Dec 28 2011

Walk 39: Walking in a Win-ter Wonderland

Overlooking Ladybower Reservoir

route: Win Hill from Hope
28th december 2011
distance: 4.5 miles
ascent: 1,060 feet
time: 2 hrs 40 mins
walkers: Dave, leanne, roger, Sandra & Simon

It had been decided in late November that we would have a walk over Christmas to blow away a few cobwebs, and try to walk off a bit of turkey before the new year detox, but now the day was here and all I wanted to do was stay in bed. Obviously that would have been followed with a late morning wake up before moving on to more leftover food and nibbles washed down with a few lagers, so deep down I knew it was the right thing to be up and out. In fact it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to get up and once in the car the banter soon makes it all worthwhile. We arrived in Hope just over an hour later and found Roger all ready to go. The rest of us were soon wrapped up and we headed off out of the village along the A6187 towards the station.

We soon turned left off the main road and followed a smaller lane for a short distance until we walked under the rail bridge and found our footpath off to the right. We entered the field and it felt like our walk began from this point as we now felt like we had left civilisation behind, if only for a few hours. The ground was soggy under foot and with both myself and Wu Tang requiring new boots we had to be careful not to end up flat on the deck. We had no such problems though and apart from Wu Tang having to nip behind a hedgerow to powder her nose, we managed to keep up with those with superior grip on their footwear. To our left we could see the top of Win Hill poking up above all else as we eased our way into the first walk in over a month.

The next three quarters of a mile were stop start as the initial farm track was replaced by more fields and small ones at that.

No sooner had we crossed a ladder stile or passed through a gate than we came across another one which doesn’t really allow you to get into any rhythm. It was also causing me a little pain as my back was playing up a little, in fact it had done so when I walked down the stairs that morning so I knew it wasn’t going to be plain sailing today. I think the reason for that was the Christmas over indulgence and the extra few pounds that comes along with it. I had noticed that as I lost a little weight earlier in the year the problem went away so I was pretty sure that was the reason and because of this I knew it was self inflicted I plodded on with the occasion whinge to Leanne and a brief moan at Roger. We reached a crossroads of paths and I was pleased for the break as we discussed our next move.

Our intended route would take us down to Yorkshire Bridge where we would begin the ascent to Win Hill, but as we had already gained some height it seemed silly to surrender that and I know this was a thought that L’Autobus shared.

This break seemed like a perfect opportunity to crack out the Christmas chocolates as we pondered our route. Both paths were extremely wet and muddy and would need a lot of care to stay upright but again it was felt that descending may prove more difficult. I stayed quiet but I was hoping the decision would be to go directly towards Win Hill. My back had eased as we rested but I was happy not to add extra climbing to the walk if we didn’t have to and with Wu Tang and Ramblo involved in the decision making I was fairly confident of things going my way. Sure enough it was decided that it seemed silly to drop down to Yorkshire Bridge only to climb steeply when we could continue the climb from our current location so off we went.

The path was very muddy and slippery and L’Autobus were making sure they took care as they helped each other along.

The initial part of the path was successfully negotiated but a little further up I heard some commotion behind me and turned to find Ramblo had lost her footing and ended up behind a bush. Fortunately no harm was done and she was pulled to her feet to dust herself down.

Eventually the mud was replaced by grass and our pace increased once again. The slow speed of the climb and cancelled out any lack of fitness over the festive period, so we were all feeling good as we reached a wooden gate and turned left to follow the wall for a short time, before we turned right and the path levelled out as we headed for the plantation ahead.

Once amongst the trees we turned left to head up the path towards Win Hill. The path was clear and we kept a reasonable pace to stop a few other walkers behind us from closing the gap. After a short while the tree line ended and once again we were under clear blue skies.

We reconvened by a couple of wooden posts in the ground before the final little push up some convenient stone steps up to the trig point.

As we neared the top it became apparent that it was going to feel more than a little windy as we reached the little ridge that leads to the trig. It was certainly windy but it wasn’t cold and the views were worth it as we had a 360 degree view of the surrounding area.

We only spent 10 minutes or so at the top due to the wind (and the fact we didn’t bring any sarnies) but we managed to have a good look round and take some pictures. Not only that we had time to dish out the Celebrations once again and Ramblo even whipped out her new hip flask she received as a pressie and proceeded to offer its contents. Fortunately for me nobody else likes sherry so we could split it between the two of us. With my cockles warmed we made our way down from the very top and followed the footpath in a westerly direction towards Lose Hill. To the left of that was Mam Tor which is one peak we have planned in for the not too distant future so it was nice to see it in person.

After a short distance we reached the footpath back to Hope and joined it as it veered left and began to descend with the village in sight ahead. I turned to look back and caught my last close up glimpse of Win Hill before it disappeared behind the hill we were descending. My back had warmed up a little and was feeling a little easier or it may have been helped by the fact we were now going downhill, either way I was more comfortable than before. At the next stile myself and Leanne waited for the others before we carried on as the path became steeper without ever becoming too difficult.

Twitchill Farm could clearly be seen below us as we continued to drop down taking care at times not to slip on the loose under foot conditions. Away to our right, we got a closer look at Lose Hill which looked impressive although with it not being on our Peak District list it won’t be the top of our priority list. Mam Tor on the other hand could also be seen and looked impressive so I decided we would be back to walk that soon. The last few yards to Twitchill Farm were very slippery and I helped Wu Tang reach the gate that was being held open by Roger. Through the gate we reached a cottage and numerous cats that seemed to keep the place free of unwanted guests.

One was soaking up the morning sun on a table whilst others sat in various other spots to enjoy the winter warmth. I counted 6 in total and all were black and white. We picked up a leaflet advertising the cottage which was available to rent and we headed off discussing a potential stop over combined with a few walks in the local area. My mind turned to route planning and I was already looking forward to getting the laptop on to plan some routes as we reached a pile of logs that had been cut down and piled up ready for transportation.

We walked between the logs and followed the track as it took us under the railway bridge and out onto a little road. We could follow this into Hope or take the footpath opposite which is what we did. It made no difference really as within 5 minutes we were walking into Hope and our walk was over.

We finished our day as always with a visit to the pub and spent the next hour or so sat next to a log fire as we discussed what we had been up to over Christmas. In all honesty I had enjoyed the festivities but it was nice to get back out onto the fells and get a few miles in the legs. I would certainly need a few more of those miles to get rid of the excess baggage I had acquired over the few previous days, if only to make things easier on my back. I intended to leave that for the new year though, I had another three days of partying first!

Sir Edmund


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