Sunday New Mills to The Torrs, Tuesday Mam Tor 10 miler, lovely. A couple of great walks, one short, one longer both stunning for different reasons.
The Torrs in New Mills is a gorge hidden in the middle of the town surrounded by viaducts and home to the Millennium Walkway, Torr Hydro and Torr Vale Mill. It’s great and I love it, for it’s rugged beauty and man made adaptations both recent and old.
One of the best bits about walking is what you learn along the way, I was saddened to read why the Millennium Bridge is a tribute to the chief engineer Stan Brewster who worked proudly on this project; he was tragically he was killed in the London bombings of 2005, this I find desperately sad but how amazing to have left such a legacy such as this bridge?
Having previously worked in the clothing industry I have spent a lot of time in factories and manufacturing units in the UK and Far East and I have always loved the motion of creation and the formulaic process of mass production, even a disused and ruined factory holds appeal such as Torr Vale Mill. Now the mill is a listed building, once a cotton mill it now stands empty and crumbling.
I really recommend a visit to The Torrs, a walk along the Millennium Bridge and on wards towards Mousely Bottom. Go and see it for yourself, for me it is the gem of New Mills, a true hidden masterpiece.
So, Mam Tor on Tuesday. I took a friend for his first visit to Mam Tor, he had heard me yabber on about it too many times at work and was desperate to go for a visit as soon as he had time off work. I have never had the time to walk the route Mam Tor to Losehill, down to Castleton and back to Mam Tor via the Devil’s Arse cavern and Winnats Pass until now, we followed the route using the Ordanance Survey Map – The Peak District.
Climbing Mam Tor the dark and heavy rain clouds were on their way from Kinder Scout, thankfully they passed over us towards Tideswell. It’s fair to say at this point mood is excitement and the amazement of such stunning scenery is still with my friend. It is always nerve wracking when you recommend somewhere to someone but he was bowled over. I am so proud to show my city friends what the countryside has to show them, David was stunned by the beauty. So, at approx 1/2 a mile in, all is well and we are speechless with the views and exhilaration of the fresh air and natural beauty.
Turning behind me dark clouds and in front blue skies, it’s like being on top of the world and a millions miles from the usual worries and stresses. Yep, we’re still happy, 2 miles in.
Rushup Edge and Mam Tor now in the distance behind but there needs to be a warning; this route is so stunning and amazing it is easy to get carried away walking along the ridge, it’s an easy-ish walk, so easy you suddenly realise that you are heading too far and need to return back, as we did and nearly arrived in Hope. Reaction of friend: realisation of distance setting in, approx 4.5 miles.
The route back down from the tor is steep passing through fields of sheep and cows/bulls so beware! Reaction: fear. 5 miles.
Panic over and the arrival in Castleton, people, shops, civilisation to those of us who like gift shops and sweeties. Castleton is is incredibly quaint; a primary school so small that uses the village hall for the children to eat in at lunch, curiosity shops, ramblers cafes, gift shops, narrow streets and chocolate box houses.
By this point we had walked about 5.5 miles and were hungry, low blood sugar and a bit wobbly, we stopped at the Ramblers Rest and dined out on coffee and cake, gave the doggies a break and a drink before continuing on towards Peveril Castle and the Devil’s Arse Cavern. Mood: optimistic, reinvigorated, such rush of cake.
We turned back from the cavern agreeing to visit another day; as it’s an hour long tour and panic was starting to set in about the long walk back to the cars (it’s miles). Mood : panic.6 miles in, 4 to go but still loving every minute.
So, back through more gorgeous little streets and out to Longcliff, a path taking you to the back of Speedwell Cavern, delirium and hunger has set in once more…
And now for the walk through Winnats Pass. Have you ever been on a walk where at this stage you are laughing so much because you really don’t think it’s possible and you don’t know how you’re going to push on? That’s the stage we’re at now. And it’s Winnats Pass.
I have written about Winnats Pass before so I won’t repeat myself with my love and fascination for the place but just tell you about my dear friend David’s face at this point;think panic, fear, denial and hysterics and you’ve got the mood. We are about 7 miles in now and it’s a steep walk up and through Winnats, and I feel a bit guilty and a lot mischievous about this next push. The clock is also ticking, he’s got choir to go to at the Trafford Centre, I’ve got my daughter to collect from school, and darkness could be closing in at any point. And we’re hungry again and running out of water. Mood: the giggles.
So, eventually we made it back having scrambled the last few miles up hill, through long grass, clarts and cow poo, 10 miles, 19,325 steps, 1200 calories each, two very tired dogs, two manic but very happy owners. Same time tomorrow he said…We loved every single minute of it, who wouldn’t? This is our playground.