Trek to see the sunrise at Owler Tor and then hike Stanage Edge on the same day…on the 1st of Jan…how does that sound for starting a new year?!
How did you celebrate the New Year? Were you partying with friends, spending time with family, have plans cancelled thanks to Covid, or just chilling after a busy Christmas week??
Sneha spent New Year’s Eve partying at a friend’s house and was planning a quiet New Year’s Day to recover, while Paul had a quiet NYE planning an early morning trip to the Lake District for a New Year’s Day hike.
After a few joking WhatsApp messages amongst the usual New Year’s best wishes, those New Year’s Day plans soon changed though… as Paul got up to leave at 6am, he had a message and some missed calls from Sneha… pick me up on your way!
Either she’s still awake and drunk from last night, or the Lake District hike sounded too good to miss out on!
As we’re starting the drive she asks what time we’ll be back… well it’s a 2 hour drive there, a 3 to 4 hour hike, and then a 2 hour drive back. Add in some time for food stops, and probably between 3pm to 4pm.
“Ohhhh… I can’t do that then!” Sneha says. “Ermmm… what do you mean??” Paul’s asks. “I thought we’d be back for 12pm-ish”. Maybe she is still drunk from last night… how are we going to fit 4 hours of driving, 4 hours of hiking, plus stopping time, into just 5 hours?!
We’re about 30 seconds away from joining the motorway towards Manchester so we need a quick decision… does Sneha go back home and Paul carry on with his plan, or do we do something else instead??
“We can go to the Peak District instead… that’s only an hour away”… Paul says as he takes a late exit to avoid the motorway and head back in the opposite direction!
In true TrovenTrippers style Sneha gets on her phone and makes a hastily arranged alternative plan… we’ll be there in an hour, sunrise is in about an hour, so let’s go to the Surprise Viewpoint at Owler Tor in the Hope Valley.
We park in the National Trust car park (postcode S32 2JA for your Sat Nav) and it’s only a couple of minutes walk to the point on the opposite side of the road.
Having come prepared for an active hike in the mid-morning sun, we’re not exactly dressed to stand in the early morning darkness… it’s pretty cold and very windy!
It’s also quite cloudy so as we figure out which way is East, we’re not sure we’ll be able to see the sunrise anyway! But after a few minutes, as if the clouds hear us, they break up just as the sun starts to appear above the surrounding hills, and the sky lights up with a beautiful orange glow!
There’s a few other early morning risers enjoying the view too… the first sunrise of 2022… and it’s stunning!!
It’s also a cool place to explore… if you read Paul’s recent Brimham Rocks blog it reminds us of there… strange rock formations, some seeming to defy gravity as they balance precariously ontop of each other, creating holes and gaps you can duck into and see the surrounding landscape framed in different and unique ways.
As the sun climbs higher the people start to disappear… either off on their hikes or back to their cars… and we need to decide what to do now.
We go back to the car to warm up and have another search of the nearby area… just a couple of miles away is Stanage Edge, one of the famous hiking and climbing spots of the Peak District. So part 2 of the days itinerary sorted!
We take a wrong turn out of the carpark and take the long way round to Hollin Bank car park (postcode S32 1BR), but it turns out to be a nice drive through the villages of Grindleford and Hathersage… both look like perfect places to base yourself if you want to stay in the area for a night or two.
We follow the path winding its way up from the back of the car park, through Stanage Plantation, to the top of Stanage Edge… and if we thought it was windy earlier at Owler Tor, we certainly weren’t ready for this!!!
The wind is so strong at the top it’s a struggle to stand up, and even sitting down it’s tough to catch our breath as the wind batters us… certainly blowing any hangover cobwebs from last night away!
It’s not exactly a prime spot to stop for coffee and cake, so we walk along the ridge for about 2km before descending down another path to Hooks Carr car park, and complete the 4km loop back to the car.
The walk along the ridge is amazing… the wind batters us the whole way, but the views out over the Hope Valley and Dark Peak moorlands are stunning. And at one point, there’s a small waterfall being blown by the wind backwards up to the top, giving everyone a quick shower as they pass that point of the rocks!
On the walk back along the road between the two carparks we see one of the annoyances in beauty spots like this… people parked on the grass verge, right in front of a sign saying don’t park on the verge, all to save themselves a couple of pounds parking fee (which goes towards the maintenance of the facilities which they undoubtedly used too)!
We finally have our coffee and cake breakfast in the shelter of the car before we head home… it wasn’t quite the New Year’s Day plan either of us had… but it’s been a great surprise morning to see the first sunrise of 2022!
Happy New Year everyone, we hope you all have a better and happier 2022, and here’s hoping for the World to return to normality and give us all lots of opportunities to Explore more, Treasure more, and Share more!
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