Posts tagged ‘Win Hill’

January 28, 2013

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.





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.



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.






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.


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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


February 6, 2011

Win hill and Crookstone Knoll from Yorkshire bridge

by backpackingbongos

The twisty turny road out of Chesterfield deposited us onto the moors covered by a thick blanket of cloud.  This did not deter the Audi driver who had been trying to climb into my boot for a few miles doing a blind overtaking manoeuvre and vanishing into the murk.  Reaching Hathersage I could not resist the temptation to pull over and visit Outside for a quick fondle of technical fabrics.  I need some new waterproof trousers so that was my excuse.  Disappointingly the shop seemed to only cater for those on Himalayan expeditions on this visit.  I did however manage to get my grubby mitts on a pair of Microspikes.  If there is no snow or ice for the remainder of the winter you now know why!

Being a Monday I managed to squeeze the Bongo into a space next to the bridge over the River Derwent, which was nice.

11 miles with 780 metres ascent

On the journey up I thought that there was strong smell of dog food coming from the back.  It turned out that Reuben had given me the gift of a pile of doggie sick on the back seat.  To give him credit he did attempt to eat some of it!

A word of warning for those planning on climbing Win hill from this direction, the path up Parkin Clough is steep.  Literally a minute after leaving the van and the ground turned vertical.  Luckily I had Reuben to tow me on his race for the summit.  The good thing about steep climbs is that they get you high quickly.  Within half an hour we were approaching the final rocky cone covered by a thin mist, a short walk along its crest brought us to the trig point.

The wide moorland ridge that leads eventually to Hope Cross is one of those hands in pockets, enjoy the views type of walk.  To the west the hills were covered by large banks of cloud and mist.  Only the very top of Mam Tor was poking out into the pale blue sky.

The weather for late January was as close to perfect as you can get.  By now I was stripped down to my base layer and had my sleeves rolled up.  For the first time in months I could actually feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.  There was not even a hint of a breeze.  It has made me start to pine for the long warm days of spring and summer.

From this side of the valley Lose hill gives the profile of a perfect pyramid, a small mountain among the rolling high moors.

Banks of mist continued to ebb and flow over the summit of Kinder Scout before finally the sun won its battle and the sky finally cleared.  Crookstone Knoll looked inviting on the horizon and Rueben was enjoying the smells of the hills, so I decided it would be good to stand on its rocky prow.

A good path leaves the well-worn Roman road and heads across the grassy moorland to two solitary trees standing guard over a lone signpost.  These trees to me emphasised the wild beauty of the landscape that I was in.

With Reuben once again employed to tow me up the final steep slopes we were soon on the outcrop of rock that juts into the Woodlands valley far below.  The photo below does not show it very well but banks of cloud were lapping against Fairbrook Naze with tendrils extending across the western Bleaklow plateau.  A wild scene with only the drone of traffic drifting up from the Snake pass to spoil things.

We were directly opposite what I consider to be the best valley in the whole of the Peaks, Alport Dale.  Alport Castle one of its greatest assets was sadly lacking from our view, lost in the shadows and haze.

I assumed that the walk down to Upper Ashop would be trackless until the shooting cabin was reached.  I was pleased to find a nicely graded grassy track that took me down to the cabin with ease.  The cloud was still ebbing and flowing over the summit of the Snake Pass.

Sadly the cabin was locked and firmly shuttered, it is in a great location being directly opposite the Alport valley.  I had now dropped out of the sun and into the shadow of the hills.  The drop in temperature was remarkable, from early spring back to winter in minutes.  My breath was rising in the cold still air.

Passing Rowlee bridge I followed a strange leat built on what appeared to be a disused railway track.  With no livestock or people around I tried an experiment that I very quickly regretted.  What would Reuben be like if he was let off the lead?  I unclipped it and whoosh he was off like a greyhound disappearing into the distance.  My heart sunk, he had been found as a stray, maybe buggering off is his thing?  After calling his name for a while he suddenly came back round the corner at astonishing speed a huge grin on his face, leaping a stream with ease.  I let him run up and down like a loon a couple more times before clipping the lead back onto his harness.  He does not have the ability to run and listen at the same time.  It will be lead time for him until we manage to get booked on some doggie command training!

The broadleaf woods just before Hagwater bridge are a magical place and I decided it would be a good spot in which to stop and make a brew.  I had brought my new wood burning kettle with me, the mKettle.  I gathered wood and sat there for a while taking in the aroma of wood smoke whilst I waited for the water to boil.  A clever little product and one I will be reviewing in the next week or so.

The chill in the air was getting to the dog so we set off into what now was twilight along the track that leads to Ladybower reservoir.  The river Ashop was frozen here, deep in the shadows along with the first few hundred metres of the reservoir.  In the gathering darkness we stomped together along the track getting the miles in.

The darkness was total by the time we reached the van.