In July 2020, with some Coronavirus restrictions in the UK lifted, my boyfriend and I went for a weekend trip to the Peak District, UK. We encountered very little people and most gates were left open. Even so, we regularly sanitised our hands and had masks with us in case any areas got crowded or tight.
We parked up on a side road in the town of Glossop. There were a lot of empty roads with ample spaces. We had an OS map as well as various online maps, however, we found the route quite obvious once we started.
The walk was relatively empty, as we drove into Glossop, we passed the parking spot at the top of the plataeu from which one could park up on the roadside (this spot was fairly busy) and walk across the gentle incline like so. (This takes about 45 minutes to an hour).
Having driven past this stop (as we had originally considered just walking from there, but we had enough provisions for a longer walk so opted for that), we then took the aptly named ‘Snake Pass’, a steep and winding road which I would not wish to traverse in the rain or ice! I was nervous at the thought of walking back up but the walking route was truly delightful.
There is a train station in Glossop and the route can easily be started from there.
On the 3rd November 1948, a US B29 Superfortress nicknamed Overexposed, crashed at the spot whilst taking photo reconnassance work during World War Two. All 13 men aboard the plane were killed and poppies and an American flag mark the spot for these lost airmen.
What to Wear:
It was very cold and windy on the top where the crashed plane was. Even though on the walk up, I had been warm and down to my shorts and t-shirt, I do regret not bringing a warm hat and maybe some leggings for the top. Luckily we had no rain but I did bring a waterproof jacket just in case. My waterproof boots were incredibly useful as parts of the trek had been muddy and almost swamplike at times. Please take a good pair of waterproof, hiking boots.
What to Pack:
Lots of water and trekking snacks/trail mix. We also had a thermos for the top which was wonderful when it was super cold up there (for mid July!)
Including stopping for photos, lunch, and snack breaks, the walk took us about 6 hours and we walked 20km.
We (my partner Davis and I) followed the road out of town, having just driven down it. There was a pavement alongside the road and as the road turned, to the left was a farm entrance and a footpath sign. We followed the footpath, the farm and its large pond to our left and kept the river on our right for the start of the walk.
The scenery was stunning, with beautiful purple flowers and glistening river. It had been raining much during the week, though this wasn’t a problem until we were a bit further into the walk.
At times the path could be narrow, or you would have to walk across semi-angular rocks. W found there we usually pull in points or alternate routes we could take in order to maintain social distancing. Upon reaching a large wooden bridge, we crossed it, no longer relying on following the river’s path.
Beyond this bridge, the terrain got far wetter and muddier. Luckily we had put on our best waterproof hiking boot, though I did get mud up to my ankles in places. It was all doable and crossable, even if at the time it looked dodgy- there were always rocks hidden beneath the mud to look out for but I can’t stress enough having sensible shoes.
The path was more uphill but still the climb seemed gentle. As we reached the top of this area, the winds started to pick up and our shorts, whilst great in the lower levels, were not being as helpful.
We reached a gate at the top which forked off in two sides. To the right/straight, we would have joined up with the path for those who drove to the plateau and walked from the roadside parking spot. We were informed by people on their way back that this path was longer so we took the path along the hillside, a thin path and a steep drop but it as gorgeous views out to the cities beyond.
Eventually we reached the triangular point of OD and the stones around it. These had graffiti from the past few centuries on it and the path carried on up to a further, higher point (The Upper Shelf Stones). Heading away from the hillside, we turned left and took a path heading downwards. From here we reached an area containg a spread of grey gravels and parts of scrap metal started to show up.
From here we explored the plane ruin. A memorial had been set up to the airmen, and the site seemed largely left as is. It was well worth the walk up, as well as the whole journey. I am glad we took this longer walk as we were able to take in the stunning, remote scenery.
After a sit down, we warmed up with some thermos coffee and made tracks the same way back down. The sun came back on the walk back and we retraced our steps back to Glossop.