Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Walk in the Peaks

Sunday was a perfect autumn day and I spent it walking in the Peak District. On my way over in glorious sunshine I rounded a bend and instead of seeing the whole of the Hope Valley stretched out in front of me I saw this mystical picture wih the tops of the hills rising through the white mist.

We started by tracing the route of a Roman road (completely invisible now ) over the fields towards the remains of the Roman fort of Navio at Brough. Just before arriving at the fort we walked by this peaceful scene.

Clicking on this will show you the information about the fort. It was built only 30 years after the Romans invaded Britain and it's generally thought that it was there to oversee the workings of the rich lead mines in the area.

Current members of the Cohors Primae Aquitanorum who are stationed at Navio Fort:)

The Praetor (commandant) guarding the entrance to the strong room in the Praetorium (headquarters building). This is the only part of the fort still visible above ground and below were found the steps leading down to the strong room. This is where the cash to pay the soldiers would be kept along with the insignia of the garrison.

Looking across the still hazy Hope Valley towards Win Hill which has rather a nice legend about how it and Lose Hill further along the valley, acquired their names. In 626 a battle was fought between King Edward of Northumbria whose troops were camped on one of the hills and King Cuicholm of Wessex who was camped on the other. Knowing that the Wessex army was much larger than his own, King Edward ordered his troops to build a stone wall around the summit of their hill. The battle began and both armies advanced but the superior numbers of Wessex soon drove Edward's army into retreat back up their hill. As the Wessex men charged after them they were crushed to death by the boulders of the wall being heaved down on them by Edward's men. Ever since Edward's hill has been called Win Hill and Cuicholm's has been Lose Hill. And come to think of it, perhaps 'nice' is not quite the word to describe the legend :)

It was still very hazy when I took this photo of Mam Tor also known as The Mother Mountain and The Shivering Mountain. I climbed this the previous week on a damp, foggy day so the wonderful views from the Iron Age hillfort at the top were hidden. Just as well since I forgot to put a memory card in my camera so got no photos at all of that outing! Clicking on this will give you a better idea of how it really looks.

Two little ponies (Shetlands?) standing guard over a stile that leads to the last of the flat parts of the walk. We stopped here to eat our lunch. I always think that sandwiches taste so much better in the open air:) A short rest then the climb up Back Tor comes next!

Using the excuse of taking some photos as a way of having a breather on the way up - the Hope Valley is below. This where the Kendal Mint Cake comes out, the extra boost of energy is a real lifesaver,

At the top of Back Tor thank goodness and looking down into the Edale Valley on the other side.

Another view down into Edale.

Looking along the ridge to Lose Hill which is where we are headed next. This is a very ancient trackway going back to prehistoric times and used as a drovers road until comparatively recent times.

On top of Losehill looking towards Winhill which is the tiny little peak in the distance - more clicking required here.

The trig point on Losehill just to prove I was really here:)

Walking back down into Hope via the old hollow lane called Jaggers Way, jagger was an old name for a pedlar or hawker. They would have used the old drovers roads to travel from one place to another. Hollow lanes are created partly by erosion and partly by the constant passage of people and animals over many centuries. Imagine the pack horse trains or the lonely peddlar trudging down this path and finally nearing a place to rest and spend a night after crossing the exposed ridge from Mam Tor in driving rain, or ice or snow.............

........and here it is at last, the warmth of a blazing fire, a glass of ale and a hot meal. Inns with the name of The Cheshire Cheese are always signs of an old drovers road as the drovers coming over from Cheshire often paid their way with one of the wonderful crumbly Cheshire cheeses that come from my home county. The Ring O'Bells is another inn sign denoting the route of a drover's way, the lead horse would wear bells on its harness to warn people of their approach. I had a little further to go before I could take off my pack and sit down but we had a wonderful day's walking in pretty much perfect conditions and I enjoyed it enormously - especially once I made it up to the top of Back Tor!.


Sheila said...

I can imagine the sweet air up there, and the views are wonderful.
I love that you are so 'up' on all the history, it makes our virtual walk even more interesting.
Once again Rowan, thank you for taking us along.

smilnsigh said...

Simply beautiful! And the history is wonderful too. Thank you so much for taking us along.

That first photo.... I could almost see... instead of a valley/hills in mist... Avelon!


