Chome & Parkhouse Hills, White Peak

28 05 2018

Wed 18 Apr 2018
One reason I’d decided to take my first ‘UK Breakaways’ holiday at Buxton in the White Peak in Derbyshire was that I’d seen photos of two completely astounding hills. I studied the map and googled where you did them from and, yes, they were near Buxton – about 8 miles away in fact. These were my number ONE priority for the trip!

Photos a mix of my film camera and Richard’s digi point-and-shoot(marked)
Unfortunately, for these two testing hills, my leg was completely terrible – in fact, it played up for the whole of our Buxton trip. That meant that, for the severe Parkhouse Hill, I ended up ascending on my hands and knees for a lot of it and descending much of it on my bum!

I also had to descend much of Chrome on my bum too – swearing all the way – not the fault of Chrome as it was a lovely, easy hill – completely the fault of my non-working and exceedingly painful leg. Talk about frustration…

We drove to Hollinsclough where t’internet reports had said it was best to start. As the lovely little village has good parking and is only about a mile from the gap between the two hills, it was the best place for my bad leg to start – I don’t think you can park any nearer and there’s just enough warm-up on the flat.

We started down a road past the primary school and, in around quarter of a mile, reached a signposted track (to Chrome Hill) turning off left by a house… This was dry and hard and I just knew I’d have leg-trouble coming back!


The beautiful Chrome Hill from the track (Richard’s photo)

We’d already seen the amazing outline of Parkhouse Hill from the drive in – I nearly crashed the car – what a spiky beast! I said we should do that first and go up the difficult end which is marked by an awesome pinnacle (grade 2 if you want to scramble it – a bit dangerous I’d say with all the slippery grass).


Both R Wood

I had a little scout round the end to see if we should go up the ‘back’ side which was more grassy to start. I decided that wouldn’t be playing the game however so took us up a steep and eroded zig-zag gully. This path went up to after the first crag after the pinnacle and we didn’t want to miss that out so we raked across to the gap by the pinnacle.


What an outline (R Wood)


My photo of the in-your-face pinnacle – Chrome Hill behind

I’d originally toyed with the idea of an attempt on the pinnacle from the gap but, on seeing it close-up and knowing how bad my leg was, decided firmly against it. We therefore turned to tackle the steep, sloping, damp and slippery limestone steps up the side of the crag. It was at this point we realised we’d made a huge mistake and brought poles. Poles are damned dangerous on this hill – leave them in the car!

We ended up me having to throw my impeding pole up onto the ridge (I hoped it wouldn’t plunge straight down the other side it was so narrow) in order to make any progress. Richard told me off for bringing it (although he had his). I had to use hands and feet up this section and the damp limestone all sloped outwards over the drop – horrible really!

Still, this section was soon over and nothing like as bad as the side of the next crag. We both had our hands so full for these sections that neither of took photos. My leg wouldn’t work at all and I spent quite some time stuck on this section. I could see what to do but the bridging move required from one of the only grippable sections across to the next was something my leg just couldn’t/wouldn’t do!

I stuck for ages and Richard had to take my pole off me – I couldn’t throw it high enough to reach the ridge here as it was a tall section. I dithered around looking for handholds – I’d found maybe two on the whole ascent so far but nothing just here. My leg simply wouldn’t comply so, in the end, I had to resort to flat hands and my knees – the only way to get any grip. I knew I didn’t want to reverse this section and wondered how bad it was below me if I peeled off – I thought I just might!

Suddenly, I was past that section and did a rapid hands and feet up to the ridgeline – phew! From here it was straightforward but very steep…


Obviously not my photo

Near the summit, there was a little narrow ridge which I half-heartedly attempted. I soon decided my leg was too bad to balance safely and anyway, I couldn’t have got down off this end (Richard’s photo)…

We went round on grass to the summit…

My photo of the steep and narrow ascent!

It was a bit windy on the summit and I was eager to tackle the descent so we set off more or less straightaway…


Richard’s photo looking back to the summit (above) my photo looking along the ridge to the steep descent (below)

We had a brief fight about which side of the hill to return (after I’d shuffled down the steep bits on my bum as my leg wouldn’t hold on the steep ground). I won and we turned left just by a tree to traverse the back of the hill on a sheep path in the grass – saved a lot of descent that. The pinnacle loomed ominously on our return…


My photo with Chrome behind above, Richard’s below…


My photo of Chrome – I thought it was a truly beautiful hill

We crossed the road and set off by the cattle grid for the signposted path up Chrome Hill – I couldn’t stop looking back and photographing the amazing, gnarly Parkhouse though – Derbyshire’s Matterhorn from here!

