Thursday 26 October 2017

Shropshire Hills: Long Mynd

I've only been to Shropshire a few times and none of those trips involved any serious walking, having been mostly devoted to sight-seeing in Much Wenlock and Ironbridge. We live not far from Shining Tor, which was one of our regular spots for short evening walks over the summer, and The Wrekin became something to look out for as the sun began to set.

The Wrekin from Shining Tor.
It was usually rather indistinct so far south-west across the Cheshire and North Shropshire Plains but it was still a singular presence on the horizon, enough to pique my interest in exploring the Shropshire Hills.

An unusually cheap hotel deal in Telford allowed us to extend the proposed day trip into an overnight stay and thus one walk became two - which in turn meant two new OS maps to add to the collection and what's not to like about that? After an early and turbulent start (the latter mainly due to me "losing" my phone twice in quick succession as we were about to leave the house), we set off into the weekend. The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia were heading across the Atlantic but we'd been promised a brief oasis of mostly fine conditions in Shropshire before the weather system made landfall.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Lantern Pike, Harry Hut and Mill Hill

Although I've visited Hayfield many times over the years and enjoyed its charming buildings and fine selection of ale houses, I have to admit that in terms of hill-walking I've always thought of it as a gateway to Kinder Scout and not really considered what else it has to offer. Thankfully, my eyes were opened this summer when I had a spare half-day to go for a hike, slap bang in the middle of what had been excitedly trending on Twitter as #heatwaveuk.

The Sett Valley Trail.
(For anyone reading this from outside the UK, a heatwave in Britain is usually a comically short length of time with fairly regular sunshine and what would be considered mild-to-normal summertime temperatures anywhere else in our planet's temperate zones.)

Wanting to find somewhere new to walk that was close by before the skies clouded over and the drizzle recommenced, I recalled the hills we'd so often seen from the road between Glossop and Hayfield. Opening up OS Maps, I rattled out a circular route up onto them from the Sett Valley Trail, which begins (or ends, depending on your perspective) by Hayfield's bus station, and set off to explore.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Burbage Edge and the Upper Goyt Valley

Since we moved to the High Peak area, the hills to the west of Buxton have become a favourite area of mine for walking. Easily accessible from the town centre, the variety of terrain they provide is impressive - farmland, open moors, woodland and reservoir walking are all on offer, and these can be combined to make a full day's outing or simply a ramble of a couple of hours if time is short. The area is rich in history and I have written about some of that in a previous blog post - see here - so I'll try to avoid repeating myself in this trip report.

With all this in mind, these hills were a natural choice when I found myself with a spare afternoon to get outside last week. The forecast wasn't too inspiring but I was motivated to take a punt on the sunny spells it'd half-promised by the dreary weekend of drizzle and grey mist we'd just had.

Dark skies as I left Buxton behind.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Howden Moors - Howden Dean, Back Tor and Lost Lad

This walk is something of a follow-up to one I did on Howden Moors around a year ago, which took in Outer Edge and Margery Hill. As I made my return journey to the Upper Derwent Valley reservoirs via Howden Edge (confusingly, several parts of the Derwent watershed seem to bear this name) and Nether Hey, a large clough to the south east caught my eye. From my vantage point, I could see there was a clear path following the course of this great fold in the landscape.

Abbey Brook Clough from my walk last year.

On the map the terrain looked interesting and it was, I decided a couple of weeks ago, high time I found out for myself what lay hidden within this winding valley.