Peak Rambler’s Ramblings; one year on!

February 21st 2012, the date my first blog went live.

It’s been an interesting and enjoyable year, blogging.

I remember my first thoughts about blogging, after reading many other peoples blogs, and I still do.

In my profile, I describe how my first thoughts were on blogging and how to get started; 

Then, during a walk with a fellow hill walker, we got talking about blogging and trip reports on an outdoor forum that we share, and it was suggested that some of the trip reports I’ve done, would be more than suitable for blogging.

But how do I blog, what would it cost, would I have to set up a web page....

Questions questions and the answers just seemed to appear when I was browsing my Gmail account.”

Here I am, one year on with a list of blogs, stories and tales about my walking experiences I’ve shared with you and those who I’ve had the good fortune to walk with.
Why “Peak Rambler”?
Well, first it’s my Twitter name (@PeakRambler), which I just stumbled upon by pure chance after many weeks of trying to find a suitable twitter name. I feel that covers nicely my outdoor activities, I enjoy summiting peaks.
I not only enjoy visiting the Peak District, an area where I spent a lot of my childhood days walking the Dales with my family, some of whom, originated from the Dales. I’m probably a victim of a misspent childhood, because most of my childhood walking was in the White Peak and its beautiful dales.

The Dark Peak was an area we rarely ventured in to. So I guess I’m going through one of those mid-life crises, but a fabulous one at that. I think there is a lot of making up to be done?

Most definitely.

Another area I’ve ventured in during my childhood days was North Wales and Snowdonia. Of which a favourite haunt was Cwm Idwal from Ogwen Cottage and Conwy Mountain on the North Wales coast among many more.

Cwm Idwal and The Glyders are an area that’s a victim of its own success and beauty, but still a beautiful place to walk.

Since those childhood days, walking around Llyn Idwal, I’ve ventured on to the peaks of Tryfan and the Glyderau, Y Garn, and surrounding area.

Lathkill Dale, where the villages of Over Haddon and Lathkill used to draw their water supply from the River Lathkill many years ago, was a dale I spent many hours walking through as a child, sampling the water and water cress from the fresh water springs that lay alongside the River Lathkill.
Lathkill Dale

Monsal Head and Monsal Dale also played a large part in my childhood walks. However, the rest of the walk covered some new ground for me, namely Tansley Dale and Litton.

Monsal Head

Cressbrook Dale

The route I followed was a route I walked back in the August Bank Holiday of that year, with some fellow walkers and backpackers from Twitter, at what was called the Monsal Meet.

This time, it was in the winter and I can honestly say, it was just as fabulous to walk in winter, as it was back in the summer.

I’ve spent many hours around Castleton, Mam Tor, Treak Cliff Cavern, Peak Cavern, Cave Dale, Pin Dale and a lot more. So again, it was a return visit to see how things are today and walk the old Buxton Road, which I can remember as a child, being driven down before it was finally closed along the many times it was closed off due to land slips.

The rest of the route was to cover new ground and an area which I’ve read and heard about.
Looking back to Mam Tor from Back Tor

Stanton Moor is an old favourite of mine, both as a child and adult.

Robin Hoods Stride

Today, it still holds that special place, the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, just seems to call me.

No, I’m not a Druid, nor hippy, I just remember the magical feeling it seemed to express in my childhood days.
Stanton Moor today, is a small moor with a beauty all of its own.

Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Stanton Moor

I’ve been using Toughprint paper for a little while before I wrote this piece.

The desire to use Toughprint successfully, originated from my days as a Scout Leader, where I had the opportunity to spend time with qualified Mountain Leaders (ML’s), picking up tips, learning new things, especially navigational tips and generally tidying my act up when out walking.
We’ve all been there, trying to fold that rather large OS map to a manageable size, with the area you’re interested in, easy to read.
Even more fun when out on a windy day!

