GREAT RIDGE TWICE
A PHOTOGRAPHIC WALKING WEBSITE by NEIL HASLEWOOD
Great Ridge Twice - 2nd January 2009
WALK STATISTICS
Date 2nd January 2009 Description Great Ridge Twice
Start Point Castleton Car Park Peaks Climbed Mam Tor 512m
Total Time 5hrs 10min   Back Tor 446m
Walking Time 4hrs 00min   Lose Hill (Lords Piece) 476m
Stopped Time 1hrs 10min   Back Tor 446m
Distance 10.25 miles   Mam Tor 512m
Moving Average 2.6 mph Start Grid Ref SK 14917 83031
Elevation at Start 187 metres Temperature +1°C to -4°C
Total Ascent 750 metres Weather Cloudy Start - Sunny Finish - Cold
Max Elevation 512 metres Walking With On Own
WALK NOTES

Edale Railway Station - Grindsbrook Booth - Grindsbrook Clough - Crowden Tower - Woolpacks - Swines Back - Jacobs Ladder - Lee House - Upper Booth - Pennine Way - Grindsbrook Booth - Edale Railway Station

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).

I 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. At 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 in Staffordshire).

At 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 in front 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 seen many artefacts sunken into the path. At this point the weather was still overcast and dull.

At 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 banks and ditches from Castleton. Mam Tor means Mother Mountain. It is also called the Shivering Mountain due to the impressive remains of ancient landslides. Mam Tor at 512m also has a triangulation pillar at its summit (S4230).

As 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 1964.

I 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 but however descends gently as the path continues along the Great Ridge. There is a large cairn close to the summit of Back Tor.

The 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 below.

After 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 Blue 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 the walk.

PROFILE
REFERENCE

Reference Books Used

None
Maps Used
OL1 Explorer - The Peak District (Dark Peak Area)
PHOTOGRAPHS
Castleton sign outside Tourist Information
Cross in Old Market Square - Castleton
National Trust Information Board for Mam Tor
MAP - OVERVIEW
© Crown Copywright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047125
PHOTOGRAPHS
Peveril Castle from Cave Dale
Back Tor and Lose Hill from above Cave Dale
Mam Tor from above Cave Dale
Back Tor and Lose Hill from above Cave Dale
Track to Rowter Farm and Mam Tor (in distance)
Snowy path near Hurd Low after Cave Dale
Mam Tor
Back Tor and Lose Hill
Artefact in the stones on the path up Mam Tor
Artefact in the stones on the path up Mam Tor
Artefact in the stones on the path up Mam Tor
Looking towards Rushup Edge
Artefact in the stones on the path up Mam Tor
Mam Tor Summit Triangulation Pillar (S4230)
The Great Ridge with Back Tor and Lose Hill from Mam Tor
Plaque at Hollins Cross
Back Tor
Back Tor
Climbing Back Tor
MAP - DETAILED 1
© Crown Copywright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047125
PHOTOGRAPHS
Nether Booth, Rowland Cote (YHA) and Kinder Scout Edge from Back Tor
Nether Booth, Rowland Cote (YHA) and Kinder Scout Edge from Back Tor
Kinder Scout from Back Tor
Lose Hill and Great Ridge from Back Tor
Kinder Scout (Grindsbrook Knoll with Grindsbrook Booth below) from Back Tor
Lose Hill and Great Ridge from Back Tor
Nether Booth, Rowland Cote (YHA) and Kinder Scout Edge from Back Tor
Win Hill from Back Tor (with the single Pine Tree which can be seen from the valley below)
Great Ridge path to Lose Hill
Looking back to Back Tor and Mam Tor
Looking back to Back Tor and Mam Tor
Kinder Scout (inc Grindsbrook Knoll) from Lose Hill
Nether Booth, Rowland Cote (YHA) and Kinder Scout Edge from Lose Hill
Lose Hill Summit Topograph with Derwent Edges
Lose Hill Summit Topograph with Win Hill
Lose Hill Summit
Lose Hill Summit Topograph
Lose Hill from Great Ridge
Lose Hill and Great Ridge from Back Tor
Win Hill from Lose Hill
MAP - DETAILED 2
© Crown Copywright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100047125
PHOTOGRAPHS
Back Tor and Lose Hill from Great Ridge
The path from Hollins Cross to Castleton
Kinder Scout from Back Tor
Kinder Scout from Hollins Cross
The Great Ridge from near Hollins Cross
Hollins Cross with Kinder Scout beyond
Great Ridge from path to Mam Tor
Hope valley and Castleton from near Mam Tor
Mam Tor from Great Ridge
Great Ridge from path to Mam Tor
Mam Tor from Great Ridge path
Great Ridge from path to Mam Tor
Mam Tor Summit Triangulation Pillar (S4230)
Path heads away from Mam Tor Summit
Hope valley and Castleton from Mam Tor Summit
Mam Tor Summit Triangulation Pillar (S4230)
Dark Skies from Mam Tor
Junction of paths below Mam Tor
Blue John Cavern sign
Mam Tor from Blue John Cavern
Back Tor (notice pine tree) and Lose Hill from path back to Castleton
Win Hill from path back to Castleton
Treak Cliff Cavern Information Board
Poetry on a seat near Treak Cliff Cavern
Back Tor and Lose Hill from path back to Castleton
Back Tor (notice pine tree) from path back to Castleton
Paraglider near Castleton

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