The White Peak Way

4th - 11th July 2017

Walk: The White Peak Way.
Day 1: Buxton, Staden, Cow Dale, King Sterndale, Deep Dale, Chee Dale, Wormhill, Peter Dale, Hay Dale, Dam Dale, Peak Forest, Oxhow Rake, Cave Dale, Castleton. 15.5 miles. (Part of the Midshires Way, Limestone Way and the Pennine Bridleway)
Day 2: Peak, Speedwell, Treak Cliff and Blue John Caverns, Winnats Head Farm, Mam Tor, Hollins Cross, Back Tor, Lose Hill, Townhead Bridge, Twitchill Farm, Win Hill, Thornhill, Shatton, Stepping Stones, Hathersage. 13 miles.
Day 3: Leadmill Bridge, Grindleford, Frogatt Edge, Curbar Edge, Baslow Edge, Baslow, Chatsworth Park, Edensor, Calton Pastures, Bakewell. 14 miles.
Day 4: Coombs Road and Farm, Rowsley, Congreave, Stanton in the Peak, Stanton Moor, Birchover, Robin Hood’s Stride,  Youlgreave. 11.75 miles. (Part of the Limestone Way)
Day 5: Gratton Dale, Mouldridge Grange, High Peak Trail, Biggin, Biggin Dale, Milldale. 14.2 miles.
Day 6: Dovedale, Ilam, Rushley, Throwley Hall, Beeston Tor Farm, Wetton Mill, Gateham Grange, Narrow Dale, Beresford Dale, Reynard’s Lane, Hartington. 16.2 miles. (Part of the Manifold Trail and Hamps Way)
Day 7: Pilsbury, Crowdecote, Earl Sterndale, Brierlow Bar, Brierlow Dale, King Sterndale. 8.2 miles.
Start Point: Buxton, Derbyshire    
Distance: 93 miles Time Taken: 7 walking days
Weather: Generally warm, sunny and dry. Apart from a wet first morning and last day. Excellent visibility.
Comments: As in previous walks we booked through Contours. The White Peak Trail, although a long established route, is not waymarked, nor is it marked on OS maps. A Cicerone Guide written by Robert Haslam, was published in 1990, but is  now out of print. Contours provided us with photocopies and we also had a secondhand copy. As originally envisaged, The White Peak Way was a route linking youth hostels. Sadly some of those have gone. Contours found us accommodation in B and Bs and pubs and it was of a very high standard. We booked a rest day after day 3 in Bakewell.
The walking was generally good and perhaps the most spectacular stages were on Days 2 and 3 when we travelled from Mam Tor to Win Hill and then walked the Edges to Baslow.
The limestone dales are much narrower than those in Yorkshire and in wet conditions with stones and tree roots can be very slippery and slow. Deep Dale and Chee Dale were certainly difficult in that respect on Day 1.
Navigation over the large expanse of Calton Pastures on Day 3 was a trial, but the only time we missed a turning was in the Manifold Valley when we “bypassed” Wetton and added a couple of miles to our day.
Both Christine and Pat completed the walk, despite Christine pitching herself off stepping stones into the river Derwent near Hathersage. Many thanks to the staff of the Scotsman’s Pack in Hathersage who washed and dried her clothes over night. John pulled out of the walk after 2 enjoyable days with knee problems but had a great time as Sherpa for the rest of the week!

Chee Dale looking deceptively benign

Descending Cave Dale into Castleton with Peveril Castle up on the left

At the start of the ridge walk that would take us to Lose Hill

At the view finder on Lose Hill

Towards the end of what was the hardest climb of the week up Win Hill

Christine recovering after her dip in the Derwent

Looking north off Froggatt Edge. The view was well worth the climb!

The deer were in need of shade in Chatsworth Park

The Nine Ladies Stone circle was passed as we crossed Stanton Moor

Stile, but no wall or fence, in the middle of a field on the approach to Youlgreave

Something stuck in the boot. Troughs of Derbyshire

Vast skyscapes were a feature of the walk. This one was from the High Peak Trail,
overlooking Pike Hall

This was a puzzle. This path at Milldale (Not on our route) did not go along the valley by the River Dove, but instead went uphill!

Beautiful Dovedale as seen on a Monday. It would have been a lot busier on the weekend

At Ilam we joined the River Manifold

Near Narrow Dale we found this vehicle in need of a bit of tlc

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The last day was wet but the views were atmospheric

How else could the Lancashire Cake to Cakers celebrate

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