landscape treasure competition

Black Clough

 GOLDEN TICKET SEPTEMBER 2012, THE PEAK DISTRICT

The Peak District National Park was the UKfirst recorded national park having gained full status in 1951. And with more than ten million visitors a year combined with stunning views and dramatic scenery, itno wonder itsuch a popular area with photographers. Like most places the Peak District has busy locations with photographers and less popular locations too. One area which I truly love is the often overlooked area either side of the main A628 road (Woodhead Pass) that connects Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire.

Another of my favourite locations off the Woodhead Pass is the impressive Black Clough. This is a real hidden gem of a location that offers endless opportunities for photographers. Black Clough runs off the northern slopes of Bleaklow and the water is stained yellow as a result of the peat through which it is filtered. Black Clough is made up of three Cloughs, Near Black Clough, Far Black Clough and Middle Black Clough, and they all join into one before flowing right into the River Etherow. At this time of the year the Cloughs are festooned with fern and heather. This combined with spectacular cascading falls makes this a landscape photographerparadise.

THE JOURNEY THERE

From Glossop head along the A628 road towards Sheffield. About a mile past the Woodhead Reservoir there is a sharp turn to the right down an access road, follow this to the bottom where there is plenty of parking. From the car park cross over the bridge, then turn left and keep walking until you reach the Clough.

I will be honest and say this cache is not hidden in the easiest of locations to reach, but at the same time I will also say itnot that hard to reach. The actual walk from the car to the cache location takes around 30 minutes, however it does involve scrambling over slippery wet rocks so good footwear is essential, as is taking your time over the tricky ground.

On your way up the Clough you will be presented with endless opportunities to photograph waterfalls and woodland scenes.

 Middle Black

Itvery easy to become trigger happy at this point although with locations like this I would recommend that you keep a mental note of possible shots and continue walking up. By working this way you will not waste all of your time on various shots lower down only to discover that there are much better opportunities higher up, which is the case with this location. So in essence, the further you walk the better the picture opportunities.

There is an easily defined footpath to the right of the Clough, eventually this will disappear and at this point you need to cross over the water to the other side. The water is quite shallow here and you can usually step on the rocks to cross without getting your feet wet. Follow the new footpath further up Bleaklow, and at this point you will have the option to cross over to Far Black Clough or stay on the path to Middle Black Clough. In my opinion Middle Black Clough is the easiest of the three Cloughs to navigate and has some of the best falls to photograph. But hiding the cache ended up being problematic. I wanted to hide it close to the water, however having witnessed this location first hand following heavy rain I knew there would always be the possibility it might get washed away. In the end I opted for a location that was on slighter higher ground away from the water itself but at the same time it is still relatively close to the main large waterfall at Middle Black Clough. Once I found the hiding place the real fun began. I took the coordinates using a phone but it just wouldngive an accurate reading in the deep gorge. Living more than 180 miles away, I didnhave the opportunity to get back to the location in time with a better GPS device so the GPS coordinates given in this issue were actually taken from Google Earth and should only be used as a rough guide to start looking for the cache. The hidden box should be easy to find with the clues and the use of an OS map though, on which you should look for Birchen Bank Wood.

THE CLUES

1) Stick close to the footpath/track and you are heading in the right direction

2) If you reach the main large waterfall first you have gone too far

3) Once you have found a dead tree you will have found the correct location and the cache is hidden underneath

 Middle Black

4) You may have to root around beneath the overgrown Fern

FINAL WORDS

Black Clough is a great location to shoot at this time of the year when the heather and fern are at their best. Itone of those locations that once you have visited, you will definitely want to go back to again.

If you do fancy another stop, mid to late October work equally as well when the rich Autumn colours are at their best. Remember, whenever you visit to take care when exploring the setting at Black Clough as the rocky terrain can be tricky, especially when wet.

GPS COORDINATES

53.488087,-1.826228 +53° 29’17.11",-1° 49’34.42"

GRID REFERENCE

SK 117 993

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