A great family day in the Peak District

 

 

This is probably one of the best book reviews I have received, if not the best. Messages like this make everything worthwhile, especially when the young have such a fantastic time out in the Peak District.

Daniel Simpson sent me this message via facebook of a day out with his family. They chose to do PB Walk 5 Grindleford to Higger Tor. If you want to introduce children to walking and have a good time, then this is definitely the walk to do. Thank you to Daniel and his family.

Hi Paul. Just wanted to say how much we enjoyed our walk today. By far and away the highlight was just how much my son’s enjoyed themselves they wee enjoying it every bit as much as me if not more so. So often I feel like I’m cajoling them in to something they’re not massively keen on but the past two Sundays have been an absolute blast. I didn’t really use the guidebook whilst walking last week but we had loads of time today so I let my 10 year old lead the way following the instructions, when we were at the rear of the chapel and he realised where he was stood was the same as the one in your book it blew his mind…it was lovely honestly, he was almost starstruck and later on when we walked past the gritstones he recognised those as well and demanded the book to confirm what he was seeing was the one from the book. I managed to snap him posting and getting good really giddy, it looks contrived but he was going ‘look !…that’s those from the book’. Thanks again, really enjoyed it today.

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Reviews

Dark Peak Walks book review

It is always pleasing to get feedback like this. Thank you Ann and Austin.

Wow and Wow again. What a beautiful beautiful book.

We both individually turned to one of our favourite walks from days gone by. (Page 168) Your description of the series of water falls at Birchin Clough and the cacophony of notes, filled my heart and mind with memories and the sheer joy of it all. I am sitting here amazed.

And then my Ann said have you seen this? Showing me the inside of the wrapping paper, WOW! Could it ever be that my adventures could ever begin again? Only time will tell. As for now Paul, I/we will always want the good times to continue for you both, now and forever (and for Scout)

And also, never did I imagine that I’d be considering framing a piece of brown paper with a few special words written on or that I coil up a length of Sisal string to placed in a memory box.

All in all you have “done good” well done that man.

Thank you.

Austin and Ann

Please Vote for Dark Peak Walks in this years TGO awards here

How to write a Peak District guidebook

The Vale of Edale from Ringing Roger. Peak District National Park. Dark Peak Walks. Author Paul Besley. Published by Cicerone Press.
The Vale of Edale from Ringing Roger. Peak District National Park

Someone asked me the other day how I write a Peak District guide book. The question took me aback somewhat, I had to think about an answer. Put simply; I go out on a walk and when I get home I write where I have been.

Then I thought of all the things that lay behind that. The books that are hunted down in the research. Talking to people about an area. Historical and geological websites to spend hours getting lost in. Old maps to peruse and old newspaper cuttings to view. Public archives to spend days in.

Then there are the days spent wandering around an area, looking at rock graffiti. Churches, church yards and old abandoned buildings to crawl over and imagine what it was like for the people who built these places.

Some of the best days are when I trace the old ways across the land, walk in the footsteps of the Jaggers and quarrymen, peat cutters and farmers. The old saltways and the millstone trails. Sit by the quarries and listen to the ghosts hewing out the stone. Stand in a churchyard looking out onto where navvies were buried without, and wondering how someone could do that to a human being.

The best days include all of this plus a good old chat with walkers. Some of my most memorable walks have been when I have met up with groups of people and just chatted.

All of this goes into a book, and what doesn’t goes into a blog or on social media.

That’s how I write a Peak District guide book.

 

Shortlisted for the TGO Book Awards 2017

Dark Peak Walks has been shortlisted for The Great Outdoors magazine book of the year award 2017
TGO Annual Awards 2017

Well this is great news. Dark Peak Walks, published by Cicerone Press has been shortlisted for The Great Outdoors magazine 2017 award in the book category.

You can vote in the awards here

The Head Stone – Peak District

The Head Stone. Head Stone Bank. Dark Peak Peak District National Park. Dark Peak Walks. PB Walk No.7 Author Paul Besley. Publisher Cicerone Press.
The Head Stone. Head Stone Bank. Peak District National Park

Drive along the Snake road heading for Manchester and as you pass the Rivelin reservoir glance over to your left and you will see a tall rock tower standing alone on the moor. This is the Head Stone, so-called by Ordnance Survey.

