Hathersage to Castleton; via Win & Lose Hills
Well, this Saturday’s walk began in Hathersage, mainly as I needed to visit the well-known and well-appreciated Outside shop for a pair of after-market insoles, (whilst my better half Sarah and good friend Craig stocked up on lunch and coffee). I’d been interested in getting a pair of Sorbothane Double Strikes due to some impact-derived pain in my metatarsals, (balls of my feet), that I picked up on last weeks epic, however no-one seems to be stocking them any more! Anyhow, I tried a pair of the Full Strike insoles from the same brand, and also a pair from Sidas. Whilst the Sorbothanes possess a lower volume and seem highly innovative, there was pressure on my heel from the heel pad, and though I may have gotten used to this over time, I decided against them for the short-term gain that the Sidas might provide. With hindsight, believing that they would prevent the pain outright on the first day of wear was probably wishful thinking, they definitely helped decrease the cumulative effects, but I still ended the day with my feet feeling a bit battered. Hopefully over time I’ll see more of a benefit but as always, we shall see.
Anyhow, we aimed to end our walk in Castleton at Ye Olde Nags Head, if you haven’t been there already you should try to factor it in to any trip to the Hope Valley vicinity. The food is remarkably tasty and the local beer they stock is very well kept, there’s seriously no better pub-based end to a walk in the area, (if anywhere!). Our route was to follow the Derwent Valley bridleway from Hathersage, along the river to Yorkshire Bridge at Ladybower, then onwards and upwards to Win Hill summit. The midges were in full effect in the treeline around Ladybower and on the moorland around the base of the Win Hill peak, couple this with several detours due to a catalogue of mapwork errors and the fact that typically, none of us remembered the Smidge, we thus made our eventual ascent up to Win Hill and the subsequent descent down into Hope, (via Twitchill Farm), a relatively quick one. We grabbed a coffee and toilet break in Hope, then picked up the trail to Lose Hill from the village centre. As always, the journey up towards Lose Hill was a deceptive one, with the persistent incline beginning slowly but quickly ramping up to an almost relentless gradient, leaving us considerably hot and sweaty on the approach to the top, (I remember somehow doing this in knee-deep snow last winter!). Though this was ultimately small beans, as we were welcomed to the top by the glorious sunshine, a calm breeze and an ensuing sunset. If the views from the Great Ridge are inspiring at the best of times, in light like this they are certainly hundred-fold! As we approached the gritty edge of Back Tor we were in for a treat, with the golden sun, blue skies and just enough cloud to add to the atmosphere. We again, had the whole ridge to ourselves by this time, and upon taking a few moments to savour these delights, we headed down towards Hollins Cross and descended into Castleton towards our final destination, Ye Olde Nags Head, where we inevitably ordered the burger and several pints of Bradfield’s Farmers Blonde. A delicious end to a pretty good days walk!