Monday, 25 May 2015

Lose Hill to Mam Tor - our iconic Peak District walk

On Saturday we chose to attempt one of the most popular Peak District
Looking out from near the top of Lose Hill 
walks, one which takes in Lose Hill, Back Tor, Hollins Cross and, finally, Mam Tor. Much of the land through which the walk passes is now maintained by the National Trust and we were able to do the whole nine miles directly from Bailey without needing to drive anywhere. This was particularly helpful as, unsurprisingly, everywhere was busy on the first Saturday of half term week with a Bank Holiday thrown in too! This was our first walk with lots of people around, we think, ever. It was nice to feel part of 'something' and the majority of walkers exchanged smiles and hellos.

The hardest part of the whole walk was definitely the long, steep ascent
Looking up Lose Hill wondering if
turning round already would be wiser 
up Lose Hill from Hope. We both needed to pause a few times to catch our breath although it was encouraging that we didn't look in any more distress than others doing the same ascent. We even overtook a group of teenagers! The uphill had started pretty much from our campsite - all our best walks start with ups - but with a gentler gradient, and then it got steeper and steeper. This photo is of the final incline, presumably paved to help against erosion, and I was considering calling the whole thing off! But, as you can see, Dave (in the white t-shirt) was already ahead of me and I wasn't going to let him beat me to the top! The views once there were outstanding and almost made the effort worthwhile. As you can see, we didn't have a perfect day so I guess we might be able to see even further without the haze. There is an engraved metal 'compass' which gives the distances to other hills and significant local places.

Compass on top of Lose Hill 
The walk from Lose Hill to Back Tor was gentle by comparison. We managed to outpace to the toddler who had made up almost entirely under her own steam. The path here is unevenly rocky and sandy again. The descent from Back Tor slowed me down again. It was nowhere near as scarily scree-ey as such paths can be in Spain and I noticed that my feet didn't slide inside my North Face boots in the same way as they had in my worn-out Karrimor ones so I felt far more stable.

It's Dave again!
The Back Tor descent 
I don't know why Hollins Cross is called that. There wasn't a cross at the top so maybe it is like Hope Cross and indicates an old crossroads here rather than a religious site. We were being joined my more and more walkers as we continued. Goodness only knows how busy it must get up there in July and August! Mam Tor was our final of the four hills. The name translates as Mother Hill and apparently this is due to one disintegrating edge which has fallen away to create a number of smaller hills at its base.

Mam Tor 
When the light is right, we can see this view from our campsite and have been looking up here for a week, looking forward to standing on the top but I forgot to try and see Bailey from up there. I doubt I will return to rectify this! In the ground on the top, I saw what looked like a metal bangle embedded in concrete, but it was so busy I didn't take much notice. On the way down though, I saw this metal reproduction of a pot fragment also embedded in concrete so I think they must be National Trust commemorations of archaeological finds. I don't know if there are any others.
Pot fragment on Mam Tor 
We passed Treak Cavern, one we haven't visited yet, on our walk to Castleton. We weren't tempted to stop but I did see this poem inscribed onto a bench seat beside the path just beyond the cavern gift shop. Thwe words are by Judy Meetham, about whom I haven't been able to find out anything, and I think the bench was installed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Peak District Ranger Service in 2004.

Bench with poem by Judy Meetham 
The day trippers in Castleton made the hills feel positively secluded. We joined in the fun by queuing at a shop doing a roaring trade in Bradwell's dairy ice cream. I can recommend the Rum and Raisin flavour and Dave enjoyed his Midnight Mint. The sun had come out by now and it felt like a proper Bank Holiday weekend. Wearily, and with still an hour's walking to go, we wended our way home to Hope for a well-earned Lamb Pie dinner!
I took this final photograph on Dave's proper camera, rather than overtaxing my phone which doesn't cope well with big views. Dave is on top of Lose Hill with our path to the three remaining peaks stretching away into the distance.

Gorgeous! - and the view is nice too ;-)

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