We park up in Castleton and are surprised at how few people are about, given that the weather is so good. We have a vague plan for a walk, choosing a reverse of one of our favourites in this area. Hopefully we will have good views from the ridge.
We along the path next to the small stream and onto Hollowford Road. Here we realised how cold it really is with large swathes of the tarmac covered in sheet ice. We gingerly tiptoe across.
The lane turns to a track and we have a lovely view ahead of us of the Great Ridge and Mam Tor.
We are carrying straight on and the track degrades to a path that is a running stream at the moment. But not just water, ice crystals have built up and caution is required. At least it isn't muddy, which can be the summer state of this path.
Once off the path we are onto the grassy moor, with a number of options, but we choose to go more or less straight ahead start our climb up to Hollins Cross. It's quite steep but we are in the lee of the wind so we aren't cold - quite the opposite. But once at the top we are rewarded with splendid views - and a buffeting by the wind!
Certainly no lingering. That wind is bitterly cold, so it's hoods up, zips zipped and gloves on. There are quite a few more people up here and they are all heavily muffled,
We follow the path a short distance then drop down again to a cosy hollow that faces the valley and keeps the wind to our backs. Time for lunch, the all important coffee and our pre-Christmas buns - fresh cream puff pastry mince pies. And keeping in with the festive spirit, a nip from the secret flask.
It really is too cold to sit for long, though, and the sun seems to be giving up the unequal struggle against advancing clouds. We set off again up the path and find ourselves battling against a gale. It is coming from the Edale side and almost blowing us over, especially as the path climbs. The wind chill is so great that our fingers are starting to feel cold, and that is with us both weather insulated skiing gloves. It is impossible to say 'hello' to other walkers as we are all completely muffled up.
We don't pause at the summit - been there, done that, too cold anyway - but as soon as we begin the drop down the other side the wind abates. The difference is quite remarkable!
We drop down the path to the road then choose to cross over towards the Blue John Cavern and thus return via the 'old' road. Big mistake. The path is, in places, a sea of mud. However, we do manage to cross without making a spectacle of ourselves and eventually emerge onto the road.
And coming towards us is a man taking his hawk out for a walk. It is an impressive Harris Hawk (though a walker coming from the other direction calls it an eagle!) but we don't stop to chat, others are eager to do that.
We head towards the 'old' road, but the one we are on has to be negotiated first, and there are some really slippery parts.
Once through the gate we see the flooded stretch, usually easily crossed by stepping stones, but that seems out of the question today, so we head 'upstream' to find a less onerous crossing place.
Then we are onto the 'old' broken road with its undulating curves of fractured surfaces. All downhill now, and a steady trek along the usable road towards Castleton.
The sky is darkening fast, dusk comes early, and maybe there is a hint of more bad weather to come (I get a message to say there is a blizzard blowing at home, a little over 30 miles away) so we get ready to go. We aren't sure at the time, but this will be our last walk before Christmas so Best Wishes to everyone and Happy Walking.