High Peak Trail Walk

Posted 8/4/2018

An early start was in order for DVWG for our High Peak Trail walk, meeting at 8am for bus travel to the start point of the walk in the small hamlet of Dowlow near Buxton.

By the time we arrived in Dowlow, unfortunately so had the rain, with some drizzle accompanying our group of thirteen enthusiastic walkers who thanks to Liz Davis set a scorching pace over the first few miles of the walk covering the first 3.5 miles from Dowlow to Parsley in just 65 minutes.

After a refreshment stop at Parsley Hay we continued through Friden and to Minninglow for a lunch stop having covered 8.5 miles of the 17.5 miles of the trail.

By this time the rain had stopped and the weather was pleasant throughout the afternoon with sunny spells which were almost perfect for walking. The next stretch of the walk from Minnginglow to Middleton Top is, no doubt the toughest part of the trail with a six miles stretch to be walked between refreshment stops and whilst we continued to keep to schedule the signs of fatigue were now starting to show with some of our band and the pace of the walk slowed slightly.

Following a coffee and ice cream break at Middleton Top, it was time to complete the last 2.5 miles of the walk, the last 2.5 miles being by far and away the most interesting parts of the walk with the remaining buildings at Middleton Top and Middleton Incline to descend. This leads on to the stunning Black Rocks and wonderful views then opening out over Cromford and Matlock not to mention a great view of the superb Willersley Castle, which was the seat of Sir Richard Arkwright, the local mill owner and the inventor of the Spinning Jenny.

Upon reaching the winding house at the top of Sheep Pasture Incline it was time to descend through the woods down the incline and reach the finish of the High Peak Trail at High Peak Junction just outside the lovely village of Cromford. It has to be said that Sheep Pasture Incline is a challenging hill whether ascending or descending it, due to the 1:8 gradient and its length at almost 0.75 miles long.

After completing the trail, as there was still quite some time before our bus came, we decided to walk into Cromford along the canal for some quite well deserved liquid refreshment.

The stretch of the canal between High Peak Junction and Cromford is stunningly beautiful and ends at the newly restored Cromford Wharf and is well worth walking, by now however our party had some quite tired limbs. Upon reaching Cromford it was also great to see the restoration work which has now taken place at Cromford Mills, which is a World Heritage Site due to its connections with Sir Richard Arkwright and his invention of the Spinning Jenny.

A beer in The Greyhound in Cromford was a well-deserved reward for our party prior to taking the journey home at the end of a fabulous day of walking. The return journey was a quite sombre affair with some tired walkers on board, this was of course after we had eaten the remaining delicious homemade cakes supplied by Andrea Turner.

Our arrival in Wombwell must have been quite a sight for onlookers with our party collectively groaning as they disembarked from the bus, most of us were pretty stiff too!

Well done to the thirteen people who completed this walk which covered 19.5 miles of the High Peak and thank you to Richard Eastman of Eastman’s Coaches who once again did us proud with bus travel. A big welcome goes out to Jill Heppinstall who chose this walk for her DVWG debut, a somewhat brave act, in doing so she became the 240th adult to have walked with DVWG since the group was formed back in 2009.

A few milestones were reached yesterday too, Emma Powell and David Kirk reached 200 miles, season to date, whilst Sue Case and Andrea Turner both reached 100 miles. Whilst cumulatively, David Richardson passed 750 miles, Liz Davis passed 600 miles and Andrea Turner passed 400 miles. Well done to everyone.