The Great Ridge

 In Derbyshire walks

We had guests from California and they fancied walking The Great Ridge. The problem; it’s the Bank Holiday! A nice quiet start from Hope, few people and a gradual climb. Our two women guests, in their sixties, climbed well. However, those easy sloping climbs are tougher than they look. Consequently, oxygen stops became necessary. Meanwhile, younger people swept by. The top of Lose Hill soon arrived and the scale of the ridge became more apparent. Well, it would have been had it not been covered in bodies. It was way beyond what we could have imagined. We carried on to Back Tor, always seeking the best line. The descent of Back Tor was worrying for our guests, all tumbly gritstone blocks. We, who live in the Peak District, are perhaps more skilled at wild descents than we imagine.

Call me a pansy

In my past, the ridge was purely a wild footpath. Now, it is a mixture of paved sections and wild sections. I find the paved sections more difficult because they give a false sense of security. Firstly, they are not flat. Secondly, they are rippled. Consequently, a dragging foot is easily stubbed and a trip possible. We gave our guests the option of cutting down and back but they preferred to reach Mam Tor. That came up easily, as did a sharp, cold breeze. We dropped to the meadows and, the eagled eyed (me) spotted a particular yellow in the grass. It was mountain pansy, clumps of them, which we all admired. Past the Blue John Mine and down to Treak Cliff Cavern, a concrete carbuncle. The toilets of Castleton were a necessary objective.

The Great Ridge

We rolled on into Castleton and a cosy cafe for tea and toilets. Then, an amble down the river to Hope and return to their pub, The Cheshire Cheese. They spoke highly of the way they were cared for at this pub. We really enjoyed all those people on the ridge, so many youngsters.These sort of days out remind me why we live here. It’s because it is an amazing place, full of interest and excitement. Las Vegas and Monaco; let the rich keep them.

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