With a forecast of frost and sunshine, I just had to get out into the Peak District for a serious walk; my first one of 2019 in fact! At the same time, I hoped to do some photography, especially in the late afternoon light before sunset.
I left the train at the small Edale station in the Dark Peak, just before 10am, and immediately had to put my hat and gloves on as it really was quite cold, despite the bright sunshine. The beauty of travelling by train, besides any environmental considerations is that it makes linear walks possible, which I always find more satisfying than circular walks. I made first for Ollerbrook Farm before starting the climb up onto the Nab and then onto Ringing Roger’s rocky prow. There were stupendous views up Grindsbrook and across the Vale of Edale.
The breeze had strengthened now and I was starting to feel chilly despite what I was wearing, but as I hit the Kinder Scout plateau, at just under 600m above sea level, the wind eased a bit and it started to feel much more pleasant. The ground was frozen hard and there was a thin covering of powder snow so at this stage of the walk, my boots stayed clean. I walked east along Kinder’s southern edge and descended a couple of hundred metres from Crookstone Knoll to Crookstone Barn and Hope Cross. I spent a few minutes just before reaching Crookstone Barn photographing a rather photogenic pair of isolated trees. Shortly after leaving Hope Cross I decided it was time to eat my sandwiches; a collapsed portion of gritstone wall made a fine seat and the view along the Vale of Edale was none too shabby either.
Fortified with banana sandwiches and leaving the Christmas cake I’d brought until later, I carried on the 3km high level traverse that runs all the way to Win Hill’s rocky summit (463m). The south and east flanks of Win Hill fall away steeply consequently it makes a fine viewpoint, particularly across to Bamford Edge and Stanage Edge. Ladybower Reservoir could also be seen and it was notable that the water level was still quite low; it’s level has not yet been replenished following the very dry summer of 2018, and, worryingly, January 2019 has been very dry so far.
I headed down Win Hill to the tiny village of Thornhill, taking a tumble on the way when my foot slipped on some wet mud resulting in a very muddy rear end! After Thornhill, I took the path across some fields and crossed the weir at Bamford Mill into Bamford. The weir looked very attractive with the cascading water sparkling in the winter sunshine.
I hadn’t really planned the route of the walk in detail and could have finished it at Bamford and caught the train home from there. However, given the fine weather, I decided to extend the walk by taking in Carhead Rocks hoping there would be some nice light for photography just before sunset. I therefore cut across North Lees on very pleasant footpaths to reach the road to Hook’s Car. From here it was shortish walk onto Carhead Rocks, that overlook Hathersage. I was just in time to take a few images before the light went when the sun dipped behind cloud in the west; there was not to be a visible sunset therefore.
Having stopped walking, I was getting cold, so decided to abandon further thoughts of photography and head down to Hathersage and its station for the train back to Derby. The walk had been a very enjoyable one with around 600m of ascent and my GPS indicating that I had done over 24km, my longest walk for a while.