The first time I tried Toughprint in earnest, was on my Alport to Stanton Moor; Sunday 4th March 2012 walk (mentioned above), where it rained most of the day.
My map for the day, on a nice A4 size sheet

Since then, virtually every walk I’ve been out on, I’ve had a printed copy with me, even demonstrating its benefits to those with me.

It’s great fun watching some people’s faces, when dunking a piece of waterproof paper, especially when it’s a map or something of equal importance!

Then their amazement when the printed paper comes out unscathed.

I stumbled across Tuffmaps totally by accident. 

Basically Tuff maps are the OS Lamfold maps, but with the cover detached, making folding a lot more manageable.
Even today, I’m still slowly converting my Lamfolds over to Tuffmaps.
Tuff Map, showing map and seperate cover
It’s probably better to read the blog to get the full picture, rather than for me to repeat a lot of what I’ve already written.

I’ve always wanted to get and see an air crash site in the Dark Peak, coupled with the fact that I’d never yet ventured on to Bleaklow until this point.
I was awe struck, not only at the sheer remoteness and beauty of Bleaklow, with some choice weather, but also the scale of devastation of such a large air craft.
The wreckage of the B29 Superfortress "OVEREXPOSED",
where thirteen men lost their lives.

It also humbled me to think that thirteen young men lost their lives so suddenly. But it was a fantastic day and an area where your navigation skills need to be up to scratch.

I mustn’t forget the kissing stones….. Two lumps of rock near Bleaklow Head, which if you view at the right angle, look like puckered lips kissing.
The Blenheim was the next crash site I visited; on what was a reasonable weather day.
The Bristol Blenheim wreckage on Bleaklow
Again, a good test of my navigation skills and providing a fabulous insight to a lot of things I’d seen on my Dark Peak map and wondered what the hell they were, particularly the various mentions of “Stakes”.

I’ve been to Tissington Well Dressings, along with many others, many times as a child. They’re all good in their own way, but Tissington, always puts on a grand village festival, blessing and celebrating how those who used the wells for their water supply, never suffered any ill health or water shortage.
Well Dressings are deep rooted in history, some of which I explain in this blog.
One of the Well Dressings in Tissington.
This is 'Coffin Well',
so called because the trough from which the water is drawn, is coffin shaped.

However, if ever you get the chance, these Well Dressings are well worth visiting.

Once again, wreck hunting in the Dark Peak.

It was a very hot day and one where I used my new found knowledge from the last walk on Bleaklow, Bleaklow and the Bristol Blenheim Crash Site,  where used what was marked on the map as “The Stakes” as part of the navigation to reach the Defiant wreckage.
What is left of the remains of the Boulton Paul Defiant, on Bleaklow

Wow, that was one hot day, the sun shone gloriously.

We returned via a different route, following Near Black Clough back to Bleaklow Head.

By the way, my ornithological skills are rubbish, as I have had an observation corrected. To those of you, I give my sincere thanks for pointing out my error.

I have deliberately left the error in the blog, to give authentication to those who have corrected me.

Please, don’t ask me to pronounce either of those Scottish summits.

Carn an Fhreiceadain     pronounced “carn in RAYCHKiten

The cairn marking the summit of Beinn Bhreac

I haven’t yet found the pronunciation of “Beinn Bhreac”. But I’ve found the meaning of Beinn Bhreac, but related to its bigger sister peak, at 931 mtrs, just south of Cairn Gorm, which means Speckled Hill. 

One thing I have discovered since writing that blog. Just as in Wales, where you get more than one peak sharing the same name, Scotland also has the same scenario. 

Yes, there is more than one Beinn Bhreac! 

While staying with a family friend in Kingussie, a small village in the Highlands of Scotland, not far from Aviemore, I decided to venture on to the local hills, which just happen to be the Monadhliath Mountains.

It was very remote, very quiet and the views over to the Cairngorm plateau were fabulous.
My descent, was pure bliss, not a sole around, though it did get me wondering, what if something should happen?

