Mountain of the month March 2019: Mam Tor and the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, Peak District, UK

After a couple of snowy outings for #mountainofthemonth in January and February spring had definitely arrived as we frolicked like new born lambs in the sun around the Peak District and Sheffield.The Peak District lies between Manchester, Sheffield and Derby and ideally for us is less than 3 hours drive from Bristol. Its landscapes are unique and beautiful (on the right day).

The area has mixed memories for me as it was where I spent many weekends in my teens lugging 20kg of kit around in the name of personal development and UCAS forms for my Duke of Edinburgh Award. My memories of the Dark Peak area from this are particularly mixed; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a view from the Kinder Scout plateau and one year I developed blisters so bad that I had to cut my socks off and spend my grandparents golden wedding celebrations in a pair of natty clogs.

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Already a beloved addition to the walking library

However, with maturity and more control over the activities for the weekend my new memories of the area are only positive. Saturday was spent on a walk partially inspired by a route in my new favorite book (see pic above). We climbed steadily up from Hope towards Lose Hill, after a fantastic false summit we made it to the true peak and drank in the view along the Mam Tor ridge, over to Kinder Scout plateau and east towards Win Hill. It was too enticing not to continue along the ridge towards Mam Tor and the walk was made all the better for the many paragliders launching from the Mam Tor summit. The path was busy with a wide range of people enjoying the outdoors; old and young, groups and solitary walkers, trail runners and car park potterers. We even passed a few Duke of Edinburgh groups to aid the reminiscence. A highlight of the walk was exploring the rocky sided dale overlooked by Pevril Castle.

Before long we were back in civilization and concluded our walk by joining up two pubs, both with very similar cheesy names. We lunched (on cheese based meals obviously) at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Castleton and had a celebratory end of walk pint at The Cheshire Cheese in Hope. Both lovely welcoming old pubs with great ales on tap. It has been suggested that the name is so common in Derbyshire as both pubs stand on the route used to carry salt from Cheshire to Yorkshire. Payment for an overnight stay at the pub could be made in cheese!

We had chosen to visit on this specific weekend as it was the annual Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (SHAFF). I’d never been to Sheffield apart from a university open day many moons ago and had been hearing great things. A city that brands itself as ‘The Outdoor City’ sounded right up my street. The SHAFF takes place in the Showroom Cinema and include activities all over the city. Films are bundled together so in each 90 minute screening you might get to see 4-5 films. All the films we saw were great quality and some stand out favorites included A Mile and Hour and The UK in 100 seconds.

On Sunday we explored the city a little soaking up the spring sunshine which lit up the street art and gorgeous town hall. We had a delightful breakfast at the Site Gallery Cafe.

In the very short time we were there Sheffield seemed a fantastic city, made all the more wonderful by being less than 20 minutes from the open moorland of the Peak District. I can’t wait to plan another visit.

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