Dean has fancied visiting this area for years mainly to walk Mam Tor. The nearest site is Castleton CC site which is open all year so we booked in for four nights, then managed to extend to five thanks to the kind wardens here.
Our journey from Chatsworth was only half an hour so we got here bang on 12 noon and managed to get a nice pitch. The wardens here were lovely and welcoming, giving us plenty of advice about the area when we arrived. Having got set up we walked into the village of Castleton about a five minute walk from site, where there is an abundance of pubs, restaurants and tea rooms. There are three caverns here that you can explore: Peak, Blue John and Speedwell along with the ruins of Peveril Castle, an English Heritage property.
We discovered a lovely pub called the Cheshire Cheese Inn, a freehouse in Castleton that we have frequented twice now – the first time being the evening we arrived, the second after our walk on the 27th to Mam Tor. It has a really welcoming feel to it, with a big sign outside saying that muddy boots are welcome. They also serve food and we ate in there after our walk and had a jacket potato for the cost of £4 odd. Lovely fresh salad was served with it along with homemade coleslaw – delicious.
Well behaved dogs are also welcome, a definite positive for our four legged campers out there!
If you walk out the site in the opposite direction, within a mile you come to the village of Hope. This is also a lovely little village that has a post office, a small shop, butchers, grocers, and a gem of a cafe called The Woodbine. It looks nothing from the outside but when you go in, there is a roaring open fire and a friendly welcome awaits you. Their flapjack is to die for too!
Well, as said before our main aim coming here was to walk Mam Tor or as it is called around here, The Shivering Mountain. The sun was shining when we set off albeit sub-zero temperatures. Snow was still nestling in crevices along the way, but the trickiest part of it was the grass. It was so slippery in places that we both nearly went over a couple of times. I did go over but managed to break my fall with my hand (now got a stinky, muddy glove) but Dean stayed upright all the way.
Dean was armed with his GPS and a screenshot of our OS map on the Ipad. Normally we’d take a map, compass etc. but Dean knew we’d be ok without so off we went. The ascent wasn’t too bad even though we’re a bit out of practice, then the walk along the ridge was easy as the National Trust has laid paving slabs along the top. This was a necessity as due to the number of visitors they get, the hill was starting to erode and never had a chance to repair itself.
We were blessed with glorious views all the way along the ridge, with the haze being burnt off by the sun ("What’s that?” I hear you cry) and paragliders taking off in the distance. The wind was biting cold though so you didn’t want to stop for long otherwise you’d freeze. We stopped for a coffee break at the summit and managed to shelter from the wind so it wasn’t too cold to start with.
On the way down you come across the old A road that was closed in the late 70s due to subsidence, but you can still see the route it would have taken. As we came back through the village we called in at the pub and finished off a lovely day in a lovely setting.