Peak District – The Great Ridge & Hope Valley

Today’s walk saw me heading through heavy traffic to get to Hope for 09:30, It was one of those journeys where you seem to end up behind every slow moving vehicle possible. Tractors, Caravans and the odd horse, I’m not an impatient man so I just took my time as there was no rush. The reason there was no rush is because the weather early this morning was forecast to be terrible, I really do mean terrible…Rain, Sleet and Hail being blown sideways by some strong winds. Andy and I had decided to meet up for Breakfast at the Woodbine Cafe in Hope where we would plan a route. I was very happy to find that there was a nice open fire burning in the Woodbine when I arrived so I grabbed us a table as close to it as possible. The weather was due to clear up as the morning progressed so we kept an eye on its development out of the window while we enjoyed the food and drink.

Ascending Lose Hill
Ascending Lose Hill

Thankfully the weather had cleared nicely by the time we were ready to head out for a wander, low cloud with wintry showers were due to roll in later in the day so we decided to stay off the high moors. We elected to do an old favourite, The Great Ridge, then loop back via Winnats Pass and then by the monstrosity that is, the Hope Valley Cement Works.

Mam Tor through the trees
Mam Tor through the trees

The air was extremely fresh today, the weather was moving in from the north so the wind had a really chilly bite to it. We made our way up Lose Hill while we chatted, before long we were making the final gentle push for the summit.

The final push up Lose Hill
The final push up Lose Hill

The view south east from Lose Hill

Lose Hill is a real delight when the weather is good, the 360 views from the top are stunning. I don’t think I could have wished for better conditions at this point today.

Lose Hill Summit
Lose Hill Summit

After a short while on the summit of Lose Hill we began to make our way along the Great Ridge. As this place sees lots of visitors the ridge has been paved in some areas to prevent erosion. The MET office really weren’t joking when the forecast gusts of wind at 45-50mph today, it was rather strong at times today until we dropped down towards Winnats Pass.

The Great Ridge from Lose Hill
The Great Ridge from Lose Hill

Although the Great Ridge isn’t really knife edge sharp you do get some great views down either side, The Hope Valley is to the south and the Vale of Edale is to the north.

Edale from Lose Hill
Edale from Lose Hill
Back Tor with Mam Tor in the distance
Back Tor with Mam Tor in the distance

In no time at all we were crossing the top of Back Tor, there is a feature up here that can be picked out from miles around… I call it the “Lonely Tree”, I’ve no idea if everyone else calls it that but I’m sticking with it for now 🙂

The "Lonely Tree" on Back Tor
The “Lonely Tree” on Back Tor

The “Lonely Tree” stands alone at the top end of the Brockett Booth Plantation and it can be spotted from miles around, it looks like it stands right at the top from a distance but it’s just off the southern side. Me being me I had to jump over and physically touch the tree, not for any reason other than just to say that I have.

Kinder Scout - Grindslow Knoll and Grindsbrook Clough
Kinder Scout – Grindslow Knoll and Grindsbrook Clough
Back Tor with Kinder Scout in the distance
Back Tor with Kinder Scout in the distance
Descending from Back Tor
Descending from Back Tor

After Back Tor our next stop was Hollin’s Cross, The wind seemed to be rushing through this little saddle between Mam Tor and Back Tor today. I took a few pictures, recorded a snippet of video on the GoPro and then we moved on.

Hollin's Cross

The "Famous Gate" between Hollin's Cross and Mam Tor

Like “The Lonely Tree”, I tend to make my own assumptions about names for things… My next assumption or declaration is the “Famous Gate”. The reason I’m calling it the famous gate is because I must have seen a thousand variations on this view. Every Peak District Photographer seems to have their own take on the image above, I’m not submitting mine for technical critique as it’s only a point and shoot snap as I’m no professional photographer 🙂

Mam Tor Summit

Mam Tor was rather empty today, which is surprising as I’m guessing it is perhaps the most visited hill top in the Peak District. There is a car park only a few minutes away so it is very easily accessible if you want to have a quick wander up with minimal effort. I think the threat of wintry showers and high winds had probably dissuaded many people not to bother coming out.

Mam Tor landslip
Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
Winnats Pass from Mam Tor
The Great Ridge from Mam Tor
The Great Ridge from Mam Tor

We lingered for a short while on the summit of Mam Tor and I made the most of the clear conditions by taking lots of snaps of all the views from the top. I recorded some more video and then we headed off down towards the road which runs between Mam Tor and Lord’s Seat.

Mam Tor signage
Mam Tor signage

Cave between Mam Tor and Winnats Pass

I couldn’t resist a quick look inside the cave at the old quarry on Windy Knoll, I’m not sure what the official name of the cave is but it looks to be blocked off anyway so we didn’t stay too long.

Sheep between Mam Tor and Winnats Pass
Climbing the stile above Winnats Pass

We headed over the fields and climbed over the stile to begin walking along the top of Winnats Pass. We made our way along the southern side and I was rather trigger happy with the camera at this point.

Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Castleton with Win Hill in the distance from above Winnats Pass
Castleton with Win Hill in the distance from above Winnats Pass

After we had walked along the top of Winnats Pass we headed for a point on the map called Cow Low, we got our first taste of the Hail that had been forecast for the afternoon at this point.

Pevril Castle from Cave Dale
Pevril Castle and Castleton
Pevril Castle and Castleton

We crossed Cave Dale and made our way along the hillside towards a Tumulus that is marked on the OS Map, we had a few more blasts of hail while walking this section. A fantastic looking rainbow accompanied the hail storm as it swept through the valley.

Hope Valley Cement Works – Rainbow and Hail Storm
Hope Valley Hail Storm
Hope Valley Cement Works in a Hail Storm
Hope Valley Cement Works in a Hail Storm

We joined the road just above Pindale and made our way downwards, I had originally planned to take the route down Pindale itself and through the quarry but I totally forgot, I was mesmerised by the rainbow 🙂

Pindale Mine
Old Mine in Pindale
Towards Pindale
Towards Pindale

Down in Pindale we walked past the old mine and then the entrance to the Hope Valley Cement Work. Before I say anything, I know the Peak District is a working landscape and everybody has to earn a living… I just think that the Hope Valley Cement Works is one of the ugliest building in the Peak District, I could also go on about how it destroys the views but I’ll leave it at that 🙂

The entrance to the Hope Valley Cement Works
The entrance to the Hope Valley Cement Works

After a short walk along the road we crossed the river which is called Peakshole Water, the reason it has this name is because its flows out of Peak Cavern further up the valley in Castleton. In no time at all we were back in Hope and the walk was at an end, If we had more time I think we would have gone around again as it had a been a great walk.

Thanks for reading, listening and viewing this blog post. The video at the top of the page was shot using my GoPro Hero 3 Silver addition and all the images in this post were taken with my Canon 550D. I’ve got back in to the habit of taking my DSLR with me again so hopefully you won’t have to put up with iPhone images anymore 🙂

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