A Win hill winter wonderland

by backpackingbongos

The plan to stick to the main roads paid off and I got to Hathersage without any problems.  However it got rather tricky when I decided to pay Outside a visit, I needed some new gaiters and fancied a fry-up before heading into the hills.  In their wisdom they had left their car park open without attempting to clear any of the snow that had accumulated.  The result being that I needed to be pushed into a space after losing all traction.  My car is totally hopeless in snow and ice.  As it turned out the fry up was rather nice and the gaiters out of stock.

15.2 Kilometres with 570 metres ascent

Win hill

I left the car at the side of the road near the Yorkshire Bridge Inn, assuming there were no yellow lines buried under the snow.  As we crossed the Ladybower dam it was good to hear the snow squeak under my feet.  Although there had been snow on the ground for a couple of weeks in Nottingham, it’s just not the same when in a city.  Here it was much fluffier and gave that satisfying sound when walked on.

Usually when I climb Win hill I go straight up the lung busting Parkin Clough.  However I fancied a gentler ascent so we followed the shore of the reservoir for a while before taking a nice easy signed footpath.  It was truly magical walking through the snow covered woods.

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As we approached the edge of the moor it started snowing, curtains of white hiding the surrounding landscape for a while.  Out of the shelter of the trees the wind nipped at exposed skin, yet at the same time I was sweating due to the exertion.  Reuben however was as happy as a dog in snow.  He was bouncing around tail wagging, bounding through the deepest drifts.

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The rocky summit of Win hill was quickly reached and I stood for a while to soak in the view.  Much of the surrounding landscape was hidden under a blanket of low cloud.  However Win Hill gives a good impression of height out of proportion to its small stature, especially with the reservoirs far below.  It was midday and I measured an air temperature of -3C with a wind chill of -10C, cold enough not to want to hang around too long.

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The summit of Win hill is a small rocky cone at the end of a long ridge that leads to the eastern slopes of Kinder Scout.  The mixture of snow and rock gave an impression of a much bigger hill after we descended to the north.

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Thankfully the stretch of moorland towards Hope cross was easy going as a vehicle had recently driven and consolidated the snow.  With the bales of hay dotted around I reckon it must have been a farmer out to feed the sheep.  It was a good hands in pocket sort of yomp whilst Reuben bounded around.  Even though visibility was poor I enjoyed occasional views down into both the Hope and Edale valleys.

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Crab sandwiches and a flask of coffee was enjoyed with a dry stone wall and a belt of trees providing shelter from the wind.  The crab sandwiches grabbed Reubens attention and he watched me eat with rapt concentration.

I had thought about ascending Crookstone Knoll as it is a mighty fine view-point.  However it was hidden from view so we took the bridleway through the forest to Haggwater bridge and then the Snake pass.  Crossing the busy road another bridleway took us steeply onto the ridge above via Hagg farm.

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I have to admit that I was starting to tire, walking though snow being more difficult than I remembered.  The next section along the bridleway at the edge of the forest was particularly tough with no footprints to follow.  It was hard to tell if the snow was an inch deep or up to my knee.  Occasionally there would be a hidden boggy patch to add to the unpredictability of it all.

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The fields of Bridge-end pasture felt like tundra as I slowly plodded onwards, jealous of Reuben’s four pawed drive.  He had no intention of slowing down.  The twin topped summit of Crook hill came into view, almost a mirror image of Win hill across the valley.  It gives a superb viewpoint and is very neglected in comparison to its much more famous twin.

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However as I got to its base I had lost the enthusiasm for the short climb to the top.  It was beginning to get dark and I was keen to get off the hill before being fully enveloped by the gloaming.  A huge flock of sheep were gathered around piles of hay and they all turned round to watch Reuben and myself pass.  As a group they all crept a bit closer before turning tail and running away.  This was repeated a couple of times.

We passed Crookhill farm (which incidentally occupies a cracking location) to walk through fields down to the viaduct over the Ladybower reservoir.  The road walk back to the car was a right old slog on deep slush filled pavements.  Probably good exercise but as much fun as wading through treacle.