It is unusual but not unique in the Dark Peak, being a rock tower devoid of any other surrounding towers. The Head Stone stands at the western end of a gritstone outcrop, not great in height but long and thin, with an accompanying boulder field strewn along its length.

As with any prominent rocks the Head Stone has gained its own mythology. It is said to be used in Pagan rituals, one of its names is the Cock Crowing Stone, a reference perhaps to the slaying of a Cockerel at the stone on the midwinter solstice. The ‘Head” is said to rotate on certain days of the year and at sunrise a face will appear in the stone on a particular morning. None of which are have specified days, which probably means it is not true! The Eagle Stone on Eaglestone Flat near Baslow Edge is said to do the same. Sunrise is obviously a busy time for geology in the Peak District.

It is also known as Stump John and Priestley Stone after John Priestley of Overstones Farm just below Stanage Edge, although why this should be so is not clear and could be erroneous.

The easiest way to it is by leaving the track that is Wyming Brook Drive and ascend up through Wyming Nature Reserve at Reddicar Clough. It is a nice little detour from PB Walk No.7 . As you come out of the Clough and through the sheep fence you work your way west across the boulder field, there is a nice path, towards the Head Stone. On the way you will pass several grouse water bowls carved into the gritstone rocks, and below the Head Stone you will find number 15, not often visible as the heather obscures its position.

PB Walk No.7

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Buy a personalised, signed and giftwrapped copy of the book from Wapentac

Peak District Walk

Fancy a good walk in the Peak District National Park this weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday look to be good for the weather.

PB Walk 7 out of the book Dark Peak Walks is a real beauty. A circular walk from Wyming Brook to Stanage Edge, it leads you down a stunning gorge filled with Scots Pines, dippers and the tumbling Wyming Brook.

On the way round there is much to see and spot, old mile posts on the original Sheffield to Manchester Road. Ordnance Survey benchmarks on random rocks around Stanage Edge. Two trig points, one, a pillar and the other a pole! Then the weird and wonderful water bowls carved into the Peak gritstone. The views will be amazing as will the experience.

You can buy Dark Peak Walks here

More about Wyming Brook

More about Stanage Edge

More about Grouse Water Bowls

 

 

Dark Peak Walks Book

Dark Peak Walks Book by Paul Besley, published by Cicerone Press. 40 walks in the Dark Peak with detailed route descriptions, maps, photos and points of interest.
Dark Peak Walks by Paul Besley

Read what people say about Dark Peak Walks book

Buy a personalised, signed and gift wrapped copy of Dark Peak Walks from Wapentac

This guidebook describes 40 walks in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park. Ranging from short strolls to full-day adventures, they showcase the region’s unique character. Dramatic waterfalls, striking gritstone edges, heath and woodland are just some of the delights encountered, with many of the routes venturing off-path to explore hidden cloughs and valleys. Detailed route description is provided for 35 walks, accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping and interesting facts about local points of interest, then a further five longer walks (of 25-45km) are summarised in the final section, including a classic circuit of the Kinder Scout skyline.

Taking in the high moors of Derwent, Bleaklow, Kinder and Howden, the walks reveal not only the area’s wild beauty but also some of its fascinating stories. 10,000 years of history lie waiting to be uncovered – from Neolithic burial mounds and Bronze Age cairns to remnants of the region’s more recent industrial past. This guide is a perfect companion to discovering the secrets of the Dark Peak and experiencing its magnificent landscape in all its glory.

 

This weekend in the Peak District

The weather is looking mixed this Easter bank holiday weekend. Saturday sunny-ish, Sunday and Monday cloudy with a bit of rain, wind is forecast gentle to moderate all three days.

So what to do. If you have my book Dark Peak Walks here are some suggestions to escape the crowds.

Walk No.7 Wyming Brook to Stanage Edge – 11 Miles

A superb gorge with a tumbling stream, a lot of history and then Stanage Edge. Throw in some benchmarks, trig pillars, Stanedge Pole, and those water bowls and you have a great walk.

