Start Point: Torside Car Park
Finish Point: Torside Car Park
A loop taking the rambler up the grade 2/3 scramble up Wildboar Clough and onto Bleaklow. The options are then open to head all the way up to Bleaklow Head first, or just follow the Pennine Way down Torside Clough.
Seeking a change of pace and a bit of a challenge, this adventure took us to the north side of Bleaklow, looking up from the TPT at the imposing mass above us. We parked at Torside Clough Car Park. If you intend to park here come prepared with change, as a day ticket is £4.75. If you want to park for free and don’t mind walking a little further then there is a car park at Crowden on the other side of the reservoir, or a few laybys scattered around the reservoir for the early birds.
Walking up from the car park and onto the Trans Pennine Trail, we took a left and wandered a short way along here until we came to the path leading up to Wildboar Clough. There is supposed to be a sign pointing to the path, but we could not see it. Thankfully, I had a map with me and we identified which path we needed to take. The start of the climb is easy enough, with the route leading up through gnarled oak woodland and gradually leading you closer to the riverbed of the clough. Past a certain point, the route into and up the clough does become very ‘choose your own adventure’. There is no prescribed route that anyone has to stick to, just so long as you’re aware of the potential dangers you may encounter on the climb and are prepared for navigating your way up or around waterfalls.
The scramble builds up fairly steadily. The beginning is relatively strenuous but no particularly tricky moves are required until the first waterfall. We were mindful of our footing as we navigated this first section. Initially the river bed was dry, but as we ascended water could be seen making its way amongst the rocks, the trickles gradually becoming a stream as we climbed. Making our way over one particular bundle of rocks, the first waterfall came into sight. Due to the wind, the water was being sprayed across the entire rock face of the waterfall and it was apparent that we would not be scaling the waterfall itself today. We like a challenge, but our experience and equipment meant that tackling any of the waterfalls directly would be an unreasonable risk. In these cases where the weather has placed sections of the ascent outside of a reasonable level of risk, there are ways of scaling the sides of the clough and climbing above the waterfalls. These routes up the sides are still tough, but safer than attempting to precariously climb wet rock.
We took frequent pauses to take in the scenery and the views back down the clough. The waterfalls are all challenging, whether you’re scaling the rocks of the waterfall or taking the safer routes round the sides and it was good to have moments to mentally check in and clock how far we’d climbed. It’s fairly obvious when the scramble finishes. We scaled the side of the last waterfall and found the stream bed beginning to flatten out quite quickly, changing from a more haphazrd collection of rocks to a stepped pavement leading up onto Bleaklow.
From here our aim was to link up with the Pennine Way. There are vaguely marked out tracks from Wildboar Clough to the Pennine Way, but if in doubt, a compass bearing is advisable. We had good visibility and we knew we pretty much just needed to walk in a straight line south from our position, so we utilised the landmarks we could see. After a few minutes we could see other walkers on the Pennine way and arrived onto it shortly after. Taking a pause for lunch out of the wind, we decided that from there we would just head down the Pennine way along the edge of Torside Clough, rather than hiking up to Bleaklow Head and then coming back down to Torside Clough.
The weather forecast had promised winds peaking around 50mph and we were treated to a heavy buffeting on our little trek along this section of the Pennine Way. The heather swaying wildly and the wind and the views opening up below us down to Torside reservoir this was a perfect way to round off our hike. The two halves of the walk feeling very, very different but each providing their own challenges.
We eventually joined back up with the Trans Pennine Trail/Longdendale Trail, which also brought us out of the wind. From here it was about 1.5km back to the car park and all easy walking along the very accessible trail.
A great challenge! Wildboar Clough will easily provide a different experience on every visit and can be worked into a variety of routes up onto Bleaklow. A scramble I will definitely return to in the future.
Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out my other hiking routes!
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