The traverse of the eastern gritstone edges is a magnificent outing which by any reckoning is one of the two or three finest walks in the area. Although the distance involved is fairly long it is not a particularly difficult walk, for there is relatively little ascent and descent along the route. In fact if the walk is done the usual way from north to south then you are descending from 450 metres at Stanage High Neb to a mere 130 metres at Baslow, so the walking is gently downhill for most of the way.
As this walk does not start and finish at the same place, you need to either use public transport or make use of two cars.
The walk starts from Moscar on the A57 Glossop to Sheffield road, at the top of the rise where the road climbs up from Ladybower. From just below the top of the rise a path leads south across the moor to reach the rocks of Stanage End, about 2 kilometres away. Walk another kilometre further south along the edge to High Neb, and you have attained the high point of the route already and gained a fine view south along the length of Stanage edge.
The route continues along the top of Stanage Edge, crossing Long Causeway, the route of the supposed Roman road, and then continuing to the 'popular' end of the edge around Robin Hood's Cave and Black Hawk buttress. It is easy ground in a splendid high situation with a superb view eastwards across to Mam Tor and the Hope valley and the added interest of the antics of the rock climbers if the conditions are right.
Stanage south end
At the south end of Stanage the edge becomes more broken and you arrive at a triangulation point, which effectively marks the southern end of the edge. Drop off the edge here and follow the path south-east to the Ringinglow road, which you should follow a short distance to the top of the rise and then take the path which cuts across the field near to the spot reserved for flying model aeroplanes. This crosses to the small road which comes up from Hathersage past Higgar Tor.
Higgar Tor from near Carl wark
Go straight across the road and up onto the summit of Higgar Tor, which again is a fine viewpoint. The main path continues down to Carl Wark from the south-east corner of Higgar Tor, but the best view is obtained from the south-western corner of the tor, near to the spectacular leaning block, the site of some of the area's hardest rock climbs.
Continue down to Carl Wark, a hilltop which was once heavily fortified and the remains of the walls, made of large gritstone blocks, can be seen clearly on the western and southern sides of the hill. Though the notice beside the walls says this was an Iron Age fort, recent evidence has cast doubt on this and many archaeologists think it may date from the period just after the Romans left.
The path continues down the hillside and crosses Burbage Brook before climbing up to the track which descends in front of Burbage Edge. It is only a short distance down to the main road, which you reach a few hundred metres below Fox House. Opposite, a path continues down the hill and you should take this initially but almost immediately branch left along a path which climbs up to meet the road which runs from Fox House down to Grindleford.
Opposite lies the entrance to Longshaw Country Park, a National Trust property which was once the Duke of Rutland's shooting lodge. Walk along the drive and then around the front of the garden, where the footpath has been diverted away from the gaunt-looking house. You arrive at a junction of tracks and you should take the upper one, which is a continuation of the drive - not the lower track, which descends through the rhododendrons to Grindleford.
The track passes uneventfully through the grounds of Longshaw and emerges on the minor road which runs from Fox House down to Calver. There is little alternative here but to walk down the road for nearly a kilometre, past the Grouse Inn to reach the path across Froggatt Edge, which starts from the sharp bend which the road makes as it passes the end of the edge.
The track along the top of Froggatt and Curbar edges is easy walking in a fine position, with excellent views across the Derwent valley to Eyam, Stoney Middleton, Calver, Curbar and Baslow. Once again, these edges are popular with rock climbers, and they may be visible on the edge below or on Froggatt Pinnacle, which protrudes above the edge proper.
Baslow Edge in a temperature inversion
Beyond Curbar Edge the path dips down to the old coaching road which comes up to Curbar Gap, the only break in this line of edges between the north end of Froggatt Edge and Baslow, and crosses to Baslow Edge, which is the last of these edges overlooking the Derwent.
The view over the Derwent is now lost because the path soon moves away from the edge and heads for the Eagle Stone, which young men from Baslow reputedly had to climb before they could marry. There must have been a lot of bachelors in Baslow - the ascent is surprisingly hard! A little further lies the southern end of the edge - the path divides here, the left fork passing Wellington's Monument, raised by local worthies to commemorate the duke, and the right fork passes some small quarries before descending Bar Road into Baslow village where the walk ends.