So you'd like to visit the Peak District? With over 1,400 square km to explore it can be a little hard to know where to start. I'd love to help. I was born and bred on the edge of the Peak District and was lucky enough to spend my first 18 years exploring at every opportunity.
If you're looking for a route which is a bit of a challenge and has absolutely cracking views then Mam Tor ticks all of the boxes. Before I start on the route take a read of a few facts.
Facts about Mam Tor
- Standing at 517m Mam Tor is the 18th highest peak in the Peak District (did you know that there is only one mountain in the Peak District? A mountain has to be over 2,000ft/610m. The only mountain in the Peak District is Kinder Scout.)
- Mam Tor means "Mother Hill" and is called this due to landslips which have created a number of small hills below.
- Mam Tor was recently voted Number 10 in Britain's Favourite Walks. You can see the full list here.
- You may also have heard Mam Tor called "The Shivering Mountain" this is due to the landslides.
There are so many routes up Mam Tor and it's a well walked route with a visible summit so you are not likely to get lost. It is possible to drive part way up and park and go up and down the same route but as this blog is about inspiring people to get outdoors and be active I won't detail that. I recommend taking a circular route. You can park near the National Trust Visitors Centre and go from there. Head out of the car-park and turn right and head towards Winnats Pass which is pretty gorgeous to look at, unless you're a cyclist. We followed the route up keeping close to Winnats Pass. It is a pretty steep climb to start with but it's a little longer to go up the west side so is less steep than heading straight towards the base and heading up that way.
Keep the summit ahead of you and slightly to the right and follow the very warn path. As you approach you'll head towards the west and to some steps which have been added to make the summit and view point accessible to all. Within minutes you'll be at the summit where there is a trig point and a glorious view of the Peak District. You can see for miles and will spot Kinder Scout on a clear day.
In the interests of making this a helpful guide for walkers of all levels, this is a challenging walk, however, to add context, I climbed with my mum who would describe herself as a complete beginner and although she stopped a few times "to take in the view" she absolutely loved it. She was really chuffed she had made it to the top and had thought it was way beyond her but she was brilliant.
From the summit, head down the stoned path in front of you, taking in the incredible view. You'll be going across the ridge line here and get a fantastic 360 view of the gorgeous Peak District. Keep walking until you've passed through two gates and at the second turn right to head down the valley. There is a steep but stoned path and you are likely to meet walkers coming up the path. You'll have quite a rapid but easy descent and follow the track which becomes a lane into the village.
Route Rating: Hard Time: 3hr 30mins Distance: 11km
This is the route as mapped by Ordnance Survey, however, we did it in reverse. You can find the route and many others on the Ordnance Survey website, just click here.
Once you've finished the walk reward yourself with tea and scones at Rose Cottage in the village, it's on the main high street. Their scones are freshly made and they have a heated patio to the rear which they welcome dogs too. Gatsby received a fresh individual bowl of water AND a complimentary dog treat.
Before you leave Castleton you should also check out the Blue John Caverns. Peak Cavern has the largest natural cave mouth in Europe and in the Speedwell Cavern you can go on an underground boat tour - it's sort of like the Pirates of The Caribbean ride in Disneyworld, only with a little less singing!
I hope this post inspires you to climb Mam Tor. I'd love to know if you give it a go.