|Janet, Simon & Myself on Win Hill|
One of the group lives in New Mills so it seemed a good idea to walk in the Peak District. I picked up Simon from Piccadilly Station who made his way across from Birkenhead and Liverpool on the train, then made our way to New Mills and picked up Janet. On the Saturday several inches of snow fell on the Peak District so I knew we couldn't just go up anything as I wasn't too sure about what kit and ability the others had. I chose to do an easy to moderate walk that would guarantee us a nice pub or cafe at the end of the walk as well as making our wee leg muscles burn at times. I chose Win Hill from Hope Village as it is a perfect half day stiff walk up a pointy hill with great views and a great end to the walk ending up in Hope. We couldn't see much snow until we came off the A6 and headed towards Castleton. As we got higher, passed the Chestnut Centre and entered the real Peak District the snow became aparant and there was a good three or four inches too. The Winnat Pass as I say every time I've been near it, just takes my breath away and in conditions like this you could be anywhere in the world as you drive through this huge rocky canyon. I usually hit the curb at some point due to my leaning against the steering wheel whilst marvelling up at its huge cliffs. We got too Hope which was quiet enough for us to find free roadside parking, quite a rarity these days!
|Ascent path to Win Hill|
We kitted up and then set off down Edale Road. Our progress was soon halted as we had to hide behind a car as farmers moved a big flock of sheep down the road. We laughed at the sheep who were too busy chomping in to the green grasses and ivy bushes of peoples cottages to be hurried along. We turned right down Green Drive and crossed Killhill Bridge over the River Noe. After going under the railway and up the Twitchill Farm track we were soon ascending the long farm track with snowy slopes ahead of us. We headed through the farm yard and entered the sloping field behind the farm. The snow here was two inches deep and had completely soaked the muddy slope. Luckily Janet and myself seemed to have boots that gripped the mud well but Simon took about twice as long as us to ascend the field as his ascent was a case of two steps forward and one step back. We reached the gate at the top of the field and then turned to see Simon sliding downhill on his side. He took it very well and we helped for about ten minutes with tissues trying to remove the mud caked all over him. It was of course rather funny too and he was given a lot of grief about this incident for the rest of the day.
|Forest near Wooler Knoll|
We continued the steep ascent up another slippery grass field and were then relieved to cross the stile on to open rough land with much easier sticky rocky paths. We passed that beautiful hawthorn that anyone who has done this walk will know. As we got closer to the crest of the wide ridge we looked around us to find that we had pretty much entered the low cloud and the views were nearly all gone, a real shame as the views from this summit are usually one of my favourites. We climbed up to the top of the rocky Winhill Pike that gives the hill its distinctive pointed top and stopped for a few minutes to take a photo. We headed back along the ridge and walked along the top of it for a few kilometres until we reached the bridleway and footpath crossroads by Wooler Knoll. The path along the ridge top was pretty awful and suffering badly. I do feel it would benefit from some defining and maybe even the slab paths that work so well in these areas. I couldn't resist a walk through the woods to Wooler Knoll as it is such a bizarre nothing lump that sits in the forest so peacefully. To me it looks like a UFO landed there at some point,. Nothing ever seems to grow on it other than long grasses.
|Janet with the white horse at The Homestead|
We decided not to continue on towards Edale Cross as we couldn't see a thing and it was pretty cold. So we headed down the descent path, admiring the view across the River Noe to Lose Hill all the way down. It looks conical and stunning from this angle as you are looking straight on at the very end of The Great Ridge. We reached the tarmac road and followed it to Fullwood Site Farm. There were hundreds of pretty Snowdrops on the banks along the roadside. We headed through Fullwood Site Farm where we watched Geese and Guinea Fowl fighting and making a right racket in the field. I've walked on this path passing The Homestead a few times and the first was around six years ago. Each time I've been through here I've had a chat with a lovely white horse. He didn't let me down and was there again and came over to us all to lick the sweat off our hands as we tried to feed him what fresh grass we could find. We retraced our steps back to Hope and entered the Woodroffe Arms for drinks in front of their warm fire before heading home, all glad that we had made the effort to get out and get some well earned fresh air after a week at work.
I have uploaded the photos from the day here.