Five members met west of Castleton at the foot of the Winnats Pass. Conditions were damp, with low cloud, but not actually raining. The originally planned route was via Speedwell Cavern, but the high level of muddiness was not appealing so instead we walked up the old Mam Tor road to Treak Cliff Cavern. From there we took the steeply rising path which eventually levelled out at the Blue John Cavern. We noted the patches of snow still on the top of Mam Tor. We then headed to Windy Knoll, passing the impressive mouth of the cave, surrounded by notices warning of the danger of entering the cave. It was decided not to stop for a coffee break in the old quarry. Instead we headed southeast past Rowter Farm to join the bridleway heading east to Dirtlow Rake. We left the track at the site of the old Hollandtwine Mine, now filled in. The path took us downhill toward Bradwell, through fields connected by stiles, some more walker-friendly than others. We found a good lunch spot in the shelter of a wall, with good views towards Win Hill and Lose Hill, which were out of the clouds by that time. The walk continued to the top of Smalldale from where a detour took us to the a point on the rim of the limestone quarry serving the cement works, from where we could appreciate its width and depth, normally quite well hidden by trees. Diggers loaded the rocks into dumper trucks which were ferrying it to the crushing plant. We continued downhill to the outskirts of Bradwell where we turned left to reach Mich Low and took the public right of way through the extensive cement works to reach Pindale. The lane continued to Castleton and we walked through the village past Peak Cavern (now known as the Devil’s Arse) back to the car. Distance: 7.5 miles.
Andy & Rosy