Within the Dark Peak four counties have their high points, their County Tops, and as you might imagine the challenge of linking them in once continuous route is irresistible to ultra-distance fell runners. It is equally irresistible to The Rucksack Club and so we met before 06:00 on Saturday morning in Hayfield for Will’s Meet – the 42 mile, 7500 feet stroll round the County Tops of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Manchester. A fresh breeze was with us all day and early in the morning it was distinctly cold. Heavy clouds overhead appeared not to change and it seemed flat grey light would be the “order of the day”.
Over Kinder (Derbyshire high point) we went and passed Alport Castles on our way to High Stones (South Yorkshire) on Howden Edge.
North from High Stones towards Holme Moss for Black Hill was next and after a bit of heather bashing the paths along the edges were welcome.
After a stop a Rae & Katie’s van by the A628 we were off with a new spring in our step and while this lasted no longer than Dead Edge End where the clouds dropped and rain started it was pleasant while it lasted. Black Hill (West Yorkshire) was next and as we turned into the wind the rain, fortunately, began to ease. South to Black Chew Head (Manchester) and then all we had to do was get back over Bleaklow and Mill Hill to Hayfield.
The forecast sunshine appeared as we climbed above Torside Clough on to Bleaklow. The last few hours in the dark were much more pleasant than they might have been had the weather not improved. A thoroughly good 17 hour day in the Dark Peak – thanks to Will for organising, to Rae & Katie for the tea and buns and to Tom, Andy H, Lis, Andy L and Helen for the great company.