Friday, February 14, 2020

Great Hucklow, Windmill, Castleton, and Hope

Today should have been another one of my themed walks, visiting as many old lead mine rakes as I could manage. I'd got my route all worked out and was well under way, at least a couple of miles into the walk before I realised that I'd forgotten my map, I'd left it at home. I knew the area well and so there was no danger that I'd get lost, but I couldn't remember the exact route I'd worked out with all the detours and diversions to reach, or get as close as I could to the rakes. So...I didn't try, I just continued heading in the general direction of Castleton.

By the way, just out of interest, a rake is a term used to describe a linear feature in the landscape caused by old leadmining practices, consisting of a trench and small spoilheaps at either side.

Channel 5 was filming a documentary as I was travelling on the train to Sheffield this morning; I didn't see any interesting or dramatic interactions or confrontations though which would appear in the final edit.

I travelled to Great Hucklow on the bus and walked along the path that runs parallel to the road heading westwards, never being more than a few yards from it. Most of the land here is an old rake; I don't know its name though - it might be an extension of the first rake marked on the map that I visited, High Rake.

I soon reached the hamlet of Windmill and carried on walking down the road until I arrived at the remains of High Rake Mine and the start of High Rake. It was a misty day and not very suited to landscape photography, so I tried something a bit different at a farm just beyond Windmill...maybe there's art and beauty in neglect, dereliction, and decay.

The footpath follows the rake for a while until it reaches a minor road. On the other side of the road was my second rake of the day, Tideslow Rake, the best example in the Peak District. At the far end of this rake there's a location called Whiterake, but there was nothing obvious to be see: it was at this point that I realised I'd forgotten my map.


A few minutes later I spotted a fox running across the road and further on I noticed a couple of llamas in a nearby field and then a hare jumped out in front of me.

I couldn't see any snow up on the summit of Mam Tor or along the Great Ridge yet there was still this remnant left of a deep drift which must have formed up against the wall.

As I progressed and Mam Tor moved out of the way I noticed some larger patches of snow in the distance on the flank of Kinder Scout, which is higher ground. 

After checking the map when I got home I can confirm that I'd passed within a hundred yards of Oxlow Rake, I got a good view of it.

I chose the route going down Winnats Pass to get to Castleton; it's not the shortest, but was probably the least muddy.

Three o'clock is the one hour during the day, on schooldays, when there's not a bus that goes to Sheffield from Castleton, however one leaves from Hope College at 3:40 and it's only a short walk along the road to get there. 

I had plenty of time.

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