Tuesday, October 23, 2007
A Walk in the Peaks
Sunday was a perfect autumn day and I spent it walking in the Peak District. On my way over in glorious sunshine I rounded a bend and instead of seeing the whole of the Hope Valley stretched out in front of me I saw this mystical picture wih the tops of the hills rising through the white mist.
We started by tracing the route of a Roman road (completely invisible now ) over the fields towards the remains of the Roman fort of Navio at Brough. Just before arriving at the fort we walked by this peaceful scene.
Clicking on this will show you the information about the fort. It was built only 30 years after the Romans invaded Britain and it's generally thought that it was there to oversee the workings of the rich lead mines in the area.
Current members of the Cohors Primae Aquitanorum who are stationed at Navio Fort:)
The Praetor (commandant) guarding the entrance to the strong room in the Praetorium (headquarters building). This is the only part of the fort still visible above ground and below were found the steps leading down to the strong room. This is where the cash to pay the soldiers would be kept along with the insignia of the garrison.
Looking across the still hazy Hope Valley towards Win Hill which has rather a nice legend about how it and Lose Hill further along the valley, acquired their names. In 626 a battle was fought between King Edward of Northumbria whose troops were camped on one of the hills and King Cuicholm of Wessex who was camped on the other. Knowing that the Wessex army was much larger than his own, King Edward ordered his troops to build a stone wall around the summit of their hill. The battle began and both armies advanced but the superior numbers of Wessex soon drove Edward's army into retreat back up their hill. As the Wessex men charged after them they were crushed to death by the boulders of the wall being heaved down on them by Edward's men. Ever since Edward's hill has been called Win Hill and Cuicholm's has been Lose Hill. And come to think of it, perhaps 'nice' is not quite the word to describe the legend :)
It was still very hazy when I took this photo of Mam Tor also known as The Mother Mountain and The Shivering Mountain. I climbed this the previous week on a damp, foggy day so the wonderful views from the Iron Age hillfort at the top were hidden. Just as well since I forgot to put a memory card in my camera so got no photos at all of that outing! Clicking on this will give you a better idea of how it really looks.
Two little ponies (Shetlands?) standing guard over a stile that leads to the last of the flat parts of the walk. We stopped here to eat our lunch. I always think that sandwiches taste so much better in the open air:) A short rest then the climb up Back Tor comes next!
Using the excuse of taking some photos as a way of having a breather on the way up - the Hope Valley is below. This where the Kendal Mint Cake comes out, the extra boost of energy is a real lifesaver,
At the top of Back Tor thank goodness and looking down into the Edale Valley on the other side.
Another view down into Edale.
Looking along the ridge to Lose Hill which is where we are headed next. This is a very ancient trackway going back to prehistoric times and used as a drovers road until comparatively recent times.
On top of Losehill looking towards Winhill which is the tiny little peak in the distance - more clicking required here.
The trig point on Losehill just to prove I was really here:)
Walking back down into Hope via the old hollow lane called Jaggers Way, jagger was an old name for a pedlar or hawker. They would have used the old drovers roads to travel from one place to another. Hollow lanes are created partly by erosion and partly by the constant passage of people and animals over many centuries. Imagine the pack horse trains or the lonely peddlar trudging down this path and finally nearing a place to rest and spend a night after crossing the exposed ridge from Mam Tor in driving rain, or ice or snow.............
........and here it is at last, the warmth of a blazing fire, a glass of ale and a hot meal. Inns with the name of The Cheshire Cheese are always signs of an old drovers road as the drovers coming over from Cheshire often paid their way with one of the wonderful crumbly Cheshire cheeses that come from my home county. The Ring O'Bells is another inn sign denoting the route of a drover's way, the lead horse would wear bells on its harness to warn people of their approach. I had a little further to go before I could take off my pack and sit down but we had a wonderful day's walking in pretty much perfect conditions and I enjoyed it enormously - especially once I made it up to the top of Back Tor!.