Peak District Classic! 17 December 2018

The day was set to be fine and sunny for probably my last serious walk of 2018. I left the train at Edale just before 9am with a route planned to Hollins Cross, Mam Tor, Cave Dale, Castleton and Lose Hill. The ridge from Lose Hill to Mam Tor is known as the ‘Great Ridge’ and gives marvellous views of the Vale of Edale and the Hope Valley. It is rightly a very popular Peak District walk. With a detour along the rim of the Winnats Pass, the walk was to be 18km long.

The first stage of my walk was to climb to Hollins Cross, the low point of the Great Ridge. This was soon achieved and I then followed the slabbed path to the summit of Mam Tor, 517m high, one of the best viewpoints in the Peak District. Part way along there is a gate that is a very popular foreground subject for photographers with the ridge leading to Lose Hill in the background. This looks especially good at sunrise and with mist in the valley. 

181217 Mam Tor 2
The view from ‘the gate’ looking back to Lose Hill

Mam Tor is sometimes called the shivering mountain on account of the frequent landslips that have occurred from its south eastern flanks and which led to the permanent closure of the A625 road in the 1970s. A cold wind often blows across the summit of Mam Tor and today was no exception; I was soon heading down to Mam Nick, the pass traversed by the road from Edale to Chapel-en-le-Frith, and then crossed a couple of fields to the top of the Winnats Pass. This limestone gorge is surely one of the most spectacular sights in the Peak District and I wanted to scout out possible photo locations on its south side. I followed a narrow path along the rim of the gorge with vertiginous drops in places and a bird’s-eye of Castleton below.

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Winnats Pass and Castleton
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Mam Tor from Winnats Pass

Retracing my steps, I walked south past Rowter Farm to pick up the Limestone Way leading down the dry limestone valley of Cave Dale to Castleton. As I approached Castletown, the Norman built Peveril Castle was clearly visible high up on the left hand side of the valley.

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Cave Dale and Peveril Castle, with a distant Mam Tor

I walked through Castletown village and then across fields before starting the climb to the top of Lose Hill, 476m high, and another spectacular viewpoint. From here, I followed the ridge down to Back Tor, a prominent hill along the way to Hollins Cross. From Hollins Cross, I retraced my steps from earlier in the day back to Edale station and was just in time to catch the train to Sheffield. It had been an interesting and enjoyable walk covering both gritstone and limestone areas of the Peak District.

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View from Lose Hill looking towards a distant Mam Tor (left)
181217 Mam Tor 18
Back Tor, between Lose Hill and Hollins Cross
Screen Shot 2018-12-17 at 17.58.36
The route taken shown in red

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