Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A steady introduction...

So, over the last month or so; I've eased myself in gently. There isn't a much finer place for it than the Dark Peak area of the Peak District. Or so I've read, and heard from many a source. It's pretty safe to say that this acclamation certainly rings true! I became a little overwhelmed with just how much walking there can be done in the area, and how great the views are from the top of every peak. This feeling of being overwhelmed quickly turned into a determination to explore every part of one particular area before I move onto the next. Thus, I have been back a couple more times to the place of my inception into walking; Edale Valley.

It would be a little bit daft if I were to exclaim too much about how steeped in history this valley and its surrounding hills are, seeing as though there is a lot of historical context all around the Peak District. But there are a number of points of interest here that I enjoyed reading about, seeing first hand, and look forward to seeing in the near future. Mam Tor - an old Bronze/Iron age hill fort site, Edale Cross - an apparent boundary marker (dating back to 1157), Ringing Roger - an old lookout point for highwaymen, Druid's Stone - a ceremonial site for Celtic/Pagan Priests (Druids), and of course Kinder Scout - site of the mass trespass of 1932. The trespass being the catalyst in the foundation of national parks and the 'right to roam' in this country. This is to name but a few that I choose as personal highlights.

The first walk that I undertook was a short one. During this walk, I learnt a great deal about hill walking, map reading, and how rewarding a cup of oxtail soup from a thermos flask can be. One thing, probably the main thing that suprised me on this particular day was; how erratic the weather can be. It seemed that from minute to minute, the weather would change from sunny and warm, to windy and raining, back to sunny, to wind and hail. The rate at which the clouds seemed to move through the hills and valleys was wondrous to watch and experience. By the end of that first day, I was already well versed in the practice of scrambling into a rucksack and re, or de-layering.

The route we took, was quite a slow and leisurely one - from Edale, following Grindsbrook to the top of the gorge, then back down Grindslow Knoll. The climb up Grindsbrook clough was a little challenging for a first outing, but it was definitely well worth it by the time we'd reached the top. It was a fun day, and perfect for breaking me in lightly.

The second walk, was alot of fun and it was such a good time spent with my girlfriend. We walked only a short way, but spending the time together was as rewarding as any walk I think I could do. After a good soaking in the relentless drizzle, we went for lunch in the Old Nags Head in Edale and sat next to the fire to dry off. We have been on one more walk together since, and I hope she continues to want to come out with me, because I do really appreciate her willingness to do something that she might not choose off her own back to keep me happy.

There has been a third and fourth walk, but this post has been a bit lengthy for its content so I will put them in a further post over the next few days. If for no other reason than that alot more distance was covered. The first was roughly 18miles around the Edale Valley, and the second, around part of Ladybower Resevoir (although not in the Edale Valley, still part of the Dark Peak).

Ill leave you with some pictures.


The view over the valley, from just below Mam Tor.

Up Grindsbrook clough.

The top of Grindsbrook, back down the clough.

By the time we'd come back down Grindslow Knoll, the sun was out again.

The foot of Mam Tor.