The Peak District
Distance: 16 miles Time: 7 hours Type: There and back
The Pennine Way follows 268 miles of gentle mountains (perhaps better described as tall hills) along the spine of England. It begins in Edale at the southern end (between Manchester and Sheffield) and ends in Kirk Yetholm in the north (across the border in Scotland). This hike is a long day walk that covers the very southern section of the Way, between Edale and the A57 (Snake Road). It includes some gentle climbing (and descent) and contains some of the best scenery on the entire Way.
We began our hike at a small parking area on the A57 (Snake Road), which which traverses the Pennine Way on a roughly west-east axis and connects the small town of Glossop to Hollow Meadows. This is a flat and open area of moorland, with large paving slabs marking the path. Heading south from the road, you spend the first 20 minutes or so crossing moorland before reaching a hill which leads you to the top of the ridge which you'll follow for most of the day.
Where the main road turns south to head to Blea Tarn there is a minor road leading to a farm. Beyond the farm the path continues straight ahead up the Band or turns left to cross Oxendale Beck and climb toward Great Knott. You can walk in either direction: I ascended to Great Knott first. Toward the top of the hill there is a waterfall to the right which can be seen more closely by leaving the path.
I also took a detour to Red Tarn before climbing past Great Knott and Crinkle Crags. From Great Knott there are fantastic views both over Langdale and into Esk Valley in the other direction, as well as interesting rock formations such as the Great Slab and a number of tranquil tarns. It makes for an interesting and varied hike.
Before the turn-off heading down the Band you pass Three Tarns. Then just past the turn-off the path climbs to the peak of Bowfell. It’s possible to continue on rather than return by the Band: that route takes you on to Esk Pike, Angle Tarn and Rossett Pike before you return to Langdale via Mickleden Valley. I did not have time to take this route but will make sure to do so on my next visit. Instead, I dropped back down to the path at the Band and descended into the valley, just in time for some late afternoon sunshine.