The Torrs and Mam Tor

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.

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20160705_113052-01 (1)20160705_113741-01Rushup 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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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 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.

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Long grass, dark skies and darting swallows

One of my favourite stories I read to my children at bed time was We’re Going on a Bear Hunt  by Michael Rosen and today I was reminded of it when walking out across the moor.  In the story when encountering long wavy grass the family of explorers say “we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we have to go through it, swishy swashy, swishy swashy… ” and those of you familiar with the story will know how it goes as the family conquer the grass and continue on their journey.  I adore this book and think it holds a very important message to all ages – whatever the obstacle you can’t avoid it and have to go through it.  And so through knee high grass I walked.

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Long grass also reminds me of the opening scenes of Little House on the Prairie, and oh how much I wanted to be like Laura Ingalls Wilder running through the grass, Laura Ashley style dress and long plaits down my back.  I devoured the books one after the other and this makes me think, will the next generation of children have such lovely memories provoked by books they read in their later years?  Will YouTube and Facebook offer as many memorable moments?  I doubt it and that’s a sad thought.

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So, I took a simple walk through the swishy swashy grass and up the hills to the top of the moor, this is a view I absolutely love, it’s a breathe deep, fill your lungs and admire the land moment.  The dark skies are back, the grass was wet and the rain was teasingly falling but I am the kind of walker that if I were to return home dry and clean then it wouldn’t have seemed like a decent or satisfying walk, for me it’s about what you get out of it not how clean I stay.

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Climbing higher the girls came to greet me, as the lambs get older their mums stand still, protect them and don’t run away like before, instead they inquisitively stand and stare at me and my lamb looking like dog on a lead.  I’m sure they think we are quite mad.

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Back down to the older ladies and to me this sheep in the foreground is wearing a jumper with a lovely round neckline, don’t you think so too?

But what I couldn’t capture today were the swallows, rising and falling across the fields, swooping and looping and turning in the air loving their flight.  Maybe next time.

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And so swishy swashy, swishy swashy long grass but no deep mud or bears, just sheep and their lambs, some swallows, a few cows and a sense of calm on the hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Roaches

The Roaches is two outcrops of gritstone between Buxton in Derbyshire and Leek in Staffordshire, it’s stunning and I really recommend you go and explore.  I have only recently started to visit the Roaches having driven past on numerous occasions and I absolutely love it.

I do need to tell you, it is not for:

  • Small children
  • Crazy dogs who jump off ledges
  • Dogs that chase sheep off ledges
  • Anyone who is not confident walking, climbing steep hills or frightened of heights.

It is for:

  • Adrenaline junkies
  • Walkers
  • Climbers
  • Explorers and those of us looking to see breath taking views and have a love of nature
  • Wallabies,released from a local zoo in the 30’s, but sadly no longer there
  • Peregrine falcons, now nesting.

It’s stunning.

From Buxton on the A53 I recommend taking the turning right for Upper Hulme and driving until you see a lay by close to the Peregrine falcon viewing point.

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As you start walking you will come to Don Whillian’s Memorial Hut which is built into the rock face and as much as you want to, you can’t go closer to the hut  unless you are part of a private party.

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Continue to woodland with smaller rock faces ideal for less experienced climbers to practice, (they’re not mattresses everywhere, they’re crash mats) ideal for having picnics and for children to play and have an adventure at the base of the rocks.

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Keep walking, keeping head higher through the trees and you’ll soon see paths up through the rocks.

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And climb and climb up and through the rocks, ropes are optional, steps are provided and I recommend you take plenty of water!

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Reaching the top your view is out of this world, across to Leek to the left of Tittersworth Reservoir, turning clockwise towards Cheshire and continuing round to Derbyshire.

 

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If you dare there is a seat carved into the rock on the edge of the upper tier over hanging a vast drop with an inscription dedicated to the visit of the Prince and Princess of Teck.

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The haunting tale of Jenny Greenteeth, or the Blue Nymph of Doxey Pool, originates from the story of  a woman who was walking across the Roaches on a foggy day, she fell in the pond and became a mermaid known as Jenny Greenteeth.  From that day any man who walked past she would grabb them and drag them down to their untimely death in the bottomless pool.  Today she curses any dog who dares jump in and covers them with thick brown goo never to be washed off again!

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Continuing onwards past Doxey’s Pool can take you further along the tops of the rocks back towards Buxton or turn as I did and headed back to the bottom along the back of the rocks.

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I have been lucky each time I have been here and the ice cream van has been there in the lay by to meet me with the most delicious and creamy ice cream.  Happy days – a well deserved treat.

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For sat navs follow postcode ST13 8UA for a closest destination.
Map Reference : SK 005 621

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Mam Tor and Snow on 29th April…

IMG_20160429_183225I planned to walk a circular walk around Mam Tor yesterday but that was cut short due to a snow drifts and driving icy snow.   Mam Tor is National Trust owned land on the Castleton Road between Chapel-en-le-Frith and Sheffield.

It really is the most amazing, magical place, whatever the weather.  Mam Tor, meaning Mother Hill, was a Bronze Age settlement and burial mounds are still visible. On a clear day it is a favourite for paragliders, walkers and people taking a break from hussell and bussell of Manchester and Sheffield.

The walk I had intended to do is only a short three mile walk but as soon as I started to climb up to the ridge an icy blizzard was hitting my face and making it impossible to see, it was too dangerous to continue.  Wodge and I headed back down and turned to go around the back of the hill with the view of Edale, if you could see for the snow…

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On a less snowy day you can see across to Castleton and the Hope Valley, round the back of the hill Kinder Scout and Edale. I headed back around towards Edale; cars, vans were stranded, I expect this here on a bad winter’s day but not in April.

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Spring green leaves cling on in the snow.

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A snow battered Wodge, but he really is happy, really!

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I found this poor love who was stuck in the fence and freed her, she was dangerously close to causing herself severe harm.

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The sheep and the cattle had come down from hills, hiding from the severest of winds.

I absolutely love Mam Tor, the scenery is stunning, whichever way you turn or walk the view is breathtaking.

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Go, make a visit, you’ll love every second of it.

Head banging, traffic jamming…

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Head banging, traffic jamming, missed yoga, stopped the car, watched the snow and went for a long walk.

When you have plans to do something you want to do and it doesn’t work out…Traffic has been horrendous recently so I stopped the car, watched the snow fall over the hills and and decided to go for a walk.  It’s been “one of those days” so used the newly free time and walked the hills with my dog.  To be honest, I think I enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed the class.  Sometimes there is a silver lining to every cloud.

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Fresh air is all it really needs and balance has been restored.

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And exhale.

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Winnats Pass

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This is the view on my commute to work, sunrise at the beginning of the each day.  Last week I had been counting down the days and hours until I could be outdoors at the weekend.

By 9am yesterday I was at Winnats Pass, I didn’t want to see a computer screen or have an agenda, just to swap that for the fresh air and walking in the hills, that’s my relaxation.  I love Winnats Pass and what I love about it the most is the fact that millions of years ago it was under the sea and whales and sea life passed through those rocks, it’s a crazy thought and I love it.

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For more information about Winnats Pass and the stunning surrounding area, check out this Country File link with recommendations of places to visit and eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Out

We took some time out from work, revision and exams all four of us and our dog and escaped to Delemere Forest in our caravan.  We set up and walked for miles, swung on rope swings, tackled GoApe! and visited friends in LLandudno.

Fresh air, chatter, laughter, mud, wet dog and calm from the everyday background noise.  It was what we really needed away from the hectic life we live.