Chrome Hill Is An Amazing Route
There are hill routes in the Peak District that have to be treated with respect, especially for we pensioners. The respect is about steepness or remoteness or even the potential for rescue. After only 15 months living here, we have run up some of these, not least Shining Tor, the Roaches and Shutlingsloe. I quietly shunted other steep hills to one side, leaving those to when we gain hill climbing strength. Chrome Hill is an amazing route and joined Kinder and those rugged hills to the North on the to do list. However, it was a sunny day on a quiet midweek and Chrome Hill seemed possible. We parked at Earl Sterndale and headed off past the now closed pub, ‘The Quiet Woman’, on the first climb. In my photo, taken from above the village, Chrome Hill is on the right.
I love Dovedale and its scenic limestone. The intricacy of this landscape is unparalleled. It’s also wonderful running country, with hard grassy paths and stiles. We flicked over the end of Hitter Hill and Parkhouse Hill suddenly looms up, a whaleback reef. It looks challenging but we ignore it, preferring to slide over it’s southern side to the road from Dowel Dale. In front rises Chrome Hill, another grassy whaleback and unremitting climb. We run it with no great problem, passing the odd walker. The summit is exposed with a 360 degree view. It’s warm with no wind. The descent North West is steep, a switchback of small summits with some rock scrambling. Two caves are passed before dropping to a stream crossing. It’s then another steep climb past Tor Rock.
The route crosses fields and joins a lane dropping into Dowel Dale. This is cave head country with a number of swallets or sinkholes. Marshy rushes abound but no curlews were seen or heard, indicative of this waders decline. Beside the road is Owl Hole, a water leak disappearing into the strata beneath. The route is then down Dowel Dale, a perfect limestone valley. Part way down we climb steeply to head East and join a tiny dale dropping to Glutton Farm. Here, ewes are suckling new born lambs. We rejoin the outward route back to The Quiet Woman.
Chrome Hill is an amazing route
It’s done, another spectacular route. It was 6 miles and includes over 1200′ of climbing. Subsequently, and for at least a couple of days, the sheer joy of the run subsumes me. It is in my head and just occasionally I break into smile at the thought. It’s the joy of living, of the body as a hill climbing machine, the brain sitting atop and absorbing the sheer wonder of the Peak District. Why would I be anywhere else?