Sunday, February 24, 2013

Castleton, The Great Ridge, and Hope.

I've done this walk several times before, apart from some short sections of footpaths near to Castleton, and it's one of my favourite routes;  however, I've not done it for over two years.

The ground was mostly frozen today and so a lot easier walking - I did need to put on my ice grippers for a couple of short stretches though.

The weather was okay, nothing more, mainly cloudy with occasional brief light snow showers. The sun did pop out for a few minutes illuminating Kinder Scout, the highest part of the Peak District, just as I was on the Great Ridge and in an excellent position to take some photographs.



At Castleton I walked down the track which starts at the side of the house with what I always imagine to be a stone circle, or henge, in its garden - it's probably just a random arrangement of old gateposts, but maybe one of the owners is, or was a Druid.



I was soon walking across open country with spectacular views of Mam Tor in front of me. This is the favourite of several photographs I took. It tells a story I suppose: the sheep must have been hungry, they followed every hiker thinking they were the farmer coming to feed them. (Please note: I am not a shepherd.)



I continued along the path to Odin Mine, and then the abandoned road, which I walked up in its entirety until reaching a footpath which eventually leads up to the summit of Mam Tor. Getting to the top was easy, the steps presented no problems, but descending along the ridge towards Hollins Cross was slippery, and so I put on my ice grippers for the first time.

The views from the ridge were as enjoyable as ever, even though the visibility wasn't particularly good. It was busy up there, as it always seems to be, and to be honest, I was enjoying watching the other walkers as much as the scenery.

During the descent from Lose Hill, at the eastern end of the ridge, there was a small area of sheet ice which required my ice grippers. One person had slipped just before I got there, and others were obviously struggling, so I smashed up the ice as best I could with my spikes....and my eighteen and a half stone.

I only had five minutes to wait for the bus at Hope. When I arrived at the railway station in Sheffield the train services were in a mess, due to both the continuing problems caused by the landslip at Hatfield Main Colliery, and scheduled engineering works in the Hope Valley.

Trans Pennine Express services were particularly badly affected; they seemed to be only able to run a shuttle service between Sheffield and Doncaster. Before the train set off the guard announced that it was the Trans Pennine Express Service running from Sheffield to Doncaster. I muttered to myself, but obviously loud enough for the woman sitting next to me, 'Yeah, but where are the Pennines?' She looked at me, stood up, and walked further down the carriage.

Yet again my Asperger's syndrome has done me no favours; I try to be jocular and friendly...but it always seems to backfire on me. At least I don't get paranoid though; there were police officers at both Meadowhall and Doncaster stations; but I knew that they weren't there for me.