Hello again humans. Joe the Cocker Spaniel here again. This hike was a bit of a change for me and my human dad. We (by that I mean my dad) decided to go to the Peak District where we don’t go to often enough. We (he!) decided to go on a Sunday which we don’t normally do because Sunday’s are busy and we can hike on any day of the week. For the first time in a long time the weather forecast was really promising for the entire day. It was going to be very cold but sunny and only a light breeze. We jumped out of bed early. When I say early I mean half an hour after Alexa put the heating on. Alexa gets shouted at by my dad if she doesn’t do as she is told the first time he asks. I have never seen her but I think that she lives in a speaker on the window ledge. Anyway, after grabbing all our gear and preparing some food for us we set off on our 70 minute drive to Castleton. The car was frozen and I lay on my bed on the back seat while my dad scraped the ice off the windows. There was another lady in the car that I could not see. Maybe a relative of Alexa. She told my dad how to get to the Peak District. She kept interrupting the music on the radio by telling us to turn left or turn right in 300 yards. My dad argues with her sometimes. Especially when he is singing along with the song on the radio. On other occasions he tells her that where she is sending him is wrong but it usually turns out that she is right. He always thinks that he knows best!
The car soon warmed up and I had a snooze. When I woke up my dad was parking the car in a layby in Castleton. I had to have a giggle to myself when I read the sign pointing to a local attraction. The Devil’s Arse appears to be a cave that you can pay to go into. I have been to a few places with my dad that could be called that but this place looked too nice to have a naughty name. So, my dad faffed around for a while putting his boots on and getting me and himself ready to hike. There wasn’t many people around at this time so parking was easy. We set off along the road towards Winnat’s Pass. After about 100 yards we stopped and turned around because the muppet realised that we were heading in the wrong direction. Unbelieavable! The route today should take us on an anticlockwise circular journey to Lose Hill, along the ridge to Mam Tor then back into Castleton. We were going to head off the main route to any tempting side tracks that we fancied. We walked back past the car and turned into the car park for the Devil’s Arse. If I could speak I would probably keep saying that name over and over to annoy my dad. Unfortunately, ‘woof’ is the limit of my vocabulary. I obviousy have a full grip of the Queen’s English in my head or I wouldn’t be doing this blog. We walked through the car park to the centre of the village and guess what. We went the wrong way again. Only for a short distance though. My dad turned us around and headed in the correct direction after looking in the window of a guest house. This was just a bluff so that it looked like we had gone in that direction on purpose. He was wearing his new watch (Christmas present) with GPS installed. He had his Garmin GPS. He had the route plotted on Viewranger on his mobile phone. And he had a paper map. With all these navigational aids we had walked in the wrong direction twice in less than ten minutes. I hoped that this wasn’t the way that today’s walk was going to continue.
After a good look around the village (unplanned) we walked down a narrow road until we turned right onto a track that passed Losehill Hall. After passing through a few gates we came to a path on the left that climbed quite steeply uphill towards Lose Hill. There was quite a few clouds blocking out the sun’s rays and it felt very chilly. The path was pretty much still frozen as the temperature was below zero. The sun was shining on the hill and it wouldn’t be too long before it was a mud bath as the ice melted. I managed to crack the ice over a few big muddy puddles and it wasn’t long before I was wet through and thoroughly muddy. This is what I love. I was on my eight metre retractable lead so I had a mad ten minutes zooming around in the mud. Bliss! The hill was slippery and quite steep but my dad seemed to take it in his stride, literally, this week. We carried on uphill over a couple of stiles towards the top of our first hill of the day. I had a short session off lead in one field where there was no livestock. It was zoomies time as I splashed in muddy puddles again. That little bit of freedom soon ended as we crossed over a stile. It was a straightforward trudge up and along a well trodden path to the summit of Lose Hill.
