Oker Hill Trig & Beyond

Oker Hill is one of my favourite local fell running destinations. Oker Hill is a relatively small hill that extends from the side of a larger bank. It sits between Darley Bridge and Wensley, Or if you’re  heading on the back road from Matlock, just above the Hamlet of Snitterton.

It has a white painted trig point that makes it clearly visible from both high and low view- points around the Darley / Matlock area.

My usual route to the trig starts at the Church Inn, Church Town, Darley Dale, I follow the road around the corner past St Helen’s Church, turning immediate right over the fields past the dog kennels. Follow the path across the first field and you come to a broad arable field on the flood plain.

map-church-town-darley.jpg

darley-dale-church-town2.jpg

darley-dale-church-town.jpg

Head toward the Cricket ground and this will bring you out at Darley Bridge. Head over the Bridge and swing left down the lane called Wenslees. You’ll have the River Derwent on your left, just after the Water Treatment plant, take the stile through the fields on your right.oker-hill1.jpg
Most of the year, this field is boggy, expect wet feet, if you don’t have waterproof footwear. Fell runners do not care about such things, we welcome wet feet.

You’ll come to a small stile, go over and up the next field, it brings you out on a farm track called Flint Lane, Turn right, about 10 meters on your left, take the next stile and go up the next field. This field is steep and undulating. Depending on the time of year, there may be cattle or sheep in the field.  If you have a dog with you, ensure it’s on a lead to avoid spooking the livestock. I have been chased by bullocks in this field so beware.

As you climb to the top of the field there’s a gate on your right, keep going up, under the Hawthorne trees, and you’ll see the land on your left rise sharply. Up and up and you’ll come to what looks like a little ski slope. If you’re fit, you can run up this in one go. If not, you know you need some training. It’s a short but steep hill and when you get to the top you reach the trig point and are rewarded with fantastic views.

south-darley

South Darley Church

oker-hill-trig1

Looking towards Wensley

I really like this little route because it gives you a reward, without killing you in the process. A relatively easy trig with great views, but you still have to make a bit of effort.

oker-hill-trig2

After you’ve caught your breath and taken in the view, head along the undulating path toward’s the big tree, you might spot a rabbit or two if you’re lucky.  At the Big Sycamore tree, there is a little shrine, I don’t know the detail behind it, but someone either loved this place or lost their life here.

oker-hill-tree.jpg

Now Follow the path past the tree, through the scrub and you’ll come out on the other side of Oker, to your left is an old derelict barn and your way back.

oker-hill-barn

Oker Hill, Head down toward the barn.

Head down toward the barn, you can now turn right into Oker and take the bottom route or head left and you’ll be heading back the way you came, just slightly lower down the hill.
Look for the shard.  The shard is just my name for a sharp pointed guidepost on the path, resembling it’s more modern, London counterpart.

oker-hill-shard-guidepost

All you have to do now is follow the path, you’ll come out at the foot of the steep incline up to the trig. Go back down, retracing your steps and back to the pub for a well deserved drink.

Share & Enjoy

If you liked this blog, please share it on social media, using the buttons below the post.

If you wish to use any images from this post ( or any others on the blog, you are free to do so, but please credit me by linking to the page you take the images from.)

To link to this article use this code: <a href=”https://atideswellman.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/oker-hill-trig-beyond/”>Oaker Hill – Tideswellman</a>

Download the Route. map-oker-hill.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Alport Castles

Alport Castles is a geological feature situated in the Alport Valley in Northern Derbyshire.
I first learned of it from an image I saw online. I decided that I had to pay it a visit as soon as I could. When planning Fell run routes, I always try to add a stunning Peakland feature into my routes.

The ‘Castles’ are mounds of gritstone which, are remnants of an ancient landslip. As you head down the Valley you can see them towering over the valley below. In a certain light, the rocky outcrops look like ruined castles.

A Short Steep Fell Race Route

I parked my car on the Snake Pass and headed down the road, turning off at a farm by the roadside. I took the track through the farmyard and followed it for about a mile and a half down the farm track.alport-castles-map

About half a mile into the run, I came across some old farm machinery from a bygone era. It’s hard to imagine that this machinery would onece have been so vital to a farmer’s work.

alport-castles-machinery

All along the hedgerow, there were temporary signs, informing walkers that work was going on to restore and maintain the natural habitats of the valley.