Leanne said...

what a wonderful day Out Rowan, fanatastic scenery and views, and I love the drovers lane!

leanne x

Remiman said...

What a perfect way to pass a beautiful autumn day! Even trudging up a mountain brings a satisfaction and sense of accomplishment to accompany the invigoration that comes from absorbing the wonders of nature.

Ragged Roses said...

What a beautiful walk Rowan. Sunday was perfect for walking, more like spring than Autumn. You live near some spectacular countryside.
Ki mx

Allotment Lady said...

Perfect - absolutely perfect - just the type of walk I enjoy most.

Brought back memories of doing something very similar in winter in Yorkshire last year.

peppylady said...

The rolling hills sort of reminds me of an area which we call the "Palouse" which is in the North West part of the united states

Julie Marie said...

Dear Rowan,

I've said it again but I'll say it before. I do so enjoy going along with you on your walks. The walks in your countryside are so much more interesting than ours. We may see a pheasant or rabbit, but that's about it!


Julie Marie said...

I MEANT, I've said it before but I'll say it again. Oof. I need more caffeine.


Paula said...

Oh my goodness! Your photos and commentary make me want to buy an airline ticket and start packing! I love walking in your country! Thank you for sharing all of this!

Rosie said...

What a wonderful walk. I'd heard of Win Hill and Lose Hill but never thought about the story behind their names or even associated the names with winning and losing a battle. You've made me want to visit and explore the area especially the Roman fort of Navio.

Anonymous said...

Breathtaking photos, Rowan! You live in a beautiful part of the world ~ thank you for sharing it. ~ hugs, Lynda ♥

meggie said...

Thankyou so much for sharing this with us all! Wonderful pics, & wonderful commentary.

Val said...

An excellent post, loved the photos of the cows!! What an interesting part of the world, Mam Tor always seems so bleak though. Win and Lose Hills - I would never have thought of that!!

miss*R said...

Rowan, this is simply beautiful. thankyou. I cannot wait to absorb scenes like this when i come over... such history...

Endment said...

Refreshing walk - thank you again
Love the fog

sheoflittlebrain said...

Another fascinating post, Rowan..
Thank you:)

Brenda said...

I love the Peak District, especially in the Autumn. The mist hanging in the valley like that is breathtaking... and it makes me very melancholy for home!! I love nothing better than a good hike in the hills. In the days before "marry where you like" my husband and I jumped through hoops to get married in Wythburn Church on the banks of Thirlmere in The Lake District because we love the area so much! My mum made our wedding cake and wasn't the slightest bit amused when I asked if we could some kind of "hiking walkers" cake topper!! Needless to say, we didn't get it!

Alchamillamolly said...

Thank you for answering my query in your blog - I have made a note of what you said in my special little book where I put things I need to know for life! I will get there one day - I am determined to

Joy said...

Lovely post and photos, I was in Edale the other week visiting their new visitor centre, and a couple of years ago we had a walk up Mam Tor for our 'works' christmas outing complete with driving hail and snow, but we were revived by a fabulous meal and a roaring fire in one of the pubs in Hope. Thank you for sharing.

Lois Billingham Currie said...

I cant say anothing more than the others have said, I was awed by your post. Here in Canada we have majestic mountain peaks, and plunging valleys, and I am embarrased to say that I have always felt it a little superior to the rolling hills, and sloping valleys of the Uk. Your post changed that for me. You are a great writer.

Shropshire Girl said...

A Wonderful post Rowan, I always enjoy reading the history that goes with your photos too. When you are in one of those lanes you can actually 'feel' the antiquity of it can't you?

PAT said...

Thank you, Rowan, for another wonderful walk!


kate said...

I had great fun this morning accompanying you on your walk. Your descriptions and accompanying photographs make me feel as if I have travelled along with you. That must have been a tiring walk, especially up the Back Tor. Now I know what a Trig Point is too!

Jenny said...

I'm so sorry that it's taken me such a long time to comment on your post. I think it's wonderful that you have so many commenters- what a testament to your writing and photographs! I enjoyed every bit of it and hope to be able to trace Roman roads myself one day. I think my favorite part was at the end- I could almost see myself at the Inn! And of course the breathtaking views- wonderful, as always.