One Sunday in early January, my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to go on an adventure. We all decided we needed to do more active things together and not just meet up in the pub on a Friday night which is our usual go-to plan! We finally decided on Mam Tor…
No one had ever been before except my partner (Charlie) who promised we’d love it, I was yet to be convinced as I’m an inexperienced walker, however a chance to wear my new wellies I got for Christmas and a chance to see my friends, I was sold. Mam Tor is a stunning 517m hill near Castleton in the High Peak of Derbyshire.
Just over an hours drive later and we’d nearly reached Mam Tor, passing stunning valleys with views for miles, I was starting to get excited. I checked the weather beforehand and it said no rain, however as we approached Mam Tor it was looking a lot like it was going to chuck it down! We drove through the country roads and Charlie turned to me and said “get your camera ready, you’ll want to take a picture of this”…
A magnificent gorge awaited us as we made our way to park the cars,with big pieces of rock towering over us as we wound through the roads.”I bet you weren’t expecting to see that today” Charlie laughed pleased that he had already seemed to have won me over with Mam Tor and we hadn’t even got to the hill yet!
Cars parked, wellies and coats on, we were ready for our adventure. As charlie had been before he decided to lead the way, we were all excited as we started walking up the road and the rain cloud had cleared so I felt reassured we weren’t going to get soaking wet. Finally with the perfect view of Mam Tor and what we were to achieve, exasperated sighs were heard. It seemed like we had a long way to go but we were ready for it.
Unfortunately we had all left late and we were unsure if we would have enough time to get up and down Mam Tor before the darkness approached. We parked on the lower car park which meant we had further to walk, however no one knew this (except for Charlie) until we had passed the middle car park, ” we could have parked here and have had less to walk!” one of the girls exclaimed with Sam replying ” you said you wanted a proper walk” and a proper walk we were going to get.
When passing the middle car park we noticed all the experienced walkers in the correct clothing and fully equipped with important necessities on this cold day. There were people sitting in their warm cars drinking out of flasks and having a bite to eat after having completed the walk, if only we were that prepared! Not phased by the experienced walkers we started our climb higher to the summit of Mam Tor.
Passing through the mud and walking up and down the mini hills and breaks in the ground and over the layers of gritstone and shale (which are caused by landslides). Me and my friend Libby started to struggle when we neared the summit as the ground became steeper, and I became short for breath as I’d left my inhaler in the car, so we ended up trailing behind. The higher we got the colder it became, Libby struggling with the wind decided to wrap her scarf around her head to keep her ears warm, whilst we passed even more qualified walkers who looked snug and didn’t seem bothered by the cold or wind, “one day that will be us” I said laughing.
Finally managing to catch up with the rest of the group just before we went through the wooden gates to complete our final section of the walk. We decided to have a quick rest stop and we sat on the steps and chatted and took in the view which was astonishing. I couldn’t wait to get to the top to see even more, so off we went!
With the top point of Mam Tor in our reach we soldiered on (me and Libby trailing behind, again). The rest of the group made it to the top before us so with them in our sights, it gave us the determination to reach the top. After huffing and puffing we finally made it, silence took over as we all stood to appreciate the breathtaking view. You could see for miles in every direction, I then knew that the battle had been worth it.
We’d made it! We of course had to stop some nearby walkers and ask for a picture of us, to have good proof of our achievement. The boys went off to explore and me and the girls stayed put and tried to not get blown away by the wind. When the boys came back we knew it was time to move on, like they say… whatever goes up must come down!
We thought it would be a good idea to not follow the path back down and make our own way back. So that we did, peering down over the edge i was a little apprehensive as it looked so steep. However linking onto each other in pairs we slowly made our way back down from the summit, I found it was easier to walk on the grassy area then the mud path as I was worried I would slip. As we carried on walking down, I tried to focus on my stepping, clutching onto Charlie for that extra support.
As we neared the flat it got very steep, I ended up going into a sort of run/jog down the hill as I thought it would be easier and quicker. I just hoped someone caught me at the end and they did, otherwise i’m not sure I would have been able to stop. So thank you Neil!
Smiles all around as we made it to the bottom, now all we had to do was find the cars. With the sun setting and the darkness taking over, we had made it back safely and just in time. Proud of our achievement and stomachs rumbling, we went off to the cars and went on another adventure (to find food)!
If you wanted to go on your own adventure up Mam Tor, a great place to stay would be UPPER BOOTH CAMPING BARN. Or look here for a maps of Peak District bunkhouses. If you wanted to take a look at the different walking routes available around Mam Tor you can visit the National Trust Site.