The day started at 7AM, as I jerked out of bed and switched off my blaring alarm. Separating myself from my cosy tangle of blankets, I resisted the temptation of curling up for another snooze and instead lumbered over to the bathroom for a cool splash of water. I then went about my morning, getting a few things ready for the walk.
After packing a little rucksack and demolishing a bowl of oats, I stepped out into a crisp, clear morning. The night before, I had realised that my OS map of the peak district didn't actually cover the trainline I was planning to take, and so I headed to a bookshop just off Oxford Road to see if they stocked it. They didn't have it in, but I ordered one for next time. With no proper map, I decided that I wouldn't go on a huge walk, and I'd try to stick to the paths.
The train was packed full of chirpy walkers with big boots and bulging backpacks. A couple sat in front of me, smiling as they lent into each other, bumping their heads together occasionally from the shudders of the train. An excited group of girls sat next to me, jabbering about everything from the mountains to the good looking boss on their work experience, there definitely wasn't a dull moment in their conversation.
The night before, I'd had a good look at the area on google maps and decided to get off at a town called Hope, which looked to be a very nice place with plenty of good walks. However, as the train pulled into Edale, I looked out of the window and around the valley, it looked great and a lot of the walkers were getting off, so I hopped off as well and set off from the station, down past the carpark and headed towards the sound of the river Noe.
I followed a small group of people over the river and up a small tarmacked road which seemed to zig zag up the side of the hill. Following the road became a little tedious so I jumped over a wobbly gate into a grassy green field.
Now this was more like it, I powered up, jumping over bogs and tentatively stepping on tufts of long reeds. As the way grew steeper, I stuck to a sheep track and aimed for a fence I'd seen from below. The fence turned out to be a barrier for a twisty road, which I climbed onto. On the road, Cyclists puffed past, cars crawled round the corners, just waiting to meet a walker coming the other way. As I walked up the road, I fixed my eyes on the white ridge to my right. Once on the ridge, the view was brilliant. It seemed that Edale was a very small village in a surrounded by well defined hills and ridges. It was a very charming valley with a nice, contained feel about it.
Having grown up in the mountains of Snowdonia the 400m height I'd read the night before didn't sound massively high. However, once up there, looking down over the scenery, it really did extinguish my doubts. I stood on the ridge for a while, contemplating and feasting my eyes on the rolling countryside.
After a lunch of miso and salad sandwiches, fruit, nuts and seeds, I decided to do a bit of a round and walk down a different way and loop back to the village. The ground underfoot consisted of snowy grass which did prove to be a little slippery. I've always had a weird obsession of running down mountains and hills, so naturally, I started my way down by jogging down the steep slope. I'm not entirely sure what I must look like while I'm running like that, I'd probably say a bit like a mountain goat running away from some big predator. Hopping and sliding, I was finding it a challenge to run in the snow using my usual zig zag technique. I seemed to be finding myself falling all over the place. Luckily, I spotted a section of hill with much longer grass, I clambered over to it and found that it was tufts of grass formed in straight lines across the hill side. This was a big help as I could carry on zig zagging, just from one line of tufts to another, it provided the stop for my feet so I wouldn't keep slipping.
With cold feet and wet trousers, I made it down to a muddy 4x4 track which led me down through a few fields of inquisitive sheep and onto a tarmac road. After all the tense running, my legs were tired and my muscles were relieved to be on more solid ground again. By looking up at where I was in relation to the hillside, I was able to judge that I was only 20 minutes ish walk away from the train. So at about 14:40 I reached the train station, where I was fortunate to find out that a train back to Manchester was due to arrive in a few minutes.
I boarded the train, ate a block of dark chocolate, popped in my earphones, played my audio book, and admired the fast moving english countryside.
I later discover the name of the hill I climbed was Mam Tor, with it's peak sitting at 517m. It was a great walk, and I'll definitely return and do more. If you're thinking of going to the peak district for a walk then I'd definitely recommend a walk in this area. I enjoyed writing this, thanks for reading!
Below are a few photos of the walk and a non-detailed map of the area.