Further down the track, I came to Alport Castles Farm. The farm is beautifully isolated, a real haven for those seeking peace. It was also once the home of a famous Suffragette, Hannah Mitchell

alport-castles-farmThere was a ladder stile here and a path that wandered down to the river. I paused for a few minutes to watch a pair of Chaffinches play in the branches of the trees before heading over the bridge and up the rocky track, toward my goal. The steep path went up and up weaving between two streams. I soon reached a small plateau, before another steep climb curving round to the right. Here an official sign for Alport Castles told me that I was definitely on the right track.

I clambered over a couple of grassy mounds, finding myself in a tight gully strewn with boulders.  I knew this was just the start of the landslip and that the best was yet to come.

Alport Castles

alport-castles1

Alport Castles Boulders

Alport Castles Rocky Gully

The largest feature is called “The Tower”, It’s a large Gritstone stack, Isolated from the rest of the landslip, And there it was. As I reached the top of the gulley the splendour of “The Tower” hit me, it was just as impressive as all the pictures I’d seen.

The Tower

Alport Castles Tower

Wandering up the bank onto a grassy plateau, long tussocks of dry grass made it pretty tricky going. I inspected some of the smaller landslips,  before heading down towards “The Tower”.  The size of some of the stones that had fallen from the cliffside was quite worrying, I moved swiftly, in case one of these monstrous rocks should fall on me and send me to meet my maker.

Alport Castles The Tower

I decided I’d eat my lunch at the top of “The Tower”, If I could manage to climb up there.  It doesn’t look too tall on the photos, but when you are half way up, you realise that a fall might just kill you.

Climbing alport Castles

I managed to get about half-way up when hunger overcame me. I found a nice flat rock and got stuck into my Cheese & Pickle sandwiches.

Climbing up Alport Castles

Whilst I was resting, I sat and watched Ravens soaring overhead. Their distinctive calls were oddly soothing. I have seen a definite increase in the places that these beautiful birds inhabit in the Peak District.

Alport Castles Walk

Eventually, I managed to find a way around the stack and work my way up to the top. From there, I continued to watch and listen to the Ravens, and was lucky enough to get close to one that landed near to me. I even watched them mob and drive off a bird that looked like a Peregrine Falcon, but I couldn’t be 100% sure.

top of Alport Castles

If you fancy a fairly easy walk/run, with a good climb, then I’d definitely recommend a visit to Alport Castles. It has everything. A good firm track, wildlife, birds and fantastic views.

Have you been to Alport Castles? How was it for you, leave a comment below.

On Stanage Edge

A Poem by Tideswellman. Feb 2015

On Stanage Edge, a great brown sea of Heather and Gorse, the moor, rushes up to Stanage Edge and stumbles over the many heads of the rock face.

The many heads of Stanage Edge

The earnest facade of timeless rock shines out her many colours, standing proud in the cold light of winter, ripe with the shape nature has provided.

Stanage Edge Colours

The wind whistles and whips round, and when she wants to be, is as warm as a country girl, who flirting, tickling here and there, planting warm breathy kisses upon the nape of your neck. Yet when her mood changes, she can be a wild and icy harridan, who could kill a man without pause for reflection, as she screams between the boulders.

Stanage Edge Boulders

Clouds, never far away, hang in the air, waiting to swoop and shroud the rocks in silky mist, forever changing, and rearranging the feel of the landscape.

Low Cloud on Stanage Edge

Here and there, Rusty brooks bring forth the life blood of the moor, Water, a murderous colour stained red with Peat. Like a gentle, liquid knife it slowly cuts through the moor and rock alike.

Stanage Brook

As ramblers struggle over boulders squelch in bright black mud, a Jurassic sound stalks them, the Grouse laugh like naughty children as they play hide and seek with worried, wary walkers. stopping, peering as they try to pinpoint the sound.
Walkers on Stanage Edge

Cuts and crags, nooks and caves call to people curious to know the moor, to try her, to own her, yet the scale of this fortress of wilderness swallows and humbles both man and beast, man cannot own this, nor digest this visual feast.

