Monsal Trail, Peak District

24 September 2016

Boy, I have been falling behind on my blogging! There are a few reasons but I won’t go into them here. Needless to say, and not just on my walks, I have to pick up the pace.

This was a walk in the Autumn when Adeline and Jason came to visit. We decided to follow the Monsal Trail and the track of our 10.6 mile walk can be seen on my ViewRanger page.

FIshing on the River Wye, Peak District

Not sure whether this fisherman was having a good time with the fish, but I managed to catch him just about right!

The Monsal Trail was once part of a railway that connected Manchester to London, finally closed in 1968 and restored with a public path in 2011. The tunnels along the trail are a testament to its railway past.

The Litton Cotton Mill (above to the right) was barely profitable during its time and perhaps due to its struggles became “notorious during the Industrial Revolution due to its unsavoury employment practices“, for which we read child labour.


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Mam Tor to Castleton, Peak District

17 September 2016

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We had seen Mam Tor from some our previous walks in the Peak District, most noticeably from the summit and slopes of Win Hill.

The GPS route of our walk can be seen on our ViewRanger page.

Looking at Winnats Pass from Mam Tor, Peak District
Winnats Pass from summit of Mam Tor.

We’ve yet to summit a hill or peak in the Peak District and be disappointed by the views. The anticipation of those views is always palpable as you start the climb. I didn’t expect Mam Tor to be as busy with people as it was on this day. There were dog walkers, strollers, hikers, paragliders and hangliders. Yes, I got those last two right. This peak is especially popular with hang- and paragliders, mostly launching themselves into the air from Lords Seat, a hill just along the east from Mam Tor.

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Chrome Hill, Peak District

21 August, 2016

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It was later than usual for us when we decided to go for a walk, so we decided to go for one that was relatively short, but also to go into a region of the Peak District that we hadn’t gone to before. So a quick hunt around using ViewRanger and we came across this walk just south of Buxton, starting from the village of Hollinsclough. We didn’t know it at the time, but Chrome Hill and its neighbour, Parkhouse Hill, are quite iconic amongst walkers of the Peak District.

The GPS route of our 4-mile walk can be seen on our ViewRanger page.

Our walk started in the village of Hollinsclough and headed straight into muddy fields before finding a track. Impressive views of Chrome Hill from the start. Apt that it also known as The Dragon’s Back.

You first come up to Hollins Hill and it tried to tempt us to climb it. It did look like a gentle climb! But we ignored that temptation and kept on our track.

There was another couple that clearly could not ignore that temptation. The views from the top of Hollins Hill must be spectacular, and feeling only a little bit envious of them, we vowed that we would return and do that climb. This would not be the last vow we would make that day.

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Alport Castles, Peak District

13 August, 2016

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This describes the second of two walks we went on when Mike and Karen came to visit this August. The first was in the Yorkshire Dales and this second one we arranged for in the Peak District. We would drive to Fairholmes, where the Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs meet and a car park is conveniently placed. This hike is characterised by long steady climbs and quick windy descents, beautful scenery, sheep, landslips, bulls and river crossings.

A circular walk as usual for us, the GPS track of our 8.3 mile hike can be seen on my ViewRanger page.

From the car park we climb through the Lockerbrook Coppice and then head up for Bellhag Tor.

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The views are amazing and it takes a bit of time to do the climb towards Alport Castles, not because the track is arduous, but because we cannot help but stop and look about us. Sometimes, the spectacular view is behind.

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Win Hill and Crook Hill – Peak District

18 June 2016

We made our way into the High Peak of the District for this walk. Our aim was to summit the two peaks, Win Hill and Crook Hill, which face each other from across the Ladybower Reservoir, and this we did via a 9.7 mile hike. We must be getting fitter as it was not as strenuous as we imagined it would be when we set off, although the Kendal Mint Cake did come in handy at one point!

The GPS track of this walk can be found on our ViewRanger page.

From the car park, we make our way along the reservoir, going past what I can only assume is an overflow system to help protect the local environment from any flooding from the reservoir. In my imagination, however, I believe it to be a cruel Game of Thrones prison for the unfortunate and the innocent. We cross the dam before entering the woods, finding our way through to emerge at the foot of Win Hill.

Enjoy the views for a while – a good excuse to catch your breath before the final push to the summit.

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Ashford – Monsal Head Trail

12 June 2016

Hard to believe that after 6 months living in Cheshire, this was our first hike in the Peak District. The track we followed started in Ashford-in-the-Water, through Little Shacklow Wood and Sheldon village, before going down into and along the Deep Dale. Cross the road into Monsal Dale followed by a good climb up to Monsal Head, before closing the trail loop by heading back to Ashford-in-the-water for a quick pint!

The GPS track of the 8.2 mile walk can be seen here on ViewRanger.

Ashford-in-the-water is a very appropriately named village and is very picturesque.

The trail begins by taking us through Little Shacklow Wood. Very pretty but most distinctive was the smell – pungent and at times intoxicating. Wild garlic! We were surrounded by it.

A climb up to and then short walk through Sheldon village, with a quick hello to one or two of the locals.

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Lower Withington Circular Trail

15 May 2016

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This is a route that started by the Red Lion pub in Lower Withington and took us across fields and woods, with sights of new and old sand quarries and sneaky-peeks of Jodrell Bank between the trees.

So which way should we go?

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The GPS track can be found here on ViewRanger.

Cows featured heavily on this hike, as they do in most parts of Cheshire. The bulls in the photograph in the lower left image below took a little bit too much interest in our presence. Doing our best to be nonchalant and cool, we moved briskly on.

Amongst the mix of cattle, there are proper black and white cows.

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A proper cow.

Along the way, we were somewhat surprised to see sand quarries. It’s just something that wouldn’t have crossed our minds, but apparently the sand in Cheshire is high quality and well sought after, providing around 25% of the silica used for making windows in the UK. The conveyer belt that moves the sand from the quarry to the loading stations was miles long.

An example of what can happen to these quarries was soon apparent. At least it appears to be a managed process, and something is returned to the countryside.

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Abandoned farm buildings, ploughed fields and quiet country paths.

Another pleasant and unexpected surprise were the bluebells in Colt Hovel Wood.

The one thing missing from this very enjoyable and pleasant walk was a pub in the middle of the route, but at least there was one at the end.

Oh, and the other thing missing was a wallet with money to buy some drinks with. Sigh.

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