Peak District Easter weekend

With my London Marathon run only three weeks away, Easter Sunday was planned for months as my longest pre-marathon run (and thus my longest ever run). I settled on a run along the Peak Forest Trail and Tissington Trail in the Peak District, and we built a long weekend away around the run, finding a nice holiday cottage in Wirksworth.


Lucy, Hetty and Katie were at the Edwinstow open show today, and dropped Lottie and me for a walk at Whatstandwell on the Cromford Canal.

Heading north along the Cromford Canal
Approaching Gregory Tunnel, just 72 metres long and fortunately with a towpath so we can walk through
On an aqueduct over the railway. Note the stop-planks in the canal to maintain the water level further up.
Approaching Leawood Aqueduct which heads off to the left under the swing bridge, while the short Lea Wood Branch (or Nightingale Arm) heads off to the right behind the ruined building.
Looking across the aqueduct to the chimney of Lea Wood Pump House (of which more later in the weekend)
Having crossed the swing bridge, a fuller view of Lea Wood Pump House
High Peak Junction, the junction of the canal and the Cromford and High Peak Railway, whose line can be seen disappearing through the tunnel/bridge beyond the yellow skip.
The railway climbed over 300 metres by means of four inclined planes, with wagons pulled up and lowered down on ropes.
Climbing Sheep Pasture Incline, going only fractionally slower than these cyclists behind me
Looking up Sheep Pasture Incline
Nearing the top
Looking down the incline with the warning to cyclists
The engine house at Sheep Pasture Top
At last on the level and we have an easy walk for a while
22 miles from somewhere
Steeple Grange Light Railway, built on the Killer’s Branch of the Cromford & High Peak Railway
After walking back to Wirksworth, I took a little wander down to the railway station.
People ready for a ride on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway down to Duffield.


And so when the next day came, the five of us headed to the railway station…

We had an enjoyable ride down the valley to Duffield and back.
We then had a separate trip in the guard’s van on the steep line up to Ravenstor – it’s just half a mile, but reaches a slope of 1 in 27.
Heading for Ravenstor
Here we are at the top
The passenger station here is new, being opened in 2015, on what was a mineral railway. From here the inclined plane continued up to reach the Cromford & High Peak Railway near the bottom of the Middleton Incline.


Today was the day for the long run. I’d planned to run from the top of Middleton Incline, with Hopton Incline to run up, but otherwise level to near Parsley Hay, and then downhill. I’d created a timetable so that Lucy and the dogs could know when to meet me at various points, to cheer me on and to pass me fresh supplies.

We had a little exploration, walking from the car park to the Engine House at the top of Middleton Incline
The starting point for my run
Looking down the slope – it’s not far to where I walked on Friday, and I had hoped to fill in the gap on Monday morning before we left for home, but heavy snow made that less attractive, so it sits waiting for another visit.
I initially had the railway almost to myself
There was the occasional patch of snow in a cutting, but otherwise it was just a few puddles to contend with on the easy going route.
Heading for the impressive embankment at Minninglow
Just short of Parsley Hay, and I’ve come along the High Peak trail on the right, and made a sharp about turn to head along the Tissington Trail, resupplied and watched by Lucy and Lottie as I turn for a wave goodbye for now.
Looking back along the Tissington Trail
The signal box at Hartington. After this I think I started to lose energy for taking photos, and the path, on an Easter Sunday, became increasingly busy with pedestrians and cyclists, none of whom seemed to cope well with me trying to run. I made it to Thorpe, 35 km from the start. I’d contemplated going a little further, and while I was rather weary I still had some energy left, but this was far enough, and Lucy met me and drove me, tired but content, back to the cottage.

Later that afternoon, I went out to visit engines in steam, first at Middleton Top, and then at Lea Wood.

At Middleton Top, the engine once pulled wagons up the long incline from the Cromford Canal
Watch the beams moving, and the wheel carrying a rope which would once have led outside to pull wagons up the slope.
At Lea Wood Pump House, which I walked past on Friday, the dark smoke shows the boiler is in action
The periodic pulses of water show that the engine is successfully lifting water from the River Derwent into the Cromford Canal
Not such a nice day as Friday, but interesting to see the pump house in action, and giving me the opportunity to cross the aqueduct and return along the other side of the canal for slightly different views.

A great holiday, managing to combine a range of our interests, cut slightly short on Monday morning by heavy snowfall which put paid to any ideas of a walk before heading south.

Leave a Reply