Walk No.15 Low Bradfield and Dale Dyke – 6 Miles

A relaxing walk, that can be done in a morning or afternoon. Huge amount of history, beautiful woodlands, lots of raptors to be seen and ice cream at the end. What more could you want.

Walk 23 Kinder Scout – 10 Miles

Its been really dry of late so how about a venture into the centre of Kinder Scout, test you navigation skills and not get your feet wet. It can be done.

Walk 26 Dunford Bridge to Ramsden Clough – 11.5 Miles

The chances are that you will have the place to yourself on this walk. Famous last words I know, but rarely do I see anyone and this walk has some magnificent views in a little visited area. Try something new.

Four walks all with mixed terrain, ascent and distance with plenty of things to see along the way. Easter holidays and something for the weekend.

Beats decorating. So Alison tells me.

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Easter Competition – Peak District

One Book or One Wapentac Map’n’Lite to be won over the Easter Holiday. Competition closes Sunday midnight. Email your answers to paulbesley@gmail.com

(If you do not want your email to be used for future competitions and offers please state so in the email.)

All triangulation pillars, points and benchmarks appear on or near the walks in Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press and available HERE

Identify each Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar or triangulation point.  Name of triangulation pillar and grid reference required. Also which one is the odd one out. Wins a Wapentac Map’n’lite of Froggatt Edge

Ordnance Survey Triangulation Points and Triangulation Pillars

Identify location of each Ordnance Survey benchmark or survey mark . Grid reference would be superb. Wins a signed gift wrapped copy of Dark Peak Walks. Closest answers will win.

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Dark Peak Walks by Paul Besley

Ordnance Survey benchmarks and survey marks.

 

 

 

Dark Peak Walks – Book Launch

Dark Peak Book Launch
Typical Dark Peak weather for the Dark Peak Walks book launch

Lots of people who ordered my book, Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press, from my own blog had suggested a book launch and that they would like to come and collect their book in person.

There was only one place to have the launch of a book about walking in the gritstone and peat area of the Peak District National Park known as the Dark Peak, that was on the gritstone and peat moorland that make up this unique landscape. I chose Whinstone Lee Tor as the venue, easy access, good views, and on both a public footpath and a bridleway, so people could bring their dogs and bikes too.

It was quite humbling to see 25 people brave constant rain,  quite typical Dark Peak weather, to celebrate the book launch. Of course you cannot have a launch without cake, Alison from Wapentac baked flapjack and a very nice Yorkshire Parkin. Plus we had a wonderful surprise where a fan of the book Col Wood of Everyday Adventures had baked a special cake with a picture of the book on it.

As we ate cake, drank coffee, talked and got wet I looked around the gathering. We ranged in age from a few months to the late sixties.

Some had walked, some had run. Some people were new to the area, some were old friends of the Dark Peak. A few local Mountain Rescue teams were represented, Moors For The Future were there, as was the Peak District National Park.

People had travelled from all the major cities and towns that surround the Peak District and that make it one of the most visited national parks in the world. Discoveries were made too. Debra from Moors For The Future had her first sip of Hot Vimto, an old Dark Peak favourite, which proved valuable of that cold rainy day.

I like to make a nice presentation of the book when people purchase it from me, all that wrapping had me singing My Favourite Things from the Sound of Music. Some lucky people who had bought early also had a gift of a Wapenmap too, so as I handed the parcels out I hummed the little tune, some people even sang along with me. Then it was time to cut the cake and eat.

It was a magical day. Everyone said how much they had enjoyed it, lots of laughter and talking about days out in the Dark Peak. It has such a great community of people, who love and care for the area deeply. It is wonderful to play a small part in it.

The most marvellous thing though is how young people are discovering the Dark Peak, exploring its delights and having great adventures. It means the story keeps on developing and that’s what should happen to a landscape.

Young adventurers are discovering the Dark peak
Great to see young explorers like Neve out having adventures in the Dark Peak. Photo by Chris Blake, with permission.

You can purchase a signed copy of the book Dark Peak Walks here

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Dark Peak Walks by Paul Besley