Mighty Eminenses

If anyone is looking for a UK bagging list, how about this?! This great mountain diagram is from the mid-1800s and is pretty stunning. The choice of hills is pretty idiosyncratic, probably as much a depiction of those that worked for the image (graphic design isn’t a new art!), but you could certainly do a whole lot worse for a list of hills covering the whole of these islands. I particularly love the now antiquated names for some of these hills – particularly Kinderscout.

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#EssentialPeak – A Bagging list for the Peak

What would your ideal Peak District tick list look like? Anything like this?

Everybody loves a good bagging list right? Even if you have no intention of completing them all, they give you a chance to pour over the lists, making plans for future trips. The range of lists is huge – from those based on set, immovable physical criteria, such as the County Tops, listing highest points in our counties to the Munros, detailing the Scottish hills with peaks over 3000ft in height. Then there are the more subjective lists, most famously Wainwright’s ‘love letter to the fells’ covered by the 217 fells in his pictorial guides. The Trail 100 is another example – being Trail Magazine’s list of the ‘top 100’ mountains for walkers in the UK.

I’ve always loved the idea of developing a bagging list for the Peak District. But the problem is the reliance most bagging lists have on ‘hills’. Although the Peak is blessed with many fantastic hills, it’s not an easy area to translate into a bagging list consisting of high points only. For a start, some of it’s highlights don’t involve you going up hill, but down dale – what self-respecting list could miss off Dove Dale or Lathkill Dale? Even up on the hills, the summits often aren’t the greatest attraction in the Peak District. Kinder must surely have the lowest proportion of walkers reaching it’s ‘true’ summit than any other popular mountain. It’s a special sort that braves the bogs to test their skills at ascertaining which of a multitude of rough peat mounds is 10cm higher than the rest. While they do, most sensible folk are at the trig, or the waterfall, or scrambling any of the fantastic rock formations instead. Then there are the edges – a defining feature of the Peak District landscape that set it apart from other upland areas across the country. Again many would be missed by a traditional hill list.

We like to think of bagging lists as an exact science – the heighest of hills, the most prominent peaks. But very often personal opinion and preferences sneak in. No more so than on Wainwright’s epic list (if there is a better hill bagging list I’d love to see it). As two examples how did Walla Crag (sublime) and Mungrisdale Common end up on the list? Walla Crag is just a stumpy ridge/cliff (OK, so an amazing stumpy ridge/cliff!) on the route up to Bleaberry Fell. It’s long been suspected AW included Mungrisdale Common simply to use up space – it’s barely even raised ground, with a prominence of just 1 meter, and barely a redeeming feature about it! And quite right too. Walking is about more than writing off a hill because it’s prominence from the next is too small – it’s about the journey, and the view when you get there!

Even those lists that are based on a set formula don’t necessarily give the best walking experiences. Take the county tops – the highest point in Nottinghamshire is, technically, a trig point, lost behind fencing in a fard yard, with no public acces, right by the M1 motorway. There are plenty of other hills in the county which make for a much more enjoyable walk, and are within a few meters of the actual county top – but rules is rules. Any bagger just sticking to the county tops must visit Nottinghamshire and make a mental note never to darken the county’s footpaths again!

All of the above is essentially me stating my case for casting aside any pretense at making a bagging list for the Peak based on any scientific formula. There are just three rules for each entry on the list:

  1. It must be at it’s best on foot. Or, ideally, at it’s best if you arrive there by foot too. So Crich Stand is in despite it having a car park right by it – because it’s far more special to walk up to it from the canal below.
  2. It must add to the story of what makes the Peak District such a special place. Be that human history, geology, or nature. So Bugsworth Basin, Magpie Mine and High Peak Junction are all in – they tell the human story of the Peak, and they certainly fit Rule 1.
  3. It must be a defined point. The essential part of that location, rather than a line or area to dip in and out of. I’ve tried to include the famous trails in the Peak – the Pennine Way, our first National Trail, and the Monsal Trail. But I’ve chosen key points, rather than including the whole trail. That way anarchy lies!

