Not as roundabout a trot as I thought25th December 2014
Hope and Edale are adjacent stops on the Hope Valley railway line that links Sheffield with Stockport and Manchester. As it happens, the expression “Hope Valley” is incongruous since the word “hope” once meant valley anyway. It is a collision caused by none other by the evolution of language and we need to live with that, a mere trifle in comparison with some of the trials of life.
Thinking back to 2013 makes this an apt thought since my mother’s passing away in March still left me prone to its aftershocks for many months afterwards. It was if a newer and rawer life had begun and I needed to find my own place in it without someone who always had been there up to that point. Making my way through that period was the cause of drawing me out on evening walks in Macclesfield’s Riverside Park and further afield to the hill country near Hayfield, Glossop and Bakewell as well as that between Macclesfield and Buxton.
The Peak District was becoming the setting for quieter moments and a Saturday morning trip to Hope’s train station stayed with that narrative. Another motivation was the idea of improving on a photo of Edale that I had made on the August bank holiday in 2001, with my first-ever SLR (a Canon EOS 300) after a week spent gallivanting around Scotland that took me to Edinburgh, Fort William, Skye, Mallaig, Glenfinnan, Oban and Mull. There also was another hike that started on a rainy September Sunday in Hope before I took to reaching the top of Win Hill and blundering across heather to reach a track that took me towards my final destination of Edale. As ever, there were photos made then too and a chance to better them would have been a bonus too. That was all for there was a trot made on a Saturday in November of either 2004 or 2005 (my memory has grown hazy on this) that saw me up head by Grindsbrook Clough, round the edge of Kinder Scout and then down to Edale again via the Pennine Way.
For my June 2013 walk, I ended up both assembling those and varying the result too. Instead of a damp Hope station, I got a sun-blessed one and, aside from periods where clouds got in the way as they always can do, that was the weather theme for the day. Once I had passed Aston, it was sweaty work on the way up to Win Hill via Top Plantation before I followed a handy concessionary and loping track down from it in preference to the blundering on that Sunday of improving weather over a decade ago. Not only were there views towards Lose Hill and the Great Ridge, but Ladybower Reservoir was there to be surveyed too.
My way towards Kinder Scout took me over Thornhill Brink and Hope Brink before I found the line of an old Roman road, one of a few that go through the area. The one I met appeared to be a favourite for groups of young people undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award, or at least that’s how it looked to me. There were other walkers too and more were out on mountain bikes and the weather had lured us all out of doors.
All of those were left after me for an informal path through access land that took me up Crookstone Hill onto Crookstone Out Moor, part of Kinder Scout. As I followed the southern edge of that, the line of the Great Ridge rolled by me as did named sections and outcrops. Ringing Roger was among the more well known of those that I passed, but it appears that every twist and turn of that edge gets a name, with ones like Upper Tor, Nether Tor, Upper Moor, Rowland Cote Moor and Golden Clough all appearing on an OS map.
They were all passed before I reached the top of Grindsbrook Clough. Though I had come up that way once before, I didn’t fancy how steep the initial descent appeared, so another course was taken, one that even involved an ascent: Grindslow Knoll. Using my right to roam, I went for as gentle a line off it as I could though there was a final sting in the tail as I ventured onto a concessionary path that dropped onto a stretch of the Pennine Way on the final approach to Edale. Though my surroundings were alluring, the prospect of a nearing train spurred me onto the train station where I gained some moments to look towards Mam Tor from a platform with more folk than you’d expect for the location. Clearly, others were inspired by the weather to go exploring too, though there was so much space for all of us that we hardly got in each other’s way and I gained my own much-needed stretches of quite solace. That and the photos that were made had become enough to make the journey home a contented one.
Outbound train journey to Hope with a change at Manchester Piccadilly and a truncated reverse of the same, from Edale.
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