I managed to catch a little bit of winter yesterday in my monthly ascent of Parkin Clough to Win Hill in the Peak District. It was one of those days when the weather makes all the difference to a photo.
I shot this photo as Scout and I were descending from the trig pillar. Scout was frolicking in the snow near to the boundary wall and I just happened to look across at Crookhill to see light moving across the landscape and illuminating Crookhill and then onto Crookhill Grange and the barn. It was a wonderful sight, one of those moments that I hope for in winter, something of nature and the elements touching me.
Looking at the photo now, I see the hand of man going back thousands of years. Nestled to the east of Crookhill, almost in line with the centre of the saddle is a neolithic stone circle or curbed cairn. Inside the circle sit to mounds which could have been separate cairns. The circle sits amid other ceremonial features indicating this place was of some importance.
The circle and features date from the neolithic and bronze ages. Interestingly the monks of Welbeck Abbey chose this same spot to build Crookhill Grange/ now farm. The establishment of religious settlements near to ancient sites of ceremony is not unusual in the Peak District.
One of the toughest ascents in the Peak District can be found just by Ladybower Reservoir in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park.
Parkin Clough leads up to Win Hill, a total ascent of some 300m in little over one Kilometer. The path, such that it is, is the old boundary wall running up the side of the stream which tumbles down the hillside. Parkin Clough is a narrow V shaped gorge cut by the stream, with steep sides, you would not want to slip down. It is very slippery under foot in wet weather as you are walking along what remains of the wall, with some high stepping required in places to get the thighs and calfs burning.
The climb up Parkin Clough is something of a test piece for fitness, the test being to make it to the top in the shortest time, the quickest I have heard of is 12 minutes unladen and a little over 15 minutes with full hill kit. The test for lesser mortals is to make it to the top without stopping. Ascending to the summit begins at the foot of Parkin Clough by the Peak and Northern Footpath Society signpost and ends when the hand touches the thoughtfully placed triangulation pillar on the top of Win Hill. The views across to the Upper Derwent Valley and along the skyline to Kinder Scout and Bleaklow make the effort worthwhile.