My list therefore places each point into at least one (often more) of eight themes: Water, Hills, Edges, Dales, Human History, Natural History, Resources (quarrying, mining etc) and Trails. My aim is that anyone who has ticked off each entry on the list will have experienced something from all the stories the Peak has to tell. It’s a grand aim maybe, but one I’m having fun honing down!

The next key decision to make was on the geographical extent of ‘the Peak District’. Often publications stick fairly slavishly to the boundaries of the National Park. I didn’t want to take that approach. It’s boundary is set not by any natural limits, but by political, social and economic considerations. I know from living outside Nottingham that there are many places outside the park boundary to the South-East that are quintessentially Peak in character, and key to the story of the region. Leaving them out wasn’t an option.

Instead I decided to focus on the two key geological characteristics of the Peak – the limestone bedrock of the White Peak, and the darker, more brooding aspects of the sandstone Dark Peak. But even here drawing a line wan’t easy. I used the fantastic mapping resource from the British Geological Survey to try to draw a line around my ‘Great Peak District’ The areas I knew in the South-East, around Matlock especially, had a fairly clear boundary around them. But to the north the Dark Peak simply carries on as the Pennies stretch North through Yorkshire and Lancashire. In the South and West it was hard to decide upon a cut off too. Eventually I decided upon six core sections to base the list, which you can see in the map below. After setting upon these sections I remembered about Natural England’s National Character Areas. These break England down into distinct areas based not on political or cultural boundaries, but by factors dictated by the geography and character of the environment. I was pretty pleased to see my area match up pretty well with the various character areas on Natural England’s list relating to the Peak District!

And now, we really get right down to the nitty-gritty – what are the locations that should be included in the Essential Peak Bagging List? As you can see on the map below (and the spreadsheet below the map), I’ve tried to identify the places I think no list of Peak walking spots should be without. But I need some help! I’d love to hear views from anyone about the list – especially on places I’ve missed, or points that aren’t quite as essential as I thought! I don’t want a list ‘designed by committee’ – but I would like to know what people think!

Some particular issues – partly caused by rejecting the need to go simply for peaks or high points – were:

    • At some locations, what should be the absolute key spot to include – for example at Long Dale.
    • On some hills, Kinder especially, I’ve included more than one point where I think places are too important to miss, for example Kinder Downfall. Are there others that merit being a star in themselves, rather than being a sub-feature

So please – let me know what you think to the map above and list below, either by commenting, tweeting me @Peakrills or by email via Peakrills@gmail.com.

