Sunday, 27 November 2011


After our great walk last week we decided that we really ought to carry on along the Great Ridge and go to visit Lose Hill so, in a repeat of last week, we meet up in Castleton (for the conveniences) then drive up the road to park past the turn off to Winnats Pass, close to Treak Cliff Cavern.

We're lucky, again, as we've managed to arrange for another fine day. Not quite so clear as last week, nor as mild, but an excellent walking day. We have to layer up against the wind but we're soon setting off up the road in good spirits. We haven't gone far (we're just across from the car park for Treak Cliff Cavern) when we spot a nuthatch in a tree, its plumage beautiful. It hops up and down oblivious to us, but as soon as PC has her camera ready it disappears. Obviously camera shy!

We're taking a familiar route today, past Odin Mine (a protected archaeological site) and its adjacent crushing circle which produced lead ore for a considerable length of time, along the old road then off on the path to the right near Mam Farm.

There hasn't been much rain lately but the narrow path is quite slick and slippery. PC pauses to remove a layer, we are going steadily uphill, and we pause to admire some vivid orange toadstools.There are sections of this path that are always boggy, and although we negotiate the first stretch easily the second is more problematical. Whilst PC pauses to take a photo of the view I forge ahead and after some nifty footwork manage to stand on uneven muddy ground which takes my feet from me. Fortunately I put out a hand to save myself, which sinks wrist deep into mud, but at least I haven't sat in it! Naturally, PC crosses without a hitch.

Once I've washed the muddy glove in a stream we carry on up the slope towards Hollins Cross.

We really aren't finding these climbs as difficult as we used to, which much be a good sign. At the top we pause to enjoy the far reaching views ahead to Edale, then decide it's time to sit down for a coffee, so we make our way to the shelter of a wall and the place we'd sat last week.

First out is the Ramblers Restorative - not that we need restoring just yet, but there are other treats in store for later in the walk and we don't want to miss out on our 'fix'. After sampling the warm, fuzzy glow left by the Ramblers we then have a coffee. PC's turn to make it today, which means it's scalding hot and the cups are too hot to hold.

While we sit waiting for the coffee to cool, and enjoying the view, and talking, a large group comes along the path from Mam Tor and turns down towards Edale. "Don't look now," says PC, "but they have Tigger with them." Sure enough, when I am allowed to look, there is Tigger, bouncing away down the path, and there seems to be a polar bear too. Well, at least they seem to be warm!Once the coffee is finished we pack up and set off again, this time up Barker Bank towards Back Tor.

This seems to be the busy time of day as there are quite a few people on the path here, most are coming towards us and most have come down Back Tor. As we approach the path veering off to the left towards the Tor a large dog comes snuffling up behind us, nudging the back of our legs. its owners completely unconcerned. It's a good job we aren't dog-phobic, and the hound seems genuinely docile, but it could quite easily have given someone a fright - and it's a shame the owners aren't very considerate of other walkers or of sheep.

Instead of going up Back Tor we decide to take the lower path which goes through Brockett Booth Plantation instead. A deliberate break in the trees would provide an excellent view of Peveril Castle if the sun wasn't shining so brightly in our eyes, but it isn't bright enough to block the view of the hideous Cement Works. Will we never be rid of the blight.

At the other side of the woods we clamber over a stile and cross some fields. The height of Lose Hill is ahead of us but we are skirting around its base first to approach from the SE. One stile forces us to perform near miraculous feats of athleticism to climb over it, as it seems it was made for giraffe-legged people, not mere mortals such as us.

Soon we're at the base of Lose Hill with the long 'flight of steps' leering down at us. There's nothing for it but to grit our teeth and go for it.

We surprise ourselves. With only a couple of stops (to admire the views, of course) we make it almost to the top. With the wind howling we decide to stop for lunch before reaching the summit to avoid being blown about too much, and we skirt around to the eastern side of the hill where the wind is barely a breeze and we can see for miles.

Out comes lunch - a celebration lunch as PC's birthday is approaching. 21 again! Sandwiches are accompanied by a glass (actually a plastic cup, but it doesn't sound so good) of red wine - very welcome. Then it's time for the special birthday bun. Excessively high calorie Belgian Chocolate Cheesecake complete with a white chocolate swirl on top. Under normal circumstances it would be too rich and too fattening, but somehow today it has the Goldilocks factor. It is just right!

After the wine and the bun it is very tempting to just sit and talk (and maybe have an afternoon nap) but time forces us on. We clamber up the side of the hill and once away from the cosy wind-free picnic spot we are hammered by the full force of the wind. Wow, it really has increased in strength, and has become bitterly cold too.We don't linger on the summit but press on down the ridge to a slightly less buffeted spot where we drag on an extra layer. Feeling warmer we continue on the path. There's hardly anyone out now and we have the strange sensation of having the whole ridge to ourselves.

As we make our way very carefully down the steep, rugged slope of Back Tor, we're talking about ballroom dancing. Probably not appropriate under the circumstances.

At the bottom of the Tor we take the path leading away from the ridge and downhill, and by now we're onto the subject of posh frocks. Not that we have a great deal of experience of posh frocks, but we share what experiences we have endured.

This track takes us to the Hollowford Road gate, exactly where we'd been last week, and all we have to do now is follow the same route to Castleton then back to the cars. In Castleton some of the Christmas trees are already lit up, and it's a pity we don't have the time to wait until dusk as we're sure it must look lovely.

As we press on up the road to the cars we make our plans for our next walk. Not for next week, family commitments, but the week after. Fingers crossed the weather will be kind again.

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