Castleton-Winnat’s Pass-Mam Tor-Back Tor-Castleton

Walking with; Rob and Helen
A perfect Sunday walk in the sunshine with a couple of short climbs rewarded with disproportionately spectacular views of the Hope and Edale valleys and the Kinder Plateau. We started out of Castleton, passing the path to “The Devil’s Arse” cavern and following the gentle contours along the frosty hillside to the foot of Winnat’s Pass. The original name means “Wind Gates” and the pass was once the gated entry to the fortified Medieval village of Castleton. It was too early in the year for the wild flowers that grow on the pass so it was time to get on with the muddy, icy slog up the hill which opened out to beautiful frost rimed views in all directions.
Mam Tor, once an Iron Age hill fort with 360 degree views and still visible earthen ramparts, is always a popular spot with easily accessible views of the Peak District all around. It was a beautiful place for a windswept sandwich and coffee enhanced by the views of hang gliders throwing themselves of Mam Tor itself and nearby Rushup Edge. Kinder was bathed in sunshine and the views down into the Edale Valley promised great things for another day. Refreshed by coffee we headed on along the ridge, avoiding Kamikaze mountain bikers before climbing Back Tor (aiming for the stark silhouette of a solitary bare branched tree) for a last look down at Edale before heading through the small forestry plantation and descending past Lose Hill farm back into the Hope Valley. We followed the banks of a small beck, through muddy fields of cows, before emerging back into Castleton and heading to the excellent (if eccentric) Dolly’s Hidden Tea Room for a well deserved cream tea!
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