Snow; fallen and frozen, air; calm, cold, crisp, sky; blue & high cloud. Fantastic conditions for a run on the higher ground of the Peak District.
Stunning winter conditions
The Hope valley was wreathed in its customary cloak, the cold air, subsiding overnight forming an inversion and resulting in cold, grey conditions. Climbing the flanks of Win Hill I emerged from the fog into stunning winter conditions.
Temperatures were sub zero but the climb proved sufficient to warm all but the exposed skin on my face. Soon I was treated to a fine summit view – eastwards blue sky and high cirrus, westwards the distant high moors stretched away under a thicker, opaque cover.
Win Hill summit
Distant hills under opaque skies
Joining the route of the Edale Skyline race I dropped down toward Twitchill Farm, leaving behind the brightness to descend into the bank of fog again.
Into the fog
On reaching the railway bridge I decided to divert from the race route and take the scenic fields rather than road, then rejoining to climb Lose Hill.
And out again
In the valley away to the south, emerging from the fog the cement works chimney pointed a slender finger towards the sun.
Slender finger to the sky
A few minutes hard work and the summit was achieved.
Last steps to the top
The view south showed the Hope valley, the remnants of the fog mirroring the pearly opalescence of the sky.
Lose Hill under a pearly sky
The ridge to Mam Tor gave good running, the snow having been scoured to leave a crisp, icy crust and good grip.
Leaving Lose Hill for Mam Tor
I descended the steep icy path on Back Tor with caution.
Descending Back Tor
A cold wind greeted me on Mam Tor and I paused just long enough to drink in the view before I descended quickly into the shelter of the Edale Valley, leaving the race route for now.
Mam Tor looking to Kinder
Through Edale and into Grindsbrook to tackle the steep zig zags up Ringing Roger, back on the “Skyline” route, this being the start where fresh legged runners begin their gruelling struggle.
Climbing Ringing Roger, Grindslow Knoll behind
Ringing Roger gave fine views across Grindsbrook to the edge of Kinder.
Right turn, homeward bound now I followed the sinuous path, contouring round the head of Jagger’s Clough and dropping down towards Crookstone and the solitary fingerpost.
To Jagger’s Clough
Above Crookstone heading for a distant Win Hill
The old gritstone way-marker of Hope Cross has withstood many a harsh winter and I wonder who passed this way, mapless, relieved to see it reaffirming their location.
Hope Cross marks the way
Back to Win Hill
Hungry now, my snacks long since eaten and beginning to feel the cold I pushed on to Win Hill, pausing briefly at the trig before descending through the trees to emerge at the reservoir.
Tired, that satisfyingly tired feeling after another wonderful run in the Peak District.
28km 1475m climb
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