The Great Ridge mam tor to lose hill, PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK

Arguably the finest landscape in the Peak District the Great Ridge runs from Mam Tor to Lose Hill via Hollins Cross and Back Tor on which stands the iconic lone tree, much photographed by myself and thousands of others over the years. Rushup Edge, impressive enough in its own right, misses out in this context as it is dissected from the ridge at Mam Nick, the little back road running down to Barber Booth and Edale. MAP

Winter on the Great Ridge
Winter sunrise and the Hope Valley

From the trig point on Mam Tor to the summit of Lose Hill is around an hour's walk with only the steep but short climb up to Back Tor causing any difficulties. The rest of the ridge is fairly easy going rewarding the walker with superb views on both sides including the Hope Valley and Edale Valley beyond which lies the Kinder plateau and the highest point in the region. Only the Hope Valley cement works causes any visual irritation but even this, on occasion, can look beautiful enough. Especially in heavy mist!

Misty Back Tor and the iconic lone tree

Looking east towards Lose Hill (with Win Hill in the distance) is a wonderful viewpoint at sunrise with a long ridge fence providing a near perfect leading line towards the clear and obvious subject. Add in a little mist and frost and any photographer is in wonderland if, rarely, alone! Only the earliest of starts, preferably mid-week, will give you any chance of filling your frames without tripod legs getting in the way. Having said that there is plenty of room up there and more than one possible composition; you don't always have to include that gate!

The sun rises from behind Lose Hill and a temperature inversion fills the valleys
The inspiring landscape from Mam Tor to Lose Hill
Rhapsody in blue - and that lone tree again

Looking the other way, facing west towards Mam Tor is a little more difficult (I find) to photograph well and I've tried many times at sunset with limited success. A popular viewpoint, however, often featuring car light trails to accentuate the effect, is the scene looking towards Rushup Edge from the north slopes of Mam Tor and including the snaking back road to Edale. At sunset.

Rushup Edge at sunset

With easy access onto Mam Tor and only a few steep steps up to the trig point itself the Great Ridge is a perfect introduction to the outdoors for youngsters and an adventure with picnic thrown in will long be remembered. Choose your time wisely; an evening mid-week stroll taking in sunset will often be epic and relatively undisturbed.

Shades of grey and a journey to the dark side

For the romantically inclined, a very early start for sunrise is the stuff of movies. One such morning, alone with my camera on Back Tor ridge a young couple appeared out of the incredible mists that I was so enjoying. The girl asked me if I would take a picture using her phone. I tried, failed and duly offered to take a 'proper' picture with my camera. I enquired as to why they were up there so early and it turned out that he'd just proposed marriage to her on Mam Tor (at 6am) and they were heading to the summit of Lose Hill to celebrate with cold sausage sandwiches made the evening before!

Hollywood's got nothing on this story!
Flawless. Footprint-free winter morning on the Great Ridge - a first!
Memorable morning on the Great Ridge
September morning and the Peak District is filled with mists...

See more of my photographs of the Great Ridge, Peak District and to learn more about the wonders of the Peak District including where to stay and more, please visit the Let's Stay website featuring hundreds of accommodation listings for the area.

The fabulously located Losehill House hotel and Samuel Fox Country Inn at nearby Bradwell are highly recommended places to stay and eat. Also the Old Hall Hotel in Hope and The Cheshire Cheese in Hope both offer good value rooms, real ales and good pub food.

The dawn of a new day
Created By
Michael Cummins
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Peak District based landscape and interior photographer.

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