Training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks – with a Derbyshire hike and the Mam Tor ridge

I’ve been wanting to venture further afield of late in my prep for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks (the moors around me are great but variety and all that..) and I was thinking north yorkshire or south lakes or maybe the peak district, which is on my doorstep.

Turns out a new client I’ve been working with is a walker and he recommended the ridge circular (taking in Mam Tor) above Castleton, down in Derbyshire. So that was that, the peak district. I’ve been to the area a few times over the years and really like it – so on Saturday son Joe and I headed that way.

Quick Advert :
I’m training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge which is on 8th September.. rasing money for an excellent rough sleeper outreach / support charity, Simon On The Streets.
If you can, can you spare even £2 to sponsor me? Thanks.

The route we used was the one mentioned here in the Walking Englishman’s blog/site. The route map on the site is a bit loose (as in doesn’t overlay exact path locations), so I loaded the helpfully supplied gpx file into Viewranger and used the phone app on the day rather than rely on the printed map I took as a backup. That isn’t a criticism of the info provided on the site by the way, (lots of great walks on there) but I wanted a more accurate route ‘sense checker’; as some of the paths go through farms and I didn’t want to stray off track too much.

mam tor ridge walk map
map courtesy of

No Brodie on this walk unfortunately. I was a conflicted man – she would have loved the walk but she doesn’t travel too far in cars without getting all gippy. And it was forecast to be a hot, muggy day (which it was indeed, despite the cloud cover for most of it). And she’s slowing down a bit of late and the combo of feeling poorly after the drive and then 5 hours or so in the sun meant, reluctantly, she stayed at home. So it was just Joe and I – but I’ve promised her a long local moors walk this week if time allows.

The start and end of the walk is Hope, just past Castleton, lovely little village.

The whole hike was about four and half hours, with some great views along the way. I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the trip. What you don’t get a sense of so much in the photos is that (being a weekend) Mam Tor itself was pretty busy, lots of families having picnics etc. Which was nice to see but I realised I do prefer more remote jaunts on the whole 🙂

path stone gate posts in Hope
The start of the walk from Hope (on the Edale road junction) – there were a lot of these stone gate posts between Hope and Castleton
Path towards Lose Hill Hall
Joe ahead of me on one of the boarded over (couple of boggy areas) sections on the path towards Lose Hill Hall (I think that’s about the right area)
Calves in Castleton
A herd of curious calves in Castleton.. they weren’t the only crowd, it was a busy saturday in this lovely town. We headed up past Peveril Castle and the start of steep-ish uphill section ..
Start of the Limestone Way in Castleton
Not sure if the Limestone Way starts in Castleton but we took part of it up past Peveril castle and onto the tops.. I like the fact you are walking through / under what was an enormous reef system millions of years ago.
Stile near Rowter Farm Castleton
Joe on a stile near to Rowter Farm, above Castleton
Wire fence posts  near castleton
Three fence posts we spotted on the way to Mam Tor.. may have been an art installation.. probably just a tidy framer though.
Dry Stone wall repairs
Dry Stone wall repairs (heading towards Mam Tor): different stone to the gritstone around Marsden of course but I’m not sure if the construction technique is different?
Walker Approaching Mam Tor
Approaching Mam Tor : the land slippage over on the right started a few thousand years ago but plagued the road below and around it in from the late 1800s right up to the 1970’s when time was called and the road closed.
We walked part of it later in the day on a detour on the way home, it’s pretty sobering seeing how mangled the whole (closed) road is in places.
views from Mam Tor towards Greenlands
views from Mam Tor towards Greenlands / Edale way (according to my map)
Sun god stone inset on Mam Tor
Taken on my phone. (Apparently) a depiction of a Sun God – one of the stone insets on Mam Tor, depicting different aspects of the celtic people who had a hill village / fort there around 1000 BC.
From Mam Tor along the ridge to Lose Hill
From Mam Tor along the ridge to Back Tor and Lose Hill. We sat here eating a sandwich and I imagined the Celts (and later Romans, attracted here by the caves and mines, including lead) patrolling the ridge with its sweeping views across the Hope Valley. Castleton and further away Hope are just off to the right of this shot.
Joe and Mark kelly on Mam Tor
Joe and I on Mam Tor, Hope Valley behind us. I set the camera on delay.. I’ve turned the saturation down a bit and I still look like a beetroot 🙂 – a hot but overcast day.
Sheep near Mam Tor
Someone pushing into one of my shots near Back Tor. Didn’t want to argue with a face like that..
Back Tor ledge Walker
I think (checking the map) that this ledge was pretty much at Back Tor, but a search of Flickr doesn’t show any similar vista. Hmm. if you know this exact spot (along the ridge path towards Lose Hill), please let me know. I like the vista anyway and Joe made me look like I knew what I was doing.

After returning to Hope we had a quick snack break at The Blue Apple cafe. The Bakewell Pudding – not Tart, as was explained nicely to me – was fantastic. And a pot of tea that went on for ages, excellent. I think I had a net calorie gain after that pud 🙂
Then we headed home with a quick detour (I had a geologist in tow) to the Odin Mine, site of an old lead mining / extraction enterprise. Started in Roman times I think but really active in the industrial revolution. It was dark in the wet and slimy cave we entered but we pushed forward to an area that, when illuminated by the flash on my DSLR, was enormous. And a bit spooky.

Odin Mine crushing wheel
The Odin Mine crushing wheel .. taken on my phone. The large metal band set into the ground behind it is pretty impressive

Also a quick marvel at the slumped and buckled old road below Mam Tor (geology cares nothing for civil engineering) and then we drove up through the impressive limestone scenery out of Castleton and the Hope valley.

A great days walking – recommended.

0 thoughts on “Training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks – with a Derbyshire hike and the Mam Tor ridge”

  1. Great trip report, Mark. I’ve done a similar route a couple of times, but starting and finishing at Castleton, returning directly to the start from Lose Hill.

    You did the right thing by Brodie, but it’s going to cost – I would say a moorland walk AND a large bone 🙂

    • I think you are right on the costs front. I took her for an early eve walk at the end of the day yesterday, lovely views from the hill/moors above the house. But she wasn’t buying it, leaving silences for me to fill with promises of a big weekend walk. Guilt is a terrible thing 🙂


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.