It was a blustery day, and the rain was battering the van on the way through to Edale. Henry didn’t feel 100% on a hind hoof that morning (I suspected an abscess brewing) so I borrowed Rocket a friends Welsh D for the trip instead. This wasn’t the day to take a horse that wasn’t 100%.
Edale is a beautiful town in the north of the Peak District, unfortunately due to road works we struggled to get to the car park in Edale which was our original plan so we detoured and went to park in Castleton visitor centre car park instead. Both of these towns are at the base of Mam Tor ‘the mother mountain’ which sets a beautiful back drop to the quaint stone houses and pubs.
The accent was up an old disused road, the A625 (which in itself is quite a climb)! The road was closed in 1979 due to a slow moving landslide and has warped and twisted over the years and at points is falling off the side of the cliff. It’s a popular walking route, and we were joined on our hike by walkers, cyclists and school children.
The majority of this ride is a climb and is not for the faint hearted (or a horse who’s unfit) you’re riding through desolate parts of the peaks where there is nothing, no people and no phone signal. I don’t doubt that with more planning you could choose a more well trodden route, but the route we chose over the mountain and back again, for the most part looked fairly untouched by anyone other than farmers.
It took about 6 hours over and back, there’s some low land places to stop for lunch and the majority of the trails are well marked providing you’ve had a look at a map before but there’s nothing really in the way of a pub or a shop that we could see. A word of warning, this ride is a much smarter idea in good weather as the mountain is rather brutal, my hands have never been that cold before! Remember to tell someone where you’re going and your planned route before you set off, it wouldn’t be hard to lose track of yourself.
Scary talk aside, the atmosphere and the views from Mam Tor are stunning, there really is nothing like it and the terrain is super good for your horse. I felt like it was a challenge for even rocket, who is super strong and sure footed.