You’ll need to read the blog if you’re wondering what the end scenario was…..

A venture in to the Dark Peak, just to north east of the Ladybower Reservoir, lies Derwent Moor, overlooking the Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs, exhibiting many fascinating rock formations, with even more fascinating names.

Strange names like; Cakes of Bread, Dove Stones, Wheel Stones and many more.

The Cakes of Bread, on Derwent Moor

Here, on our outbound route, we walked past Cutthroat Bridge, with a gruesome tale to tell. Not only was there a gruesome tale to tell, but further on in the walk, a very sad one about a Shepherd Boy.
You’ll need to read the blog to find out about these two tales…… 

Wreck hunting again, this time just off Kinder, on Mill Hill, a USAF Liberator that crashed. This was one where the crew actually managed to walk away.

The Liberator wreckage as we approached it from Mill Hill summit

Moel Siabod; this was one summit I have been intending for a long time to conquer.

I’ve must have driven past it hundreds of times; I know I’ve walked on the plateau quite a few times, in the dark!

That was where I spent many hours, perfecting my night navigation skills while out with some ML’s, who were providing the training.

"This was a rare occasion where I actually saw the plateau in daylight"

The Crimea Pass from Moel Siabod Summit

This was a rare occasion where I actually saw the plateau in daylight. It was fascinating to see the plateaus properly and also the views from the summit, looking at many of the peaks in Snowdonia that I had conquered.

It was a fabulous day.

I must not forget John from Stoke, who I met up with while ascending Moel Siabod.

August Bank Holiday 2012, a chilled weekend camping with friends in the White Peak, we took a wander up Parkhouse and Chrome Hills.
It was a fabulous weekend, even though it did rain on the Sunday when packing away our tents and kit.

Parkhouse Hill, the peak on the left, and Chrome Hill, the peak on the right

This weekend was set up for a couple of friends of mine, from London and Leicester, who wanted to see the B29 crash site on Bleaklow.

Because the distance was too far to travel from London for the day, we met at Monsal Head, a camp site we’ve used before, and then drove to Bleaklow, meeting up with another friend from Doncaster, to complete the same trail I had done back in April 2012.
Alvin photographing the Kissing Stones.

This was a walk across a small area of the North York Moors, which encompassed the village of Goathland, which many of you will know as the village of Aidesnfield from Heartbeat.

I deliberately plotted a route to include Goathland, which is pretty much as you see it in the TV series Heartbeat, with the sheep wandering freely around the village.

Aidensfield Stores

".... Goathland, which is pretty much as you see it in the TV series Heartbeat,
with the sheep wandering freely around the village"

With the unclear footpaths on the moor, it made for an interesting walk, giving some superb views from its high points around North Yorkshire.

The end proved very interesting, when the footpath marked on the map, went through some very boggy ground.

You’ll need to read the blog, to see how I got out of a sticky situation, along with the route in general. 

This was written out of sheer boredom and frustration, waiting for the weather to break, so I could get out in the hills or on the moors again.

However, the feedback I’ve had was extremely positive.

Though not an exhaustive listing, many of those items I carry as a result of my time undergoing training with ML’s and based on experiences not just my own, but other peoples as well.

I will say at this point, I am not an ML nor am I qualified as as one. But the time I spent with ML's has been extremely educating and interesting, not just during my time as a Scout Leader, but subsequently while out in the hills and on the moors.

"What's in my pack?" has been edited in to six parts for the Cotswold Outdoor Community section to share with others and hopefully give people an idea of what to carry in their packs while out walking.

The walk I’d been waiting for the weather to break for.

This peak probably is on a par with Moel Siabod. But a lot more gentler and shorter ascent.

Looking up to Win Hill summit

Again, absolutely fabulous views, looking around many of the areas I’ve walked, Castleton’s Great Ridge, Kinder and Bleaklow, Derwent Moor, Stanage Edge and many more.