Area Name
Dark Peak Alport Castles
Dark Peak Back Tor
Dark Peak Bleaklow
Dark Peak Brown Knoll
Dark Peak Coombs Rock
Dark Peak Crook Hill
Dark Peak Crowden Tower
Dark Peak Crowstones Edge
Dark Peak Derwent Edge
Dark Peak Featherbed Top
Dark Peak Grindslow Knoll
Dark Peak Higher Shelf Stones
Dark Peak Howden Edge
Dark Peak Kinder Downfall
Dark Peak Kinder Low
Dark Peak Kinder Trespass – William Clough
Dark Peak Ladybower
Dark Peak Langsett
Dark Peak Lantern Pike
Dark Peak Lord’s Seat
Dark Peak Margery Hill
Dark Peak Mount Famine
Dark Peak Outer Edge
Dark Peak Ox Stones (Burbage Moor)
Dark Peak Pike Lowe
Dark Peak Stanedge Pole
Eastern Moors Baslow Edge
Eastern Moors Beeley Moor
Eastern Moors Big Moor – White Edge
Eastern Moors Birchen Edge
Eastern Moors Chatsworth Park
Eastern Moors Curbar Edge
Eastern Moors Eyam Moor
Eastern Moors Froggatt Edge
Eastern Moors Gardom’s Edge
Eastern Moors Matlock Moor Trig
Eastern Moors Padley Gorge
Eastern Moors Sir William Hill
Eastern Moors Totley Moor
Eastern Peak Fringe Alport Heights
Eastern Peak Fringe Black Rocks
Eastern Peak Fringe Carsington Water
Eastern Peak Fringe Crich Stand
Eastern Peak Fringe Harboro Rocks
Eastern Peak Fringe Heights of Abraham
Eastern Peak Fringe High Tor
Eastern Peak Fringe Lovers Walk
Eastern Peak Fringe Lumsdale Falls
Eastern Peak Fringe Middleton Top
Eastern Peak Fringe National Stone Centre
Eastern Peak Fringe Robin Hoods Stride
Eastern Peak Fringe Stanton Moor
Hope Valley Abney Moor/Shatton Edge
Hope Valley Bamford Edge
Hope Valley Burbage Rocks
Hope Valley Carl Wark
Hope Valley Cave Dale
Hope Valley Higger Tor
Hope Valley High Neb
Hope Valley Lose Hill
Hope Valley Mam Tor
Hope Valley Millstone Edge
Hope Valley Navio Fort
Hope Valley Stanage Edge
Hope Valley The Ridge
Hope Valley Win Hill
Hope Valley Winnats Pass
Northern Moors Alderman’s Hill
Northern Moors Black Hill
Northern Moors Dead Edge End
Northern Moors Dove Stones
Northern Moors Featherbed Moss
Northern Moors Hoarstone Edge
Northern Moors Rollick Stones
Northern Moors West Nab
Northern Moors Wild Bank Hill
Western Moors Axe Edge Moor
Western Moors Black Edge
Western Moors High Peak Canal
Western Moors Burbage Edge
Western Moors Cats Tor
Western Moors Chinley Churn
Western Moors Combs Moss
Western Moors Eccles Pike
Western Moors Castle Naze
Western Moors Goyt Valley Reservoirs
Western Moors Gun
Western Moors Hen Cloud
Western Moors Kerridge Hill / White Nancy
Western Moors Lud’s Church
Western Moors Ramshaw Rocks
Western Moors Shining Tor
Western Moors Shutlingslow
Western Moors Sponds Hill
Western Moors Tegg’s Nose
Western Moors The Cloud
Western Moors The Roaches
Western Moors Whalley Moor
Western Moors Windgather Rocks
Western Moors Cheeks Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Biggin Dale
Western White Peak Fringe Bunster Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Carder Low
Western White Peak Fringe Cauldon Lowe
Western White Peak Fringe Chrome Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Dove Dale
Western White Peak Fringe Ecton Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Gratton Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Grindon Moor
Western White Peak Fringe High Wheeldon
Western White Peak Fringe Hitter Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Hollins Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Milldale Bridge
Western White Peak Fringe Narrowdale Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Ossoms Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Parkhouse Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Pilsbury Castle Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Sheen Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Solomon’s Temple
Western White Peak Fringe Thirklow Rocks
Western White Peak Fringe Thor’s Cave
Western White Peak Fringe Thorpe Cloud
Western White Peak Fringe Weaver Hills
Western White Peak Fringe Wetton Hill
Western White Peak Fringe Wolfscote Dale
Western White Peak Fringe Wolfscote Hill
White Peak Plateau Arbor Low
White Peak Plateau Bradford Dale
White Peak Plateau Chee Dale
White Peak Plateau Chelmorton Low
White Peak Plateau Coombs Dale
White Peak Plateau Deep Dale
White Peak Plateau Deep Dale (Topley)
White Peak Plateau Eldon Hill
White Peak Plateau Fin Cop
White Peak Plateau Lathkill Dale
White Peak Plateau Long Dale
White Peak Plateau Magpie Mine
White Peak Plateau Miller’s Dale Viaducts
White Peak Plateau Minninglow Hill
White Peak Plateau Monks Dale
White Peak Plateau Monsal Dale
White Peak Plateau Monsal Head
White Peak Plateau Peters Stone – Cressbrook Dale
White Peak Plateau Slitherstone Hill
White Peak Plateau Sough Top
White Peak Plateau Wardlow Hay Cop
White Peak Plateau Longstone Edge