Our walk today took us from Castleton up through Cave Dale behind Peveril Castle, along the Limestone Way a bit then past the abandoned lead mines, up to Mam Tor, across to Hollins Cross and back down into Castelton.
It was a beautiful morning so we were up and about and on our way reasonably early. We arrived in Castleton just before midday parked in the car park (£5.00 for over four hours) booted ourselves up and set off. My boots were brand new as my old ones had parted company with the sole so I was a bit concerned how they would cope.
Castleton is a small town at the head of the Hope Valley and even on a Wednesday in early June was busy with coachloads of school children who we assumed were going to places like the Blue John mines as well as walking around Castleton. Nonetheless, we made our way past the church and up through into Cave Dale.
The path through Cave Dale is steep and rocky but my boots did well and were very comfortable. Cave Dale gets its name from the multitude of caves and old mine workings along the sides of the valley and we soon arrived at the head of the valley and looked back towards Peveril Castle.
The next phase was a gentle walk along a well trodden path with fields full of sheep of various sorts with birds singing in the adjacent woodland. We were lucky enough to see a couple of Wheatears bouncing along the wall, flying in front of us and then dashing back behind us. Wheatears get their name from the Anglo Saxon for “White Rump” and as they flew around, this was pretty clear.
We continued on along and went past an area of abandoned mine pits where we stopped for a sandwich. Whilst we were eating, a single Lapwing started dancing around in a nearby field. I presume it was trying to distract the crows that were flying about but its distinctive “PeeWit” cry was worthwhile slowing down our walk. I remember as a child large flocks of these birds in the fields so a single solitary bird was slightly sad.
Over and down with Winnats Pass to our left, we made our way up the steps to Mam Tor. There we were entertained by the song of a number of Skylarks. The Skylark is an iconic bird but I don’t think I have ever heard so many singing so enthusiastically before. I tried to record their song on my camera but completely without success.
We made our way along the ridge and turned right at Hollins Cross coming back down the steep path to the bottom of the hill where we looked back to see a search and rescue helicopter flying along the ridge.
Back to the car park in Castleton, a total distance of about 6.5 miles in a gentle time of about 3.5 hours.
De-booted (and my boots were really comfortable), we had a cup of tea and a piece of cake each at Rose Cottage. An excellent day out in lovely weather