This was a return with vengeance walk, in a nice way of course. For back in May 2011 the weather beat my son and I back from the summit of Kinder. Even more frustratingly, we were only about 400 mtrs away from the crash site of the Sabre F86’s. Yes, two of them collided in mid air, resulting in wreckage being strewn across Kinder’s plateau and down on Black Ashop Moor and in Ashop Clough.

What started off as a sunny day soon became cloud ridden and stayed that way all day, making navigating a good challenge to try and locate some of the Sabre wreckage.

My first sighting of the Sabre F86 wreckage

From there, after a tweet from a fellow twitter friend, putting temptation my way, I then wandered over to Kinder Downfall.

After a quick map check, I looked at my options for the return route, made my decision and estimated my arrival time back to the car, which would be close to sunset. You’ll need to read the blog to see what my options were and what measures I put in to place to cover a possible event…..

Stanton Moor on a snowy Sunday
This was really an excuse to get out and play, for we had been savouring the delights of a very good snowfall across much of the UK.

As I mentioned earlier, Stanton Moor holds a soft spot in my heart, some of these memories I have shared with you at the start of the blog.

The Trig point on Stanton Moor

A cairn, one of the many historical features on Stanton Moor.
I do however cover much of the moor and many of its features in the snow, and as normal, photos to show, in my opinion, how lovely the moor can look in the snow, just as it does on a nice dry day. 

However, there is a couple of warnings in the blog, with regards to the quarries and also the fact that while it’s a lovely small area of moorland, it is high and exposed and can kick you just as hard as any of the larger open exposed areas like Kinder and Bleaklow. 

Thank you for reading and following
I can honestly say, I’ve really enjoyed blogging as much as I’ve enjoyed the walking and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them just as much. 

I would like to say thank you to you all, for taking the time to read and also to those who have passed comments either via Twitter or to the various blogs I’ve posted. It’s been a pleasure receiving your feedback. 
When route planning, a thought to share with you
One thing I've observed, through studying maps, and what I've picked up over time, and more recently with internet research, very often hill and mountain names are not unique to that particular hill or mountain you're on or interested in.
There are instances where some share the same name as two of three others, may be even more!
I mentioned ealier that there was more than one Beinn Bhreac. Likewise in North Wales and Snowdonia, there is more than one Moel Eilio, possibly three, though I'm currently struggling to confirm that one.
So when you're route planning, make sure you make it clear which and where that particular hill or mountain is, the nearest town, village or notable dwelling, along with grid references, so if by some unfortunate event you do need assistance, then those who have to go out and rescue you, know more precisely where to start looking.

Before I close, my next blog; " Peak Winter Meet, a Bunkhouse and Kinder" which will follow this one which covers the Peak Winter meet, in a bunkhouse just outside the village of Hope and our walk on to Kinder from Edale.

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,

Peak Rambler


  1. A nice review of your year in blogging Mike

  2. Interesting stuff. Always good to read about someone else's view of a familiar area. Look forwards to more.

    1. Thank you.

      Like you, I enjoy reading other peoples blogs. There are some really good stories out there and even great ideas for places to go and things to do.

      There will be more to follow. including one I've not had time to finish, from a Winter Meet with a walk on Kinder from a couple of weeks ago.

  3. This is a great review of your first year.

    I enjoy your blog, especially the peak posts as it's areas I know and have walked myself!

    Here's to the next year :)

    1. Thank you Louise, its been a great pleasure not only visiting these places, but also writing about them and the people I've shared the walks with.

    2. I'll have to come back to read this but from what I've seen you've had a good year ... in an excellent area. Like you I think Stanton Moor is rather precious too.

    3. Thank you Charlie, it was a good year and I'm looking forward to the next twelve months.

  4. Hi Mike, It's working fine tonight! I was just going to say what a nice selection of outings you've had this last year :)