Three peaks in upper Dovedale 17.05.2015

It’s often said that there are no peaks in the Peak District (cue lengthy explanation as to how the Peak District came to be so named).  However, this is in fact completely untrue and our route on this day was to take us over two of the best defined peaks in the Peak District – Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill, along with the nearby Hollins Hill, which although less shapely than the other two still makes a worthwhile and satisfying addition.

Leaving Earl Sterndale, it was surprisingly chilly for mid May and I soon had to pause to add en extra layer.  We headed up and over Hitter Hill, which provided early views of all three ‘peaks’.

Parkhouse and Chrome Hills from HItter Hill

From left to right: Parkhouse Hill, Chrome Hill and Hollins Hill

From below, Parkhouse Hill looks quite intimidating.  In fact, it is an easy climb on grass, and only takes around ten minutes.  In no time at all, we were enjoying far reaching views from the summit (1180 ft).

Approaching the summit of Parkhouse Hill

Approaching the summit of Parkhouse Hill

Chrome Hill from the summit of Parkhouse Hill

Chrome Hill from the summit of Parkhouse Hill

Descending from the summit via the west ridge, there are several options for easy grade 1 scrambling.  I must admit that I chose to bypass some of them as the wind was quite strong and I’m not as confident in my down-climbing ability!

Easy scrambling on the way down

Easy scrambling on the way down

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Not as scary as it looks!

Unfortunately, it’s necessary to descend all the way to valley level before the ascent of Chrome Hill begins.  It’s a slightly longer ascent to Chrome Hill, though it isn’t as steep as Parkhouse Hill.  The retrospective views to Parkhouse Hill and lower Dovedale are magnificent and provide a good excuse to pause on the way up.

Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill

Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill

Chrome Hill’s summit (1394 ft) is also a magnificent viewpoint.  It surprised me to discover just how much smaller Parkhouse Hill appeared to be.

Hollins Hill from Chrome Hill's summit

Hollins Hill from Chrome Hill’s summit

Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill's summit

Parkhouse Hill from Chrome Hill’s summit

There is also some easy scrambling on the descent from Parkhouse Hill, though it is less continuous and easier than on the latter.  We also found some intriguing rock features en route, including a natural arch and a cave.

Natural arch

Natural arch

More easy scrambling moves

More easy scrambling moves

Cave on the descent path

Cave on the descent path

A slightly circuitous route has to be followed to reach Hollins Hill, but it’s a pleasant walk passing Tor Rock and with impressive views back to Chrome Hill.

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Looking back at Chrome Hill

Hollins Hill is very different in form to Chrome and Parkhouse Hills.  There are no sharp ridges here, though the northern edge drops off quite steeply, giving excellent views across to Chrome Hill on the other side of the valley.  Its summit (1476 ft) is the highest of the day and is crowned by an ancient tumulus.

Chrome Hill from Hollins Hill with High Wheeldon in the background

Chrome Hill from Hollins Hill with High Wheeldon in the background

Below Hollins Hill, we passed through a short stretch of woodland where there was a beautiful display of bluebells.

Bluebells below Hollins Hill

Bluebells below Hollins Hill

Bluebell carpet

Bluebell carpet

Shortly afterwards, we crossed the infant River Dove to enter Staffordshire for a short distance. Our return route took us through the picturesque village of Hollinsclough and alongside the youthful Dove, before traversing the lower slopes of Parkhouse Hill and re-crossing Hitter Hill to return to our start point in Earl Sterndale.

Parkhouse Hill proving that there really are peaks in the Peak District

Parkhouse Hill proving that there really are peaks in the Peak District

Some photos by Georgina Collins

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