Saturday, May 11, 2013

Castleton, Mam Tor, and The Great Ridge.

Introducing Simon and Chris to Castleton and The Great Ridge.

Today started off with an interesting intellectual and philosophical challenge or conundrum: certainly something that's had me thinking all day.

I was looking out of the window as the train approached Sheffield Station and noticed the words 'Imagine waking up tomorrow and all music had disappeared' painted onto a pipeline which spanned the river. A very interesting, and disturbing, idea indeed.

I went walking with Chris and Simon from Leeds today, catching the bus to Bamford Station bus turnaround where I met up with them. We drove in the car, parking up on the abandoned road, as near to Mam Tor as we could. They were both impressed with the pinnacles on the rims of Winnats Pass on our way there.

We walked a few yards along the road and then took the path leading up to Mam Nick and then up the steps to the summit of Mam Tor. The weather wasn't ideal, but we knew what to expect; the forecast was for sunny intervals, showers, and a cold wind...and that's precisely what we got - with a bit of hail and sleet thrown in for good measure too.

We took our time walking along the ridge, frequently stopping to admire the limited views obscured by the murk. Chris tried especially hard when we reached Lose Hill.

We carefully worked our way down to Hope where we sat and ate our sandwiches on a bench next to the car park; it was raining, but not too heavily.

The next section of the walk was along the river to Castleton; stopping for about ten minutes at the location where the path crosses the railway line which leads to Hope Cement Works. The amber lights were flashing, indicating that a train was due. Simon is especially interested in trains and railways, and was hoping to see a freight train go along this rarely used section of track: after waiting for ten minutes though he gave up hope and we continued with our walk; soon arriving at Castleton.

Neither Simon nor Chris had visited Castleton before. Chris soon decided that his wife would love the place with its blue john jewellery shops, gift and craft shops, and caf├ęs; and Simon, thinking it might be a while until he's here again, relished every moment; going in most of the shops, and exploring all of the narrow lanes.

Being wary of the time, we reluctantly left Castleton and walked across the fields towards the abandoned road; caused by the ongoing landslip at the foot of Mam Tor. When we reached Odin Mine we gave Simon the opportunity to cut his walk short and wait for Chris and myself to pick him up in the car. He said that this was one of the most difficult walks he'd been on, and was very tired; but wanted to continue. We didn't have far to go at this point, but parts of the abandoned road are quite steep; and the strong wind was blowing straight in our faces.

It was a short drive into Castleton, where I was dropped off at the bus station: when the bus reached Sheffield it went a different route in the city centre because the vehicle is a different colour. I had to get off at Arundel Gate and walk down the steep hill to reach the railway station.

I had another piece of equipment failure today: my anorak split along the left elbow. I've cut both sleeves down to the elbows now; I don't know if any such garment as a short-sleeved anorak actually exists though.


  1. Short sleeved anorak? Sounds like a cool new fashion idea which you should patent! I can see the logo now - "Lee Firth" - doing battle with "North Face" and "Regatta" in outdoor clothing shops. Where you walked last Saturday is very familiar to me. I can picture it all in my head. In fact I was up in that area yesterday through Winnats Pass then along to the disused Eldon Quarries and down to Peak Forest and Sparrow Pit.

  2. The Great Ridge is one of our favourites, and we've enjoyed some brilliant walks up there, but we've also experienced the rain, hail, gales and fog in all their glory too!