Along Gritstone Crags:
a journey along the Peak District edges
True grit! The impact of Derbyshire's gritstone is much broader than the walking and climbing we see across Derbyshire today. Many of these hills have been quarried to produce millstones that have been transported across the country and stone for major construction projects. The industry now is tourism although quarrying for limestone continues to gouge out large scars across many parts of the Derbyshire Peak District. The Peak District was the first National Park in Britain and is the most visited; hardly surprising given it is situated in the middle of the country and is surrounded by many large towns and cities including Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham and Derby. Other cities such as Leeds are also in easy travelling distance. Of course many tourist facilities and attractions have developed from this, but above all it is the landscape that attracts people in their thousands. It is not as dramatic as many other parts of the United Kingdom or indeed other parts of the world, but it is readily accessible. Indeed the term Peak District is a bit of a misnomer as there are no big mountains at all; the highest peak is just 631 metres above sea level, Crowden Head on the rather bleak and windswept Kinder Scout plateau.
However, the Peak District has plenty of contrast. There are gentle sweeping valleys guiding the river Derwent towards the Trent. Small market towns and villages nestling between the dales and peaks. Gems such as Tideswell, Hartington, Ilam, Tissington, Ashbourne and plenty more. There are some good hill walks such as the Great Ridge from Mam Tor near Castleton to Lose Hill, high moorland walks across Kinder Scout and plenty of great rock climbing.
Some years ago I started out to explore and record as much as I could of the 30 mile or so string of exposed millstone grit edges that traverse the Dark Peak area from Howden Edge and Derwent Edge in the north west, south east along the mighty Stanage Edge near Hathersage, to Chatsworth and Beeley near Matlock at the eastern fringe of the Peak District. For me this project is neither a walk nor a series of photographs, but a journey of discovery along that path. There are many great walks that touch every part but I am putting them together as a journey from one end to the other.
The journey is the discovery is the immense beauty of the Peak District, especially the Dark Peak area. The changes between the seasons and the impact that different light has on what is erstwhile the same view or picture. It is about the form, the textures, shapes and colours along the way. This has become a passion and spare time is consumed with further exploration or making photographs. I now have thousands of the area and through this website I want to share a small selection of those that, for me, are the most evocative.
Along the Way
The following links can be used to navigate your own way around a part of the journey, or you can read from end to end as you prefer. I have divided the journey into fifteen segments each of which is an area in itself to explore and appreciate. For each of these I have included some introductory notes, comments on where to get the views and walking suggestions.
There are many books, guides, websites and podcasts that provide excellent examples of the great walks to be had along this route. The walks vary enormously in their difficulty, but very few are for the really hardened walkers only, and these tend to be the longer walks in the Upper Derwent Valley or around the Kinder area in the north west of the area. Each section of this provides some suggestions for walking and the page of further information provide a selection of references that can be used for further walking guides. There are lots of books, booklets and pamphlets available from bookshops, information or visitor centres and other shops all over the area that describe various walks; it's a walker's paradise!
Whilst the individual pages from the "Along the Way" pages above provide some suggestions for walking in each of these areas, I am producing a guide that will soon be available here for download. This details my view of the journey and links the route from end to end. It is not completely unique in the paths used, but it is I believe in how it describes the route from end to end as one journey. Further details will be announced here as soon as it is completed and available.
Read more... (tba)
This highlights what I consider my best work of the project. It has been extremely difficult to make a small but meaningful selection of images, but I hope you enjoy it. This is the first selection in the gallery.
A selection of further links and references that provide additional information about the area. Read more...
Any comments are gratefully received to help me improve this website.