The Edale Skyline Walk – Complete

Route Summary:

A Dark Peak walk around the full Edale Skyline, starting at Win Hill and covering the Lose Hill to Mam Tor ridge, Rushup Edge, Brown Knoll, and Kinder Scout’s southern edge.

Route Information

  • Start: A6013, Hope Valley S33, UK
  • Date:25-10-2017
  • GPX File: Download

Other POI: Yorkshire Bridge, Parkin Clough, Winhill Plantation, Win Hill, Twitchill Farm, Edale Road, Losehill Farm, Lose Hill, Great Ridge, Back Tor, Barker Bank, Hollins Cross, Mam Tor, Rushup Edge, Chapel Gate, Brown Knoll, Jacob's Ladder, Kinder Low, Kinder Scout, Noe Stool, Pym Chair, The Pagoda, Wool Packs, Crowden Tower, Crowden Clough, Grindsbrook Clough, Hartshorn, Upper Tor, Nether Tor, Golden Clough, Ringing Roger, Ollerbrook Clough, Jaggers Clough, Crookstone Out Moor, Roman Road, Hope Cross, Hope Brink, Thornhill Brink

Route Description:

The Edale Skyline is a popular fell running route in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk it too! On this occasion, I started at Yorkshire Bridge. The reason for this was because I originally set out to do a different route altogether starting at Snake Pass summit, however, noticed a sign whilst driving through Bamford informing me that the A57 Snake Road was closed all week. So a last minute change of plan was in order as I drove up from Bamford, and I quickly decided to park up at Yorkshire Bridge where I had a quick think on which routes I could do from here. I decided to go for the full Edale Skyline as I’ve never done the complete thing before, only a shortened version that cut off the far western section. I knew the route was going to be tough as it starts with an ascent of the relentlessly steep Parkin Clough.

So the walk started from my parking space on Ashopton Road, just past the Yorkshire Bridge Inn. I backtracked a little and headed down Lyngate Lane, turning right just over the bridge that crosses River Derwent. Almost immediately, a path on the left comes into sight, heading up the hill. The sign at the foot of the path says ‘Win Hill’, and the path follows the line of Parkin Clough all the way to the top. It’s a steep steep climb, on a combination of uneven steppy rock and mud. It’s fair to say that by the time I arrived at the top, I was feeling pretty knackered already! A few other paths meet this one at various points of the ascent, but just keep on heading upwards and the summit of Win Hill, the first point on the actual Edale Skyline, is eventually reached.

Ascending Parkin Clough
Ascending Parkin Clough
Win Hill trig point
The Trig Pillar on Win Hill

I love the views from Win Hill and love the area. Personally, I think it’s better than anything on the Lose Hill to Mam Tor ridge. I’m sure many will disagree though. Anyway, from the rocky summit of Win Hill I descended back down towards Twitchill Farm. From there, the route continues down the farm lane, under the railway bridge, and eventually emerges onto Edale Road. I crossed straight over and onto another footpath that would eventually lead me to Lose Hill via Losehill Farm. The Ordnance Survey map labels the summit as ‘Lose Hill or Ward’s Piece’. I was curious about this and so did a quick bit of research on the internet. According to Wikipedia, ‘Local access activist G. H. B. Ward was given an area of Lose Hill by the Sheffield and District Federation of the Ramblers Association in 1945, which was named Ward’s Piece; he subsequently presented this to the National Trust.’

Looking out towards the Great Ridge from Win Hill
Looking out towards the Great Ridge from Win Hill
Lose Hill summit
Lose Hill (Ward’s Piece) summit

From Lose Hill, I made my way along the Great Ridge, past the gritstone outcrop of Back Tor, past Hollins Cross (which marks the lowest point of the ridge and is the meeting place of 6 footpaths), and eventually up to the summit of Mam Tor. The wind seemed to pick up all of a sudden once up on Mam Tor and I was being buffeted by it quite a bit. I only took the one solitary photo as it was too difficult to hold the camera still.

