On my last trip I came across a potential route extension to the west of Edale, that would include an elevated ridge-type walk, ultimately dropping down towards Hayfield. This week I thought I might take this route, heading out to Castleton to give myself a different starting point.
I just about caught the 09:00 bus, (272), from Ecclesall Road/Hunters Bar, after leaving 45 minutes to get down there from home. Definitely going to make it an hour next time. The sun was out, though when shaded or in the wind, the temperature dropped considerably. The forecast was given as being changeable, a statement whose manifestation was one of the defining features of the day.
After alighting from the bus, and taking a few minutes to sort myself out, I set off down the main road out of Castleton proper, heading towards Treak Cliff. I took the path up and contoured around to the shop at the Blue John Cavern where the south-west face of Mam Tor shined in the sunlight. A couple of groups of guided climbers were aligned along the bottom of the scree-strewn face, oblivious to the weather system that was quite obviously coming in from the north-west, (the first picture doesn’t quite do it justice).
With time as a PhD student pressing on, this weekend’s walk was a necessarily short and almost solitary one. I headed out alone, aiming for Hope on the 09:14 train. I say alone, both carriages were quite full, something I don’t remember seeing that often during the winter months, (not that it’s been much of a winter so far around these parts!). The first thing I noticed, as the train exited the Totley tunnel at Grindleford and the hills of the Peak begin to come into view, was the significant low cloud. We pulled into Hathersage, and a temporary lifting of the fog revealed just a hint of a smattering of snow on the highest reaches of Stanage Edge. I smiled as the latter sunk in, and my brain began to consider if I might detour up to Win Hill, or whether I should continue into Edale so as to maximise my exposure to this elusive but significant slushy blanket. Despite these internal time-wastings, the arrival of the train at Hope put paid to any further consideration of this kind.