Into a Peak District winter wonderland, Friday 19 January 2018

There was a decent weather forecast and the very good prospect of lots of lying snow as I headed out to the Peak District by train. I only had a sketchy idea of where I was going to be walking; it all depended on the snow. If it was a winter wonderland at Grindleford, I’d get off there. However, as we exited Totley Tunnel into Grindleford station, there was little sign of snow so I carried on to Hope and got off the train there instead; the hills around were covered in snow and looked very picturesque. I intended making for Hope Cross before deciding whether to continue onto Kinder Scout, and eventually Edale, or to drop down to Woodlands Valley.

The sun was shining but there was a cold wind as I walked across the fields to Aston. I was soon into lying snow as I followed the path upwards that flanks Win Hill in an area known as Hope Brink. This is one of my favorite footpaths in the Peak District because it offers tremendous views of the Great Ridge round to the Vale of Edale.

A walk from Hope to Crookstone Moor, Hagg Farm, Crook Hill and Ladybower
Lose Hill from near Aston
A walk from Hope to Crookstone Moor, Hagg Farm, Crook Hill and Ladybower
Lose Hill and Kinder Scout from Hope Brink
A walk from Hope to Crookstone Moor, Hagg Farm, Crook Hill and Ladybower
Approaching Hope Cross with Kinder Scout in the background

On reaching Hope Cross, I detoured to Crookstone Barn and took some photographs of the barn and some beautifully sculpted shapes in the snow where it had blown against a drystone wall.

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Crookstone Barn
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Crookstone Barn

 Looking ahead to Kinder Scout, the sky looked fairly angry and unappealing so I descended through the pine trees into Woodlands valley at the top end of Ladybower Reservoir. Here it was out of the wind and felt quite pleasant as I ate my sandwiches. I then followed the track up past Hagg Farm onto the hill above and followed the path along to Crook Hill, one of the great Peak District viewpoints despite its relatively modest height. By this time the blue skies of the morning had disappeared and it was pretty universally cloudy.

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The Derwent Valley from Crook Hill

I dropped down past the National Trust’s Crookhills Farm to the main A57 Snake Pass road, closed because of snow, and followed the road round to the dam. I observed the ‘plughole’ close to the road with excess water flowing down it, a sight that is always mesmerizing. My intention then was to follow a path up onto Bamford Edge but after floundering around in the woodland above Heatherdene car park for half an hour I had to admit defeat, as I could not find the path. On reflection, it looks like I did not trend far enough south to find a gap in the wall giving access to the open hillside.

A walk from Hope to Crookstone Moor, Hagg Farm, Crook Hill and Ladybower
Ladybower Reservoir

I therefore headed across the Ladybower Reservoir dam, by which time the clouds had cleared again, and took some photos of the west side ‘plughole’ with Bamford Edge in the background. After this, it was a straightforward walk along the Thornhill Trail to Bamford station and the train home. Although not a particularly long walk, it was made more arduous by having to walk through snow, deep in places.

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Ladybower Reservoir plughole

Total distance 18.5 km

 

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