View over Edale from Back Tor
View over Edale from Back Tor
Heading to Mam Tor from Back Tor
Heading to Mam Tor from Back Tor
Mam Tor Trig Pillar
Mam Tor Trig Pillar

It was at this point where I stopped and reached into my bag for a snack. Nothing there. I suddenly remembered placing the bag of food I’d purchased on the way here onto the passenger seat of my car, with the intention of packing it into my bag when I stopped. I totally forgot, and all that I’d had to eat that morning was a scoop of protein powder mixed with water! I had cash on me. I could have shortened the walk by missing out Brown Knoll and cutting through Edale, popping into the shop on the way. I could have, but I’m a stubborn git and refused to consider giving up on my planned route. Giving up equals failure. I continued. It was only a walk. Human beings have done more on less before.

The route continues down Mam Tor, across the road, and back up onto Rushup Edge. The wind had strangely died down again – it only seemed bad on Mam Tor – but the temperature seemed to have dropped a little. I was now feeling a chill and so stuck on my jacket. The route continues over the summit of Lord’s Seat until it meets the Chapel Gate track. Here it turns right briefly before another path heads off to the left (northwest) towards Brown Knoll. The walking in this area used to be limited to the true Dark Peak bog trotters until a path was put down in the form of stone slabs. Now it’s one of the easiest routes around! The Brown Knoll summit, marked by its white trig pillar, sits at roughly the halfway point of the Edale Skyline walk. From here, the path continues down until it eventually meets up with the Jacobs Ladder path up to Kinder Scout.

Looking back along Rushup Edge towards Mam Tor
Looking back along Rushup Edge towards Mam Tor
Heading along the stone slabs to Brown Knoll
Heading along the stone slabs to Brown Knoll
Trig Pillar on Brown Knoll
Trig Pillar on Brown Knoll
The Cloughs and the Jacob's Ladder path
The Cloughs and the Jacob’s Ladder path
The Pennine Way leading to Edale Rocks
The Pennine Way (Jacob’s Ladder) leading to Edale Rocks

Normally after ascending Jacob’s Ladder, I’d head up to Edale Rocks and the Kinder Low trig, but on this occasion, I decided to skip them and instead headed straight for the Noe Stool rock formation. After that, the route passes The Pagoda before entering the Wool Packs area. I love all the weird and wonderful gritstone here, sculpted by the harsh elements over many years. True Dark Peak walkers head straight through the middle, enjoying the fun in the peat bog. The less adventurous spend much time trying to find a way past without getting muddy. The route continues to follow Kinder Scouts south edge, past Crowden Tower, past the head of Grindsbrook, past Ringing Roger, until the views eventually change to those looking down into Jaggers Clough and out over Crookstone Moor to Win Hill. The view across to Lose Hill is also fantastic at this point.

Noe Stool
Noe Stool
Entering the Wool Packs
Entering the Wool Packs
The Pagoda
The Pagoda
Crowden Tower
Crowden Tower
Grindsbrook Clough
Grindsbrook Clough
Upper Tor
Upper Tor
Looking over Golden Clough to Ringing Roger
Looking over Golden Clough to Ringing Roger
Looking over Jaggers Clough to Lose Hill and Win Hill
Looking over Jaggers Clough to Lose Hill and Win Hill

Not long after the head of Jaggers Clough is crossed, a path leaves the edge and descends over Crookstone Moor to the Roman Road. I turned right onto this, leaving it a little later after passing the ancient and much-photographed Hope Cross, a 7-foot high medieval pillar topped with a square capstone bearing the names of Edale, Glossop, Hope and Sheffield on its faces. The pillar lies at the crossroads of ancient packhorse routes through the Peak District and dates back to 1737.

On the Roman road
On the Roman road
Hope Cross
Hope Cross
The Pagoda
Heading back towards Win Hill

Whilst taking the path up to Win Hill, my pace slowed. I could feel that my knees had gone, and I had nothing left in terms of energy. My water had been used up an hour beforehand – something I don’t usually worry about too much as I have a Water-to-Go filter bottle. At least I normally have one. I’d left that behind too – Doh! Daylight hours were rapidly running out and I started to worry slightly as I remembered one more thing I’d left behind. My torch! I cursed myself and upped my speed until I arrived at the Win Hill summit. The only thing left was the steep descent down Parkin Clough. The second I started descending, I felt the pain in my knees. They were shot. I slowly made my way down, cursing occasionally, being overtaken twice by the same fell runner, and losing my footing every so often. Eventually, I made it and just in time. By the time I was sitting back in my car, it was dark.

Approaching Win Hill Pike
Approaching Win Hill Pike
Trig Point on Win Hill
Trig Point on Win Hill
Route Map
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