But it was really pretty ahead (my photo)

I kept clicking away behind me as we left the mini-ridge starting Chrome for the main ascent…

My best Parkhouse shot below I think…

I then lumbered up the straight forward wide grassy ridge, now way behind Richard who took a photo of me taking a photo of him…


his above, mine below…

He was waiting for me quite a while at a certain spot – I was enchanted by Chrome’s Pinnacle – which is what he was waiting for me to see (my photos) – no, I didn’t clamber onto it although, this one you could…

We reached the grassy summit and had a little rest – we noticed two people coming up behind us. I was still fascinated with Parkhouse which looks really small from here…

The onward route, ‘The Dragon’s Back’ looked really tasty (my photos)…

We set off down to tackle the delightful ridge… however, my leg refused to play at ALL along here and I spent most of the time slithering down stuff on my bum. This was a shame as it completely put off the following couple who thought the route must have been hard – sorry if you’re reading this folks – it was just my totally non-operating leg! 😦

There was a cute window with a narrow ridge across its top – we both took photos – Richard’s is obvious…

Richard’s photo looking back from half-way along the ridge…

The next point of interest was the last hump on the ridge which had a small cave in it…


my photo above, Richard’s below

Richard had a scout ahead here to see whether we should go down under Chrome hill on the lower (village) side or my preferred route of the grassy, gently-descending back path… We decided my route in the end (or I did). I took a photo coming back under the Dragon’s Back…

The path eventually started a non-descending traverse across the ever-steepening flank of the hill – I really didn’t fancy this and it would mean a largish reascent to the ridge at some point. Se we retraced our steps slightly and headed down more sketchy paths for this tree…

We still had a short ascent back onto the ridge – just as you pass through a wall. Just before we finished the descent back to the road, I took my final shot of Parkhouse and ran out of film…

Richard took these on our return – I asked for the first one as I loved the ‘gateposts to Chrome Hill’


Awww!


Great photo of his looking back to Parkhouse at the river crossing (there’s a bridge)

On the return to the village, my leg completely seized up just by the end of the track so I sat on the chap’s wall for a while. I then managed to stagger back to the car where there were nice benches to rest on while changing your boots…

Before we went back to Buxton, we decided that, as it was such a lovely hot day now, we should go to the nearby village of Longnor. This was also a tiny village and also had good parking… it also had 4 pubs! 3 tea-rooms, a general store and a fish and chip shop! What a village – I told Richard he can move there 😉

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15 responses

6 06 2018
tessapark1969

Nice report. Ages since I’ve been to Derbyshire. Sorry to hear about the leg though.

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8 06 2018
mountaincoward

It was superb for a few weeks after that walk but now is worse than ever 😦

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29 05 2018
Julie

Wow what an amazing place, didn’t know this existed….. Looks like you had a great day… ☺

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30 05 2018
mountaincoward

I think I probably first saw these hills on a fellow blogger’s site – perhaps ChrissieDixie

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29 05 2018
George

We did Chrome Hill a few weeks ago. Absolutely magnificent. We didn’t attempt Parkhouse, but discussed returning to give it a go. After reading your fine account, I’m determined to do so.

We did sample the Longnor pubs though!

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29 05 2018
mountaincoward

A dry spell like this would be a great time to do Parkhouse – it was the fact that the limestone was damp and slippery which was the main problem – it would be much better with dry rock.

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29 05 2018
George

Yes, indeed. We hadn’t realised it’s a public right of way at the time so we did Chrome Hill as part of a bigger loop of the valley. It took us through the village of Earl Sterndale, which has a genuinely macabre pub sign. It’s called the Quiet Woman and apparently relates to one of the original landladies, who was beheaded by the locals for being a gossip. Doesn’t exactly convey warmth and hospitality – hence why we headed on for the friendlier looking hostelries in Longnor.

Keen to go back and do Parkhouse Hill though.

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29 05 2018
mountaincoward

Yeah I’ve heard about the Quiet Woman pub sign – sounds gruesome! Parkhouse used to be very restricted of access but is okay now. To be honest, if you’ve got a hill like that on your farm, there’s no way people are going to stay off it so you may as well be pragmatic!

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29 05 2018
George

Very true!

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29 05 2018
Blue Sky Scotland

Two fantastic hills I’ve never heard of and well done going for them. It’s weird how the more crippled you get Carol the more you seem to pick scrambling slopes and difficulties …..you’re doing more hill walks than me now.

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29 05 2018
mountaincoward

I’m not – I’ve been very jealous of the bigger trips you’ve been on recently and the ‘proper’ mountains

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28 05 2018
Paul Shorrock

Great report Carol, there are some real gems in the Peak District. I’ll be taking a look that way, hopefully this summer.

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28 05 2018
mountaincoward

Thanks – we’ll be heading back there if/when my leg gets fixed for another go at those I think

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28 05 2018
John Bainbridge

Grand pictures – an area from my childhood.

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28 05 2018
mountaincoward

You seem to have lived everywhere!

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