This majestic limestone ridge straddles the border between Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. It is popular with walkers and climbers alike, and I was looking forward to watching some enthusiasts scaling the cliffs. However, when when my youngest son and I visited on a blustery and overcast weekday in January, the area was completely deserted. We parked near Outseats in a small, free car park, donned our walking gear and, after following a short footpath across the fields, passing scattered Millstones (including one with a smiley face) we were able to scramble up to the top of Stanage Edge. I say "scramble" – my 21 year old son sprang up the cliffside like a mountain goat, whilst I worked my way up with the help of my stick and occasionally on all fours gripping heather and thick clumps of grass and, on really tricky bits, my son's hand, for dear life!
We followed the pathway northwards along the top of the Edge until we reached the busy A57 which we crossed and followed a further footpath through farmland until we looped back across the A 57 again and past Redmires Reservoir (where we noticed a handmade poster asking if anyone had lost a camera in the area as one had been found). We started climbing up a long path to Stanage Pole before making our way back alongside the edge again and towards the car park. There were many beautiful views, though in places the moors were quite bleak, and I look forward to returning in warmer, drier weather.
The entire walk was about 10 miles and is only suitable for fit, experienced hikers as it is quite tricky in places – the route was alternately rocky, where the heavy rains had brought stones and grit onto the paths, and boggy. A walking stick is essential both for support and to test the depths of water before stepping knee deep in cold, wet mud! We are fortunate enough be very fit and have effective, waterproof, cold-weather walking gear. We also have OS maps of the area and know how to read them. Forward planning is essential when venturing out into the Peaks. We had brought our own refreshments: we were aware we would not pass any cafes or shops. We had allowed ourselves 4 hours, knowing that progress can be slow in this terrain (and I keep stopping to take photos). Also, it is easy to become disoriented when the mist descends and the footpaths disappear within waterlogged fields. I was relieved to return to the car whilst it was still reasonably light.