Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A Circular Walk from Peak Forest to Castleton

As I type this opening paragraph, the sun is streaming through the window, the skies are the most beautiful shade of blue and I'm being informed on a regular basis by Facebook and Twitter users alike that today is the vernal equinox. It certainly didn't feel like the first day of spring was only hours away when I ventured out on a walk above the Hope Valley yesterday. It's true that Mam Tor did stand resplendently green in the sunshine above Castleton - but that was because the unrelenting and bitter wind of the past few days had blown all the snow off its exposed slopes and not because of a seasonal thaw.

The wind's handiwork was apparent as I set off up a farm lane from Peak Forest, where huge drifts of powdery snow had formed along the wall. The pristine white whorls and curves and cornices in miniature were fascinating to look at, almost like works of art, and these were the first of many I was to encounter that day.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Crimpiau, Creigiau Gleision and Llyn Cowlyd

At the eastern end of the Ogwen Valley, above Capel Curig, the sweeping curves of the High Carneddau give way to an untidy jumble of peaks - Crimpiau, Craig Wen and Creigiau Gleision. Of these, only the latter surpasses the 2000 feet threshold to earn itself the status of mountain in Britain but - by way of compensation - you do get two summits above this height along its craggy (and often boggy) ridge.

Pen Llithrig y Wrach, Crimpiau, Craig Wen and Creigiau Gleision just showing in the background.
(Picture from a climb of Moel Siabod a couple of years ago.)

Friday, 23 February 2018

Stanton Moor and Oaker Hill

We'd originally planned to go to Wales overnight last weekend, lured by the forecast of fine weather, but car trouble put a stop to that. Assured the repairs would be complete by Saturday lunchtime, we scouted around for a short walk locally and settled on Stanton Moor, which we'd never visited before. I plotted a circular route from Rowsley which would take us up and over the moor, with an easy flat return journey along the Derwent Valley - although I couldn't resist tagging on another little hill at the far end before we'd begin the walk back.

Crossing the Wye.
As you travel along the A6 from Bakewell to Rowsley, there's a side road on the right, just after the Grouse and Claret, which gives you access to a free car park. Seemingly managed by the council, it doesn't appear on the OS Map or Google Maps but it's very handy, a decent size and well-worth making a note of if you're planning a walk in the area. We parked here and set off back along the main road, before taking a left turn opposite The Peacock, a handsome old inn that was originally a seventeenth century manor house. Walking past the village school and Caudwell's Mill, we crossed the River Wye and finally found ourselves on a lane surrounded by farmland.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The High Peak Trail

The High Peak Trail runs for around 17 miles, from Dowlow, just outside Buxton, to Cromford in the Derwent Valley. Like many such trails around the country, it follows the course of a defunct train line, in this case the Cromford and High Peak Railway, which connected the Peak Forest Canal in the north west of Derbyshire with the Cromford Canal in the middle of the county. You can see evidence of the line in the Goyt Valley as well as across the moorland above it, and the trail had been on my to-do list since I first visited that area last year.

Having walked on similar trails before, I was aware that long stretches can become somewhat routine, especially when they've been lined with bushes and trees or pass through extended railway cuttings. I decided to save this day out for winter, on the basis that a dusting of snow would lend some visual interest to even the most mundane of surroundings, and I also added on a few diversions from the trail - my feet certainly felt the effect of this by the end but each one was well worth the extra effort and mileage.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Brean Down

Whenever I see blue skies overhead my thoughts always drift towards the seaside, even on a cold January day like today. I'm sure it must be more a cultural than a personal thing - a product of the Famous Five and other books I read as a youngster, perhaps, rather than the occasional holidays of my childhood, which I seem to remember being predominantly grey and somewhat damp.

Weston-super-Mare from Brean Down.