Bleaklow is a wild and desolate plateau in the Dark Peak. Never ending peat hags and groughs create an often unwelcoming environment but it can also be a beautiful and peaceful place if you walk it on the right day. Clear winter days when the ground is frozen or warm summers days when the ground is tinder dry. Those who enjoy the wilder places on their own will thrive on Bleaklow. The gritstone tors of the Wain Stones and Hern Stones provide not only something to see but are also great navigational tools. The wreckage of the B-29 Boing Superfortress on Higher Shelf Stones is another fascinating and thought provoking feature. This walk is not the longest in the Peak District but is by far one of the hardest due to the pathless, wild and often unforgiving terrain. Navigation skills, map and compass are all vital, as are knowing how to use them. Despite the dark reputation of Bleaklow, it is a unique place that can provide a very different and satisfying days walk, but care and preparations are vital in bad or changeable weather.
"IN MEMORY Here lies the wreckage of B-29 Superfortress "Overexposed" of the 16th. photographic reconnaissance squadron USAF which tragically crashed whilst descending through cloud on 3rd November 1948 killing all 13 crew members. The aircraft was on a routine flight from RAF Scampton to American AFB Burtonwood. It is doubtful the crew ever saw the ground."
The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...
Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.
Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...
Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...
It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.
Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.
You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.
Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.