This was my first walk in ages and much needed. I had spent the previous weekend on what was meant to be a walking trip to the east Cumbrian fells but it was a washout thanks to Hurricane Desmond and I was keen to put my legs back in proper use. I started myself off with a coffee and half English breakfast in Palmer’s café in Calver which, I am sorry to say, was quite simply horrible. Then I drove up the hill to park in the car park at the top of Curbar Gap before heading off on the busy path that rus along Curbar Edge in a lightish drizzle that would basically last all day. It was an easy pleasant walk along the tops of Curbar and Froggatt Edges with the valleys below full of mist and the neighbouring hills, most conspicuously Sir William Hill and Higger Tor, shrouded in but not hidden by the stuff. After two or three miles the path hits the A625 but there is another across the road down through trees to cross a stream then gently up across fields that got me to the Grouse Inn without having to use the road. A couple of hundred yards up this and a national trust sign signals the start of a good path over more fields then moorland to White Lodge. (There is a path cuts diagonally across this about 2/3 of the way to the Lodge shown on the map but I could see not sign of it and just carried on to the Lodge.)
From here another nice path goes up to a gate visible on the hillslope to the right and on across the agreeably bleak Big Moor past the little stone pillar that is Lady’s Cross to Barbrook Bridge. According to Ian Grant there is a path a bit short of the B6054 running SE parallel to it allowing it to be avoided. Well it felt like it might almost once have been a path of sorts on the line I followed but a little half-heartedly so and in places it was decidedly boggy but it wasn’t far to pick up the good track that heads south from the road to the of reservoir. I followed this down past the almost empty disused reservoir and its slightly creepy old work building. Thence it is very pleasant walking down the Bar Brook valley and over moor to meet the A621. Compared to the busy paths along Curbar Edge and White Edge this track down past the reservoir is always pretty ill frequented partly perhaps because of the difficulty of including it in a circular walk from Curbar Gap without a tedious road walk at the end. Grant’s book recommends a detour by Ramsley Reservoir then back right down the nearby minor road to avoid this unappealing prospect and no doubt really only for that reason as it’s not the loveliest of places. There is still a bit of A621 to be walked even after that but it’s fine, there’s a decent verge that keeps you safely away from the traffic. At the crossroads one could head straight back up the road to the Gap but again I took Grant’s advice and detoured round by the track that goes off left past the Wellingon Monument. A big gang of Highland cows hangs out on these moors and today they were assembled right by the path where you turn right back to the Gap by the Eaglestone but these lovely beasts are placid enough and took no interest in my passing.