The weather forecast was for a bright
sunny day so I decided to head north to Castleton
to walk the Great Ridge in the hope of having great
all round views. On arriving in Castleton there was
a brief break in the clouds but generally it was
overcast and dull. I parked in the main car park
in Castleton quite early (there was only a few cars
already parked there).
walked from the car park to Cross Street which
is the main road through Castleton and turned left
for a short distance before turning right up Castle
Street. I then walked past the Castle and George
pubs to reach the old Market Place. The entrance
to Cave Dale is signposted between two cottages.
On entering the dale there is an information board
full of useful facts. The ‘cave-like’ entrance
leads to one of Derbyshire’s most magnificent dales.
this point and Castleton Village as well were at
the bottom of a deep lagoon in Carboniferous times
330 million years ago. The hills in front and to
the sides were part of an ancient limestone reef
teeming with life.
Continuing up the dale I noticed a small opening
(presumably for ventilation to Peak Cavern). Further
up the dale you are actually treading on the roof
of Peak Cavern as well as lots of other smaller limestone
caves. Also as I climbed up the dale and looked behind
there were good views to the castle. When the Norman’s
built Peveril Castle in the 11th century they chose
the site carefully. They used the natural steepness
of the valley sides for defence and as a good look-out.
As I started to walk out of the top of the dale
the sun started to break through the clouds so I
left the path and climbed to the top of the hill
on my left for a good view back towards the great
ridge including Mam Tor, Back Tor and Lose Hill.
I then returned back to the path and headed towards
Old Moor passing Hurd Low on the way. Beneath Hurd
Low is Titan Cave with the largest shaft of any known
UK cave being some 141.5 metre’s tall. The existence
of Titan was revealed in November 2006 following
its discovery on 1 January 1999 after cavers discovered
connections from the James Hall Over Engine Mine
to both Speedwell Cavern and the Peak Cavern. The
path from Castleton to Old Moor is the start of The
Limestone Way (which eventually finishes at Rocester
a junction of tracks on Old Moor I turned right
and followed the track passing Rowter
Farm to reach
the road which returns back to Castleton via the
Winnats Pass. Here I crossed the road and then
took a path across a field with Mam Tor straight
of me. The path passes Windy Knoll before arriving
at yet another road. Again it was straight on over
the road and up the next field to Mam Nick. There
were quite a few people around now who were mostly
heading in the direction of Mam Tor. As with many
others I followed the paved path to the summit
of Mam Tor. During the ascent there can be
artefacts sunken into the path. At this point the
weather was still overcast and dull.
the summit of Mam Tor is one of Britain’s most
spectacular prehistoric hill forts.
It is visible
from miles around – when not shrouded in cloud.
You can see the ruined walls as grassed-over
ditches from Castleton. Mam Tor means Mother
Mountain. It is also called the Shivering
Mountain due to
the impressive remains of ancient landslides.
at 512m also has a triangulation pillar at its
I left Mam Tor and followed the paved path to the
Great Ridge I could see blue sky on the horizon
– I was just hoping it was coming in my direction.
The ascent from Mam Tor is quite steep and at one
point the paved path gives way to rocks and grass.
The views from the descent along the Great Ridge
are great. In fact there are fantastic views as far
as Win Hill and beyond ahead, Castleton and Hope
in the valley to the right and Edale and Kinder Scout
in the valley to the left. After awhile the path
levels out and one eventually arrives at Hollins
Cross (where there is a junction of paths). At Hollins
Cross is a round stone pillar with a plaque in
memory of Tom Hyett of Long Eaton Ramblers dated
continued along the ridge ascending to the top
of Barker Bank and then descended to Backtor Nook
where the sun came out and there were great views
to the stony ascent of Back Tor. The ascent is
mainly walking but there are one or two points
where one may have to use hands. The views from
Back Tor are great especially into the valleys
of Hope/Castleton and Edale as well as to the tops
of Kinder Scout and Win Hill. From the top of
Back Tor it falls away steeply into the Edale valley
gently as the path continues along the Great Ridge.
There is a large cairn close to the summit of Back
ridge path to Lose Hill is obvious but can be muddy
in places (depending on the time of the year).
Before the final ascent to the summit of Lose Hill
there is a stile. The summit of Lose Hill is crowned
with a Topograph which is very interesting as the
views from the top are in every direction. Lose
Hill is at the eastern end of the Great Ridge.
Goods views to Win Hill can be had beyond the valley
a short break I retraced my steps along the ridge
(in the lovely sunny conditions) visiting Back
Tor, Hollins Cross and Mam Tor once more. When
I arrived at Mam Tor someone had placed a wreath
at the base of the Trig Point since I was there
earlier in the day. I then descended to Mam Nick
and took the path to
John Cavern.The path crosses a field to arrive
at the old road beneath Mam Tor which is now closed
due to landslides years ago. From the road my path
took me by the entrance to Blue John Cavern and
then descended around a hill to Treak Cliff Cavern.
From here it was an easy stroll along the road
back into Castleton (still with its lovely Christmas
lights). This was a very enjoyable day with the
added bonus of sunny weather for the majority of