There is a shorter version, cutting across the fields (via public footpath) opposite the Grouse Inn and therefore avoiding the Longshaw Estate. We took a relatively simple route up Mam Tor, parking on the road and ascending the Mam Tor Bridleway. It’s a short, sharp climb to the summit. What are your favourite Peak District walks?