South Pennine Walks
Black Hameldon & Gorple Stones
Date: 26th April 2010
Distance: 9.9 miles
Ascent: 1377 feet
Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SD937327
A fine walk in variable conditions visiting a number of reservoirs, one of the highest tops in the South Pennines and the dramatic gritstone outcrops of the Gorple Stones.
Route Summary: Widdop Reservoir - Clough Foot - Gorple Lower Reservoir - Standing Stone Hill - Reaps Cross - Noah Dale - Black Hameldon - Hare Stones - Gorple Stones - Gorple Gate - Widdop Reservoir
1. The dam of Gorple Lower Reservoir looking to Standing Stone Hill
2. Gorple Lower Reservoir
3. Looking back down to Gorple Lower Reservoir
4. Black Hameldon from Standing Stone Hill
5. The trig point on Standing Stone Hill
6. Reaps Cross
7. The ruins of Colden Water Farm
8. Lisa climbing the upper slopes of Black Hameldon
9. The trig point on Hoof Stones Height
10. Gorple Stones from the northern slopes of Black Hameldon
11. The Gorple Stones
12. Lisa on Gorple Stones
13. On Gorple Stones looking to Gorple Upper Reservoir
14. The boundary stone at the top of Gorple Stones
15. Black Hameldon from Gorple Stones
Walk Detail: Following a promising forecast we slapped on the sun cream and packed our sunglasses only to arrive at Widdop Reservoir in hill fog. Sound familiar? After cursing our luck we set off in the hope it would improve and to be fair by the time we'd reached Reaps Bottom the cloud had begun to lift and there was even the odd patch of sunshine breaking through.
At this point we made two short diversions, the first east to the trig point on Standing Stone Hill, and then west to Reaps Cross. The latter was quite an impressive 12 foot high ancient wayside marker. From Reaps Cross we descended into Noah Dale from where we passed a series of old derelict farms. These must have been remote and tough places to live.
The final climb up on to the summit of Black Hameldon, known as Hoof Stones Height, proved to be at a fairly easy gradient. The summit provided good views of many of the South and West Pennine heights as well as Pendle Hill and the south Bowland moors. I was slightly surprised to also clearly make out the distinct profile of Pen-y-Ghent far to the north.
The recent dry spell made the next section north to Gorple Stones along the main Pennine watershed fairly easy. Gorple Stones itself provided the finest scenery of the walk with good views down to Upper Gorple Reservoir and back to Black Hameldon as well as some fine gritstone outcrops. The return back back to Widdop Reservoir was made easy by following a well made track which is part of the Pennine Bridleway.
This was an enjoyable and fairly easy walk with Gorple Stones the highlight of the walk though the view from Hoof Stones Height was also worth the effort.