Nooks and Cranies stanage-gapRobin Hoods Cave - Stanage Edge

Climbers on StanageWith senses overwhelmed a spell is cast that compels the moorland guest to return for pilgrimages uncounted.

Stanage Edge will make you return again and again

If You Like this Post, Why not Link to it. With this code

On Stanage Edge by Tideswellman

————
Browse more of my Photos.

Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014

Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014 was the third race that I have missed through injury.
I can also say that whilst I’m gutted about not being able to run at the moment, I’m secretly happy that I didn’t have to run in the 30+ degree heat that we’ve been having this summer.

Whenever I’m not running, and can get to the race to support Tideswell RC, I take my camera along and try to snap team member and other runners in action. Sharing is caring and all that.

The mother of all Hills

I thought I’d check out the route before the race kicked off, as I wasn’t familiar with the route and fancied finding a good vantage point to take pictures.

The route looks fairly gentle to begin with, that is until you hit Stoney Middleton “High St”, I’m sure it got it’s name because, well, it’s high, very bloody high.

My little car, found it tough going so bing a frail human being huffing and puffing up it in the beating sun would be pretty tough going.

Running Groups Well Represented

The race itself started on Stoney Middleton Playing fields. All the runners started arriving and there were plenty of running clubs represented. The ones I knew were,

  • Tideswell RC
  • Buxton RC
  • Goyt Valley Striders
  • Steel City Striders
  • Fat Boys
  • Totley
  • Ripley
  • Matlock
  • Sheffield
  • Dark Peak

A few of the teams were kind enough to let me take pics of them before the race.

The Race got underway from between the football goalposts.

Runners line up at Stoney Fell Race

Lining up

Stoney Fell Race Starts

The race begins

A quick loop up the length of the field and down to the style to exit the field. Runners started off quick, to be first over the stile and to get a bit of a start for that hill.

runners at Stoney Middleton

Runners rush to reach the 1st stile

Due to the high number of runners though, the race was at a standstill within a minute as there was a near instant bottleneck at the narrow stile.

Bottleneck at Stile

Bottleneck at Stile

This part was the only negative for me, but these things happen, and without issues like this, races would have nothing to improve on in coming years.

Within minutes, all the runners were off up the main road and heading toward “The Hill of Doom”. God pity their souls.

Being crocked, I wandered up the path and over the nearby fields to find a couple of decent vantage points for photos. Eventually I settled on a nice spot down in a cool Valley just before the runners had their final ascent. I had a friendly marshal for company, and proceeded to prattle away to her whilst we waited for the pack to arrive.

Sadly, the pics were not the best, I must have had the camera on the wrong setting, but they are passable. So here they are.

Please leave a comment.

All pics are free to use and download, but do please credit me “Tideswellman” by linking back to this post.

Related Links

* All the photos can be found on my flickr Gallery here.

* Fell Running Fox – Stoney Fell Race Blog

Hathersage Fell Race 2014

I entered my first Fell Race last night. It was a really hard route, but I managed to finish and I wasn’t last. I had previously only run the Chatsworth 10k, and the Tideswell Inter Inns Run. (5k). I was a bit nervous about doing a fell to be honest, because I’ve been suffering from Shin Splints for a while now, and didn’t think they could take it.  The shins held out fine though, in fact I’d say the Fell race was LESS painful than a full road run.

I’m completely amazed at how good every other runner is though.  Big or small, old or young, there are some seriously dedicated runners out there, and I salute you all.

 

The Hathersage Gala Fell race was always going to be tough, knowing the terrain around there. I enjoy walking in that part of the Peak, so knew it would be challenging.

Tideswell RC at Hathersage Fell Race


All photos borrowed from Facebook with thanks to Accelerate, Andrew Watkins & Kathryn Brindley.

I finished right near the back, but that’s fine for now. Thanks go to Nigel Jeff, who was spotting myself and Collette, and to Ben Brindley, who, running back, spurred me on for the last mile, and helped me attain a pretty fast sprint finish (According to Strava). Happy days indeed, I can’t wait for more races now.

Hathersage Gala Fell Race Results

See the HatherSage Fell Race 2014 Results Page.

Accelerate – Facebook Gallery of the Whole Race