My first ever walk in the peak district involved overambitious mileage and badly blistered feet , honestly why I caught the bug I’ll never know. Well actually it’s because of places like this that soar the spirit on high like pidgins carrying you aloft……..
er sorry got carried away for a moment , anyway this is a gem of a rock formation that has two pillars of rock separated by a gap of about 20 feet. all I can say is robin hood must have had long legs to stride that . Personally I thought more of King Arthur and his knights than robin hood and I was expecting to find a sword stuck in the rock for me to pull out (might tell you that story one day) .
I can’t remember what its made of either but I think its grit stone . Nearby just in the woods a little way down lies the hermits cave which is worth a little visit and if your lucky you might get a glimpse of deer through the trees as I did.
Elton is the nearest village with Winster also nearby and this is all located at the southern east end of the peak district with the limestone trail running close by.
Unfortunately the youth hostel at Elton as long since closed so matlock could be nearest if you need accommodation of this kind , although plenty of B and B’s and campsites should be close by.
Oh and another memorable thing about this spot as I sat looking at my sore feet a group of walkers stopped by for conversation. Some of them expressed sympathy and kind words. One of them a old grizzled fellow looked at them for a moment and said “tha should piss on them lad , that’ll toughen um up” .
I got slightly obsessed with visiting well dressings some years hence . I first saw one in ashford in the water some twenty odd years ago and fell in love with them. They are really fleeting pieces of art and workmanship lovingly created each year by a large number of villages throughout the peak district in the summer months and last at most depending on wheather about ten days.
Heres a brief few of the photos , I took then. Incidentally I’ll redo my article on how they create the wells and their history in another post .
(Well at least you don’t have to watch my slide collections anymore)
Oak apple day is a fabulous celebration of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 of king charles the second . Its still celebrated in castleton one of the larger villages in the peak district though I suspect that not a lot of people know why in earnest. Its always held on may 29th by the way and if you go to it make sure you get there early to park up before the roads are closed (usually anytime before 4 is fine)
Certainly its something that everyone should be party to at some point. It mainly consists of lots of parading , music and dancing with the point of focus being the garland ceremony .As part of the crowd you will also be offered sprigs of oak to wear .
The garland is a four foot mound of flowers that is worn and I do mean worn by the “King” upon his head whilst riding a horse dressed in clothes from the Stuart period . He’s also accompanied by the queen or Lady similarly dressed in period costume and a brass band playing .
These two proceed to ride the bounds of the village stopping at various locations along the way whereupon the accompanying brass band plays or dancers dance before setting off again.
It sounds weird I know but the atmosphere is amazing .
The ceremony by the way is hosted by one of the pubs in the village and this changes every year . The pub that is hosting is usually the one where the ceremony all starts from and were the garland is hoisted up on to the kings head.
After riding the bounds the king rides up to the church whereupon the garland is removed and hoisted up to the top of the church and put on display. Further dancing by children and I suspect drinking by adults takes place along with maypole dancing in the village square.
The Peak District national park is located between the industrial towns of Manchester , Sheffield and Derby and covers an area of about 550 sq miles .
Its borders were picked to exclude most large towns from inside its bounds with the main exception being Bakewell . It has two distinctive regions mainly based on geological features and these are the white peak (think limestone country) which lies at the southern end and the dark peak at the northern end ( think peat bogs and gritstone ) .
One thing it is not is a featureless , deserted wilderness . It comprises many dales , farmlands and upland terrains as well as a living and breathing communiy of people , wildlife and and customs unique to it. It also contains some of the most beautifull features in the world , is a mecca for walkers , cyclists , hang gliders and infact a whole host of other things too much to mention in this short piece . All in all its just wonderfull.
I’ve had this website on the peak district national park for a number of years doing nothing with it really apart from a few articles . Having thought about it the best option was to move away from a traditional menu based website and convert it to a blog site , which is better suited to my few and far between posts . Therefore everything here has been rewritten with that in mind . Hope you enjoy it better than my previous woe full efforts .
(Onmetodd is a six foot six inch man mountain with an eight pack and chiseled features , oh and he daydreams a lot)