Cavedale and Winnats Pass today

20 Jan

Rich drove up from Stafford via Wildboarclough, the Roaches and Buxton. I had the easier route by bus stopping 200 metres from my Sheffield home – through the beautiful Hope Valley, FoC with my senior’s bus pass – to Castleton and the Nag’s Head. From there we walked south up Cavedale, its limestone path a shallow torrent of ice melt. We had the steep valley side with its protruding rock buttresses to our left, the even steeper side to our right topped by the rear of Peveril Castle, legacy of a wave of fortress construction between 1066 and the early 1200s.

As a boy I’d wonder what defensive purpose Peveril Castle served. In fact it, and hundreds like it, were police stations/observation points to keep a beady eye on the Saxon plebs below. As an anonymous fragment of contemporaneous verse put it, proud eye and cruel hand, now rule this conquered land.

We hit snow as Cavedale flattened out into an expanse of white in every direction. The switch was sudden and dramatic; snow-free one minute, two foot deep the next. It was dry powdery, so easy walking on a narrow path tamped down by previous walkers.

We spoke of jazz and Syria, Labour Party and young people. We stopped often to take snaps.

Swinging west at the Sparrowpit road, we dropped down Winnats Pass, past the Speedwell Cavern into Castleton for a pint. We spoke of sci-fi, Shakespeare and Theresa May.

A most enjoyable interlude. Ten pictures here.

180120 castleton


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