The Great Ridge – Summit Fever

Last Friday, Rowan and I returned to the Peak District, bringing along the furry pair in their swanky new non pull harnesses – an absolute necessity for me when out walking with two cocker spaniels and an enthusiastic little boy.  Rowan’s map for this week was for the area around Mam Tor.  The hill is steeped in history, with the summit of Mam Tor being the site of an Iron Age hill fort, the earthworks of which can be followed round the summit.  There are also Bronze Age burial mounds, two on Mam Tor and one further down the ridge on Lose Hill.  Archaeological finds include the foundation of round houses, remains of gateways on the path to Hollins Cross and pottery, suggesting that there was an inhabited village as well as a defensive fort, all making for a really exciting place to explore.


IMG_9490We parked at the Mam Nick National Trust carpark, meaning much of the climb was
done for us.  The paved path at the back of the car park led us to a gate and the start of the pitched path to the Mam Tor summit.  It was quite busy, so being pretty slow, we let a number of people pass before we headed up the footpath, the furry pair being renamed the barking pair at this point.  IMG_9501
The path was steep, but well made and along the way there were iron plaques for Rowan to find.  Rowan really enjoyed finding these fossils, as he called them.


After about half an hour and a climb of about 100 metres we reached the summit where a trig point stood at the centre of a cobbled section of the top.  The views were far reaching, with the Vale of Edale on one side and the Hope valley to the other, separated by the Great Ridge, on which we were standing.  There were a lot of people admiring the panoramas and having their picnics so, as the dogs were still firmly and annoyingly in barking mode, we didn’t linger long, instead pressing on down the paved path along the ridge.


The Great Ridge connects Mar Tor at its eastern edge and Lose Hill to the west, and the path along here was to be our route for the rest day the day, the plan being that we could turn back at any point.  The ridge dipped up and down meaning there would be more climbing than the initial 100m though the route was clear with no doubts as to navigation, with the path sticking to the top of the ridge.


IMG_9528We passed Hollins Cross, a dip in the ridge and convergence of a number of paths, and began a gentle climb.  By this time, the dogs had settled down and we continued along a sandy track, worn by many footsteps, enjoying the views and the invitation of more walking ahead of us.  Ahead we could see Back Tor, with its incredibly steep and precipitous looking pitched path and Lose Hill beyond it.  I decided it would be worth checking with Rowan, to make sure that he actually wanted to continue on.  The adventurous little boy did.  He absolutely wanted to get to the tree at the top of the hill, but we would have a look at what the path was like before we decided.


Reaching a stile, we climbed over and surveyed the path ahead of us.  Closer up, it seemed just as steep, but much wider than it had initially appeared, so we started climbing to the top, stopping for a rest from time to time.

The top was a grassy plateau with glorious views.  Looking back to where we had come from, we could see Mam Tor on the horizon and looking ahead we could make out people on the summit of Lose Hill.


Looking back to Mam Tor


and ahead to Lose Hill

Sitting down on the grass, we enjoyed our picnic whilst taking in the views of the Vale of Edale.  Down in the valley below, we could make out farm building and watched sheep being herded.  Rowan was particularly excited when he spotted the train.


After we finished dinner, we consulted the map.  It was about half a mile and a 70 metre IMG_9571climb to Lose Hill, and I wasn’t sure that Rowan would want to go on any further but it seems the boy gets summit fever.  He really wanted to go to the next hill top.  I pointed out how far we had to walk back, but he still wanted to go, so we did.  It didn’t take us too long to get there and the views were amazing in all directions.  The skies had really cleared from when we set off in the morning and it felt like we could see for miles.  It summit pillar had a plate which showing what we were looking at in every direction, the crammed on arrows just proving how much there was to see.


After a lovely break at the top of Lose Hill, we retraced out steps back along the ridge, pausing at the top of Back Tor at Rowan’s request.  There were a few slips climbing back down Back Tor, so Rowan took some of the steps on his bottom, while the mutts, behaving much better than the start of the day, waited patiently.  There were a few more rests on the way back, including sitting at the top of Mam Tor – understandably as this adventure turned out to be Rowan’s biggest walk yet.  We were out for just over five hours, walking around five miles and climbing about 350 metres.  A shorter alternative walk that takes in a landslip can be found on the National Trust website here.  Rowan loved it here.  He was full of enthusiasm, exclaiming the views were beautiful and amazing.  I’m inclined to agree.

Potty Adventures

13 thoughts on “The Great Ridge – Summit Fever

  1. Hi Lauren, are you still Manchester based? I just noticed the areas that you explore and thought, you must be nearby to me! I love Mam Tor, definitely one for stunning views and for getting some good hills in too. I am curious about the non-pull leads too, they sounds interesting (we borrow dogs, and sometimes get pullers!) I loved that Rowan enjoyed his hike too, and had a feel for the summits. I look forward to reading more of your posts as well as getting some local inspiration too. Thanks!


    • Hi Sarah, yes, I’m Manchester based. And I will also be following your blog for ideas too 🙂 There really are some lovely places near us aren’t there.

      I was really impressed with the non pull harnesses. I couldn’t walk both of them and have Rowan without them. They’d have me over. They have attachment to clip the lead to the front of the harness at the chest rather than between their shoulders. That way, if they pull, they harness kind of turns them towards you, so they don’t get anywhere. There still is a little bit of a pull, but nothing like it was, and it makes walks completely manageable. I got mine from Ruffwear, but there are a few different companies that do them.


  2. Great post and well done little legs for walking up all those steep bits. I really want to explore the Peak district and your photos looks amazing, my kids would love to spot the iron plaques.


    • The plaques certainly add to the walk. There are some lovely places in the Peak District. Blue John mines and Speedwell Cavern are very close to Mam Tor so you could combine the walk with a visit underground too. Cave Dale in Castleton is also a very lovely walk (There’s a blog post on that one too)

      Hope your enjoy your adventures!


  3. Thanks for sharing – We tackled Mam Tor last Summer and stupidly opted for the nearly vertical cliff face for our ascent!! Although we did enjoy a nice gentle stroll back down! Maybe I’ll follow your route next time!

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  4. I love that walk, you get such amazing views in all directions. Rowan is such a little adventurer, you’re going to have so much fun together. I’m trying not to wish Finn’s life away (it goes quick enough!) but desperate for when we can do some walks like this as a family. I love the Peak District, this reminds me that we’er well overdue a visit there soon. Thank you for sharing with us #AdventureCalling

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  5. Rowan seems to have great stamina, well done for walking this long and this far! I love his forced toddler smile on some of the more posed photos, my younger too still do that, and they’re 4 and 6! Totally get that he wanted to make it to the top of Lose Hill – it looks stunning!

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  6. What a trooper Rowan is! When the summit fever hits it’s very difficult to shake it off haha. Mam tor looks like an awesome walk with a little bit of everything. You get some lovely ridges and the opportunity to do several summits in an outing. If we ever get over that way we’ll certainly check it out. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling calling I hope you can again tomorrow.


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