20130808_Mam Tor – Lose Hill (Great Ridge) – Castleton Walk
Who : Me and my 11 year old son
Where : The Great Ridge between The Hope Valley and The Vale of Edale
Start Point : SK 123,832 (Car Park near Mam Tor)
End Point : SK 149,830 (Main Car Park in Castleton Village)
Distance : Approx 5 miles (8 km)
Significant Heights : See end of post.
Maps : OS. 1:25,000 Explorer map OL1, The Peak District, Dark Peak Area
Summary : A super little walk that I can never tire of doing – The path across The Great Ridge must be the most often used path I’ve ever walked in one way or another (except the very local paths near my front door in Rugby).
Well, it’s seems such a long time since I wrote up my last walks diary that I think I’ll start with a nice easy one to describe, just to get back in the swing of writing again …. I’ve now got several walks to write up, that hopefully you’ll find of interest, once I manage to get back into the groove, so to speak.
We’d gone up as a family to The Peak District for a short break; That’s me, my lovely wife, my equally lovely 17 year old daughter [who really doesn’t like country walking very much] and my 11 (nearly 12) year old son who does quite like walking with me, as long as it’s not too long and there’s plenty of interest. The break was for 3-days / 2-nghts away.
We stayed at a pub in the small village of Buxworth, near Chinley (sort of midway between Chapel-En-Le-Frith and Whaley Bridge, just off the A6 [ grid-ref. SK023,821 ]
- The pubs name ? The Navigation Inn.
- Setting ? …. Sandwiched between a small river (Black Brook – which feeds into The River Goyt) and the side of an historic canal basin at the end of The Peak Forest Canal : once a thriving industrial site, now a quiet, slow, pretty environment, almost a back-water, bypassed (literally) by modern fast roads.
- The stay ? … It was OK, once we got past the general scruffiness of the decor, and the almost bluff but friendly enough character of the landlords.
- Food ? OK, and definitely not short on quantity, especially the size of the Cumberland sausage I had from the pub-grub menu …. and the full English breakfast was more than adequate, complete with huge portion of black pudding.
- Beer ? Again OK, certainly had a lot worse.
- Cost : Budget end of the market, but that was by necessity, so we weren’t expecting “The Ritz”.
I’m kind of writing this back-to-front from the short-break point of view, as today was the last day of the holiday, and we woke to the promise of some decent weather. The plan for the day :
- Load the car up with our luggage.
- A last wander around the canal basin.
- Drive the short distance to the Edale area of The Peak District.
- Divide into a boy’s team and a girlie team.
- Boys to get dropped off at the car park (National Trust I think) near Mam Tor + Rushup Edge to do our walk.
- Girls carry on down into Edale to do a spot of Horse Riding/Pony Trekking.
- Girls finish their trek and drive round to Castleton, whilst boys walk into Castleton.
- Spot of touristy shopping/sight-seeing around the gift shops (especially a look at the local semi-precious “Blue-John” gem-stone ornaments) and a look-in at the info’ centre/mini-museum.
- Drive home.
And that was pretty much exactly how it worked out !
So, for the boys’ bit of the day : i.e. the walk in more detail ?, well I’ve pretty much written this exact walk up a couple of times in the past, so for some more route descriptions and photo’s please go see :-
For a quick description of the route please use the following, but I think the pic’s are probably most useful in seeing just how easy the route is :-
Start – Car park near Mam Tor / Rushup Edge. Head uphill to the north east to meet the minor road that heads off into Edale. Within a matter of yards, branch right up a steep set of steps and then a flagged path rising ahead.
Enjoy the views opening up down the Hope Valley over Winnatts Pass, Castleton, and Hope Cement Works, etc. …. and don’t forget to look behind at the lump of Rushup edge which makes another good walking route …. but not for today.
Take note of the metal inserts set down into the flags and the earth-work embankments of the ancient hill top fortifications. Reach the summit trig-point at top of Mam Tor hill [highest point on the ridge]. Enjoy the 360 degree panoramic views.
Head off downhill on a sweeping flag-stone path along the ridge. Take note of / chat about the wildly differing geology and geography of the area : The Great Ridge marks the change over between The White Peak (limestone) to the south and The Dark Peak/High Peak (gritstone) to the north, all mixed up with mix of shalestones etc., etc.
Reach Hollins Cross, lowest point along The Great Ridge and choice of several paths in all directions. Uphill/downhill section over Barker Bank. Keep enjoying the views on both sides … and don’t forget to look behind you again at the views (keep doing this anyway).
Climb steeply up Back-Tor … To Craig’s Tree ….
The story behind “Craig’s Tree” …. Well, years ago, when Craig was maybe just 3 or 4 years old, we’d walked up out of Edale (from the youth hostel) up to Hollins Cross and over Barker Bank, by which time he was flagging a tad. Well you would being little more than a toddler wouldn’t you. But, the steep crag of Back Tor just HAD to be climbed! …. so, after a sort rest at the bottom (it’s called Backtor Nook here), I challenged Craig to a little race! …. 1st to the lone tree at the top of the crag wins … and guess what, Craig shot up the hill at a run, scrambling, hands and feet in a whirl of activity … and, guess what, he WON … well I couldn’t win now could I ? … What would daddy have gained from winning – Nowt! that’s what …. Now, from that point onwards, that tree has been named “Craig’s Tree”. The best of it, it’s visible from miles away and from all kinds of directions. So, if you see this little lonely tree, separated from the plantation just below it, just like it’s been put out on the naughty step with no friends to hold branches with, please call it Craig’s Tree.
… And … coming back up to date, now 7 years or so later, there’s probably no way I could beat Craig up that hill, even if I wanted to! … My 50+ knees would be no match for his 11/12 year olds fitness – How times change hey ?
So, back to the walk, the next stage is a short gentle descent and then an easy ascent to the summit of Lose Hill.
From summit of Lose Hill take a long descent (quite steep in places), heading roughly south to start with) into The Hope Valley; then lowland farm tracks/paths via Spring House Farm and across farmland into Castleton. Continue to enjoy the views, now looking upwards to the hills just walked along rather down into the valleys.
Oh and did I mention the fantastic views.
I love this walk !!!
And if you need to make a full circle …. There are several routes from Castleton that climb back up to the car-park near Rushup edge/Mam Tor …. My fave, is using part of The Limestone Way, taking Cave Dale, a small but very picturesque gorge heading around the back of Peveril Castle perched high on the cliffs above, and then after the climb out of the valley, open easy walking on tracks/paths back to the car-park.
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and pic’s …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.
Some heights info. All estimated/approx.
- Car-Park to Mam Tor – Up : 110m ( 360 ft)
- Hollins Cross to Barker Bank – Up : 40m ( 130 ft)
- Backtor Nook to Back Tor – Up : 40m ( 130 ft)
- Back Tor to Lose Hill – Up : 60m ( 200 ft)
- Lose Hill to Spring House Farm – Down : 280m (930 ft)
- Other downs and ups are not worth mentioning.