The Half Nelson
The Half Nelson is a trail (more or less) half marathon challenge of about 14.3 miles. It’s slightly less muddy than Tracks of our Tiers, but a lot more rocky. This is a virtual race organised by Steel City Striders, and is free to take part but if you have fun, a small donation to co-organiser Seb’s Christie Cancer Charity appeal is welcome and appreciated.
To try and keep everyone on the route, there are also six clues to solve on the way — answers to be supplied when you add your entry. There’ll also be a special prize for the person who makes the answers into the most amusing sentence.
Safety Notes: very little of the route is along or near roads, but several sections are on rocky irregular and sometimes steep surfaces so take care, be aware of your skills and limits and be prepared to walk where necessary. A few sections also pass near heather and moorland vegetation, where ticks may carry a risk of lyme disease, so consider insect repellent.
Directions to Start: Baslow Nether End (nr the Devonshire Arms), directly accessible via the regular (every 30 mins. approx) 218 bus from Sheffield Interchange to Bakewell via Sharrow, Ecclesall, Abbeydale, Dore, Totley and Baslow. Public car park behind bus stop.
Route starts at bottom of Eaton Hill, (after crossing Cock Hill via pedestrian crossing near Il Lupo restaurant).
Head up Eaton Hill, then after 400m right onto Bar Rd, ignore side roads and straight up as Bar Rd becomes a track meandering up through the trees and between the fields towards Baslow Edge. Watch out for the view of Nelson’s monument across the valley on your right. (Yes, this is where the name comes from).
About 1.8km from the start, as the Bar Rd track gets to a bench near the summit, turn left onto a narrow path up onto Baslow Edge. Follow unmarked path along Baslow Edge for about 1km to the viewpoint at north end of edge.
Question 1: what knight of the realm is mentioned on the viewpoint map?
After the viewpoint, turn right back to the main bridleway and follow it left to the gate before the crossing of Clodhall Lane.
Through right hand gate and keep right by wall and cross road carefully near Curbar Gap car park, then head right (east) and through gate onto path towards White Edge.
Keep straight on ignoring paths off, then down and over the flagstones and up to to the field corner and signpost, then turn left on the path along White Edge.
From the signpost, follow the main path along the edge top for about 3km and then when you’re above the Grouse Inn, look for the square ‘Companion Stone’ to the right of the path.
Question 2: what 3 letter word comes after ‘Walk’ on one side of the Companion Stone?
About 200m after the stone clue, ignore path down to Grouse Inn and head straight on through gap in wall (north) onto White Edge Moor.
Head over main moorland path for 600m to a path crossroads near a small conifer plantation. The official route is straight on, skirting plantation on your left, then down towards road junction by Longshaw wooden pole.
However, since this path becomes very boggy after heavy rain, an alternative is to take the left path towards White Edge Lodge through the wooden gate, then right along track towards the big gate across roads from Longshaw wooden pole.
Cross the busy road junction of B6054 and A625 (take care since traffic sweeps round both corners from all directions at speed).
Through gate onto Longshaw, then take the small path up to the wooden pole, then follow a faint path along the top of the edge (NOT the Trust 10 path) for about 450m to the rocks by Duke’s Seat. You may occasionally find some cattle at the edges of this field, so a lead for any participating dogs might be an idea.
Question 3: what year is marked on the Duke’s Seat?
From there follow one of the even fainter paths over the hill towards the small plantation, skirt the fenced trees then down to the gate (a few metres above a round wooden outhouse behind the wall) and through towards the main Longshaw car park.
Stay on the woodland path at the right / east of the car park, (cross car park entrance road carefully as drivers are not aware of the path crossing the road) then through the trees to the exit by Fox House.
Cross road at corner looking over to Fox House pub, where visibility is better, then head towards Sheffield on the verge alongside Hathersage Road for 200 metres then left over the wall stile to public footpath over a field and moor towards Burbage and the path along Wild Moor Stones Edge.
At the edge, turn right and follow rocky path on top of edge for 900m up to the junction with the cairn path.
Question 4: how many cairns can you see from here?
At the junction, fork right over Burbage Moor for 400m to the open wooden gate, then down the rocky path to Houndkirk, and turn left.
After about 1km by the small bridge over Sparkinson’s Spring at bend in track, take the unmarked path left (north) up and over the moor for 800m to the Ox Stones. If it’s been rainy there may be some mud at this point.
From Ox Stones, avoid path to Trig point, instead take main path north east down to Lady Canning’s, through the gate and straight down through the plantation to the Lady Canning’s entrance near the bottom of Houndkirk Road.
Left down to the crossing of Sheephill Road, then left towards Norfolk Arms pub, cross the fairly busy Ringinglow Road to the pub. Then head right (towards Sheffield) for 150m then take footpath left over the wall and between the fields towards the Porter Valley. Through the gate then down the very steep descent towards the Clough Lane bridleway, then over the stile and turn right along the rocky track of Clough Lane.
After about 100m, fork left onto the Porter Brook Path in the trees, which comes out just above the junction with Mark Lane.
Follow Clough Lane (which has occasional farm traffic) then after 250m down and left to junction with Woodcliffe Road.
Straight on along Whiteley Wood Trail path towards Forge Dam (not the bridleway), then after 300m take the unmarked path right, up through the trees above Forge Dam, and at the end, turn sharp right / east after the gate in the fence, back up the bridleway for a few metres.
Then left through the gate onto the path up through the fields for 100m. Turn leftish at the wall /gate then diagonally across the faint field path to the next gate then follow the field edge path 230m up to Cottage Lane.
Question 5: what shape is the step onto Cottage Lane?
Turn left onto Cottage Lane, then cross over where, after passing Hangram Lane on your right, you have a small verge in case of oncoming traffic. Follow road for 200m then take footpath right over the wall, and up a field path.
At top of field over the ladder stile, go left along the bumpy path by the fence for 200m to the junction with Cottage Lane, then right and up the bridleway through the beech trees to Ringinglow Road.
Turn left towards Sheffield, after 150m cross carefully and turn right onto Castle Dyke bridleway. Follow bridleway for 700m up and right round the building and then round the playing fields.
At the junction near a small wood go straight on down Coit Lane, past Whirlow Hall farm and straight ahead onto Fenney Lane, another steep rocky path down towards Ecclesall Rd South at Whirlow. Head through gap in wall ahead as you get to the Whirlowdale Park service road, then cross Ecclesall Rd South carefully to the footpath sign and steps down to the playing fields.
Cross fields diagonally to the south east to a small gap in the wall into the woods, then follow the rocky and meandering path down through the trees into the old Ran Wood.
Right along the main path, over a wooden bridge across a stream and after about 30m, left downhill (by a stick den by a tree) on an unmarked path to the Limb Brook.
Cross the brook (stones are slippery) then head left / north alongside the Limb Brook. (Or if you don’t fancy wet feet look for the footbridge through the trees to your right). About 300m after crossing the brook, pass the bridge on your left, and take the steps up (or path alongside).
At top of steps take the left through the gate into the small grassy meadow area.
Question 6: what animal is this ‘field’ named after?
Then left after the next gate and follow the main path through Ecclesall Woods for 250 metres, then left down them up again to Woodland Discovery centre. The end of the Half Nelson is when you reach Hector’s House.