I try to balance three driving forces in my life: writing, work (the “day job that pays the bills” kind), and the outdoors. Unfortunately, 2014 has been unbalanced so far, with the day job gobbling up far too much of my time. I’ve tried my best to keep writing, but my precious moments in the mountains have been severely curtailed. Since my aborted January trip to the Balmoral area I haven’t had time to organise another trip to the mountains.
This week my partner Hannah and I decided to head to the Peak District to work on getting the balance right.
Out of all the mountainous areas of the British Isles, the Peak is the one closest to where I live — and yet the one I have visited the least. My only other visit to date was all the way back in 2007, when I attended a navigation course on Kinder Scout with the UEA Fell Club. It was a brief trip but I have fond memories of drinking in the Old Nag’s Head (which I tend to think of as the English version of the Clachaig) and challenging compass work on the Kinder plateau.
|A snap from the October 2007 trip|
|The Edale camping experience|
We began by walking up the grassy slopes SE of Backtor Farm. This is a lovely walk, made special by its relatively unfrequented nature and the beauty of the scenery both distant and close at hand. We reached the ridge itself after a stroll of about forty five minutes.
|Views revealed on the ascent|
|The scenic corrie beneath Back Tor|
We nipped up Back Tor for the view from the top before striding the long whaleback form of the ridge towards Mam Tor.
Mam Tor is the highlight of the Great Ridge and has been used as an ancient settlement, hill fort, and more recently as a quarry. We reached the summit easily enough and spent a little while on the summit, taking in the views and watching the paragliders sailing overhead.
|On the summit of Mam Tor with three of my favourite people:
James Roddie, Nicole Dunn, and Hannah Smelt
I’ve been hillwalking and climbing for a decade now. I’ve come to realise that the less frequently I get the chance to stand on the summit of a mountain, the more precious each moment becomes.
|Getting bogged down on the descent|