It was a bit cool on the top but the views were sensational. We stopped briefly while we soaked in the scenery. Castleton looked tiny in the valley. Mam Tor loomed large along the ridge. We could see Hope Valley, Edale and Rushup Edge around us. The sky was clear and the sun was shining down on us in a very chilly light breeze. We notice that there was quite a few people walking along the ridge by now especially on Mam Tor. It was probably the best Sunday weather wise for some time so this was to be expected. From the top of the hill the path descended and then rose again to the summit of Black Tor. I was told to not pull on the lead on these downhill sections because it would be easy to pull my dad over. It rose and dipped over a rocky path until we reached Hollins Cross. People were stopping to pose for photographs on a precarious hanging rock so we had to do the same while another walker took snaps of us. We had a short break sitting on a rock and ate our food and drank some ice cold water. It was becoming quite busy by now with people who had parked at the foot of the short clamber up to Mam Tor and had continued on along part of the ridge. It is easy to see why this area is so popular. The scenery is stunning and the walk is relatively easy from the A road.
The surface of the path was large irregular flag stones all the way to the summit of Mam Tor. I suppose that this is a good idea as it prevents erosion to the path and encourages more people to visit the area. There was twenty or so paragliders soaring above Lord’s Seat in front of us. They looked like huge colourful birds soaring above us. I was ready to chase them but I suppose that it wouldn’t be such a good idea as the drop off on the right of the path was very very steep. We plodded on to the summit and trig point on Mam Tor and had our photographs taken as the crowds started to gather. Soon after we descended steep stone steps to Mam Nick. From there we decided to walk up to Lord’s Seat where there we gained some really good views of the paragliders. After twenty minutes we turned back along the path to Mam Nick again. Rather than walk to the main road we chose a path through a boggy muddy field that lead to a minor road. My dad was trying unsuccessfully to avoid getting really muddy by walking over rocks and using stepping stones that previous walkers had placed in the muddier sections. I ran through the mud and managed to get even muddier than I was before. My dad just gave me the look. I don’t understand what his problem is. Why bring me to mud if he doesn’t want me to run around in it? I thought that was the whole point of being in the countryside. Am I wrong? Answers on a postcard please from other hiking dogs.
From the road we turned left across a field with a few horses grazing and basking in the sunshine. I was praised for being a good boy and not barking or running towards them. I don’t understand why I was praised as they are a lot bigger than me and there is no way that I am going to antagonise them. I don’t fancy a kick from one of those huge hoofs. The path across the field was unclear and my dad slipped twice on the wet grass. He almost hit the ground but he managed to stay on his feet using his walking poles. It was so funny as he did a great impression of Bambi. The path became steeper as we walked downhill through Winnats Pass. There is a very steep and narrow road that leads down into Castleton through the high sided cliffs either side of the pass. The path was slippery but my dad managed to stay on his feet even when I nearly pulled him over as I lurched towards a few sheep that he hadn’t seen. The path flattened as it reached Speedwell Cavern and becomes a tarmac surface down to Castleton. We crossed the road along a National Trust path that contoured the hillside to Peveril Castle. From there we entered the village of Castleton and returned to the car. What had been an empty village devoid of pedestrians and cars had now become unbelievably busy with no available parking spots. It’s amazing what a short spell of sunny weather can produce.
I had to have a quick wash down with the Mud Daddy dog wash. The water was almost freezing. Thanks dad! My fur is quite long at the moment and takes ages to dry but my dad said that I was having a short back and sides tomorrow. I am not looking forward to that while it is this cold. I suppose that I will have to wear a Christmas jumper to keep me warm. I think that my dad mustn’t have had a doll when he was a child as he seems obsessed with dressing me in different coats and jumpers. Ah well, it keeps him amused. Then I had to put up with being rubbed down with a towel before I was allowed to jump into the car and back into my cosy bed. I noticed that he didn’t have to endure this form of torture. Anyway, it was sleep time for me while my chauffer drove us home. I can’t wait for our next adventure. See you all soon!