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22 Comments to “A Win hill winter wonderland”

  1. Nice! Was out Thursday and Saturday…Could not believe that the upper part of Dr Gate path and the PW from Snake Pass to Kinder were still untouched by human activity, on a saturday afternoon…Mind, it was a better day for skiing than walking…

    • I bet it was tough breaking trail Yuri? It would have been great to have had some skis with me (and know how to use them). I did think about getting in my survival bag with Reuben and sledging down some hills!

      • Exhausting and exhilirating (pics on my FB page btw, in the Various Jan 13 folder and also Edale-Glossop Jan 13 from my thursday outing). I saw ski tracks going up Bleaklow, I envied that man…Never been so tired after a 6/7 miles with one moderate ascent…Glad I did it mind, walking towards Kinder from the pass in those circumstances was special.

  2. Nice route that and I think you probably got the best of the snow mid-week. By Sunday it was getting very wet and slushy in places. And of course there’s hardly any left now!
    Was that the first veggie breakfast you’d had at Outside, or have you been a long time fan of them? It’s one of our occasional treats that – breakfast in Outside, followed by a good walk. They also do good cakes for after walks 🙂

    • The snow here pretty much vanished overnight so I am glad that I got out when I did. It’s the first time I have gone for breakfast at Outside, set me up for the rest of the day!

  3. I’m feeling pretty shattered after two weekends of snowy walking, breaking trail in deep powdery snow on Friday was exhausting, then deep slushy snow drifts on Saturday even worse. Hopefully I’ve improved my fitness though! Enjoyed seeing your Win Hill photos. I had to miss out on a walk there at the end of a trip to the Peak District in October, we’d gone walking it pretty bad weather on Bleaklow and the illness I’d been suffering from fully took hold, so we had to abandon the walk to head to the walk in centre, when we got back to our accommodation in Bamford my Brother took my 8 year old for a late afternoon hike up there, she loved walking with her Uncle and getting a one up on me getting to the top whilst I was stuck in bed!

    • It’s definitely hard work walking in deep snow Ruth. Sorry to hear that you had to abandon your walk and go the the walk in centre.

  4. Try Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiters, get em online for about £40, money well spent

    • I had a look at them whilst at Outside Simon. I thought that they were a bit stiff and heavy for me though, I was after the outdoor research verglas gaiters, which are still bombproof but less like a suit of armour!

  5. Don’t know about veggie breakfasts but the best meaty one in the Hope Valley (IMHO) is from the Woodbine in Hope. Your Win Hill pics look pretty desperate! Snow shoes might have been good for those conditions.

    • Hi Tony. I have to admit that I don’t often stop in Hope, I should have a look around when I next pass through. I really enjoyed the wintry conditions on the hills that day! Snow shoes would have been good, especially around the Crook fell area where no one had broken trail.

  6. Looks like an awesome day out, if not hard work! Not often that Win Hill is not a crowded summit, so worth braving the cold for that alone!

    • An enjoyable day thanks. I had the Wednesday off work so I could not let the opportunity pass to head for one of the more popular hills. Well worth getting out whilst the snow was still on the ground.

  7. Looks like you had a good day, I’m nicely envious.

    The path you took up Win Hill seems similar to the one I took not so long ago.

  8. A good day shot in winter monochrome, it’s a long time since I experienced those.
    Parkin Clough is just as steep now I’ll bet, even harder in snow!.

    • I love those sort of conditions Geoff, although I was glad to be able to drive home afterwards and spend the night in a warm house. It would have been cold camping in that weather.

  9. Very nice, as you say a winter wonderland. Very jealous as sadly I have had the dreaded Manflu so have missed out on a decent trip out in the snowy hills. Hopefully there will still some lingering around in a couple of weeks.

  10. Can’t beat walking in snow. As someone who does own skis it can be easier but it’s still bloody hard work especially taking the damn things on and off all the time crossing stiles and fields
    Win Hill is quality hill, one of my favourites. Always reminds me of a classic quote from a gormless mate a few years back: “That’s Win Hill over there, it’s the one you can’t see”!
    I was up on Crook Hill in October in warm Autumn sunshine, amazing how different it looks in snow

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