If anyone out there is still looking for inspiration for a challenge or resolution for 2016, Trail Magazine may have the thing for you. They have just launched their ‘One Year, Seven Summits‘ challenge, making an achievable goal for anyone’s year to come.
Now, I know the Peak isn’t, somewhat ironically, loaded with England’s highest summits. However, we think you can still craft a great list for the year from the region’s hills. I’ve suggested some themes below, and a hill for each theme – I’d love to add to these with your ideas. Add them in the comments below, or email them over.
1 – The hill less traveled – the hills we do have in the Peak District tend to attract more than their fair share of walkers of all descriptions. There are still some hidden corners however, which are more than worthy of adding to your lists.
High Wheeldon – great views of the coral-reef hills of Chrome and Parkhouse Hills, and a stout little summit. You can make the route up very short, or into a decent hike!
2 – A new way up – even those hills that do get the footfall have some quieter ways up, allowing you to avoid the crowds.
Winn Hill via Parkin Clough – The direct route! A steep climb, best avoided in very wet weather, but it’s a rewarding way up this popular hill. Park alongside Ladybower.
3 – A head for heights – One of my aims for the year is to tackle my fear of heights – and there are some great places in the Peak to do this without needing the levels of exposure on a scramble like the Lakes classic Jake’s Rake.
Parkhouse Hill – a dragon’s-back hill, with a steep, but rewarding hike to the summit. The slopes aren’t sheer, but they are enough to give you goosepimples if your height for heights isn’t fully attuned!
4 – The classic – They maybe busy, but they are busy for a reason, with some of the Peak’s best views and climbs, along with easy accessibility.
Mam Tor & the Great Ridge – Hard to choose just one for my recommended list, but I just can’t look past Mam Tor. You can be up and down in an hour, or turn it into a nine mile circular hike you’ll never get bored of, with the Great Ridge and a bonus summit at Lose Hill.
5 – One on the fringe – The boundaries of the national park are more than just lines on a map – they suck people into the hills, dales and lakes of the Peak Park. Often this is to the exclusion of some great countryside outside it’s borders, with just as great a claim to call itself the Peak District.
Crich Stand – the stand is the monument on the top of the hill (open to the public), a memorial to the Sherwood Foresters regiment. It’s visible for many miles around, especially from the east, where it represents the first decent sized hill of the Peak. on a good day you’ll see Nottingham and beyond from the top of the hill. You can cheat and drive all the way up – but I’d recommend walking up through the woods from the Cromford Canal / River Derwent and round the back of the quarry. The view will not disappoint.
6 – One in the Dark Peak – The Dark Peak’s hills are often left aside in favour of the limestone ridges of the White Peak, Kinder being the exception, but as the highest peak in the region is has it’s own pulling power to hikers. They are of a different character, often more desolate and windswept, and without the show-stopping views from the peaks. But personally I love a day on the moors – its a special atmosphere, and often much quieter and peaceful. You still get the views too, with views of the valleys and reservoirs sneaking out from the flanks.
Black Hill – this hill can be walked from various start points. It can be very boggy in wet weather, but it’s all access land, so you can find your own way up if you are confident with navigation. Alternatively, chose a route taking in the Pennine Way and the flagged surface will take you right to the summit with your boots barely getting mucky!
7 – One elsewhere – We could fill the list with hills from the Peak, but it’s nice to fly the nest every now-and-again. So, as a gesture to the rest of the UK, I’ve included a free for all category. You could go literally anywhere, but my recommendation for just a single hill elsewhere would be:
Snowden – it might be as busy as Piccadilly Junction, or as quiet as a remote island (occasionally, maybe!). But it is the hill that offers everything – a gentle climb for most walkers, strenuous hikes and the airy thrills of Crib Goch* (pictured).
An expedition – so many to choose from in the Peak! You can find many multi-day hikes on the Long Distance Walking website. But I think you should go for the 7 day tour in this website’s first post – if only so you can see how it fares in the modern walking world and feed back!
*Considering I think Parkhouse Hill is a test of my head for heights, you can guess my views on Crib Goch!
- High Wheeldon – George Wolfe on Flickr
- Parkin Clough – Dave Wild on Flickr
- Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill – the author
- Mam Tor – the author
- View from Crich Stand – the author
- Black Hill Cairn – Alex Pepperhill on Flickr