Winnats Pass & Cave Dale
23rd October 2016
After a break over the summer months, a Peaks Collective meet-up was something I was very much looking forward to. A gathering of photographers with a love for the outdoors, they are a great way of getting to know like-minded people and observing how others work. The meet had been co-arranged with @wearemcr, and this time was a little different to the previous adventures. In contrast to the usual pre-sunrise start, the designated time was set to just after midday, as well as being at one of the more popular and well-known locations, Winnats Pass. All this, along with the fair weather, helped to make it the biggest meet so far, and around 50 people set of from the car park at Mam Tor.
Having frequented the dramatic mountain pass numerous times before, I spent most of my time socialising and getting to know new people. I value this walks for the chance I get to talk to other people who also value nature and its beauty, and who capture it in photographs. Whilst I made sure to get the usual Winnats photos (those that you always take), I did concentrate myself on trying to capture some images that I haven’t taken before. When revisiting somewhere that in many ways ‘I’ve ticked off the list’, I like to challenge myself to find something that I missed before. A new angle or vantage point to offer some diversity when looking back through my archives.
Moving on from the famous Winnats Pass, we arrived at Cave Dale, a small valley hidden behind Castleton that takes its name from the many caves the are nestled in its rocky sides. Whilst I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in the Hope Valley and surrounding area, Cave Dale was somewhere I’d never actually been before. It’s always been on the cards, but for some reason or other I’ve never quite made it there. We stood at the main lookout point, which gives the best views of the small valley, before walking to its top and descending down into it.
Unfortunately my last available bus back home to Bakewell left shortly after arriving into Castleton, and I had to cut short the rest of the walk. Saying goodbye to those I’d recently met, as well as those I’ve known for a while now, I headed to the bus stop, leaving them to head back up to Mam Tor for the sunset without me. Missed opportunities are something that really bothers me, I think you should strive to take every chance that you get. But often there are immovable obstacles in the way, and you have to learn to deal with these. After all, the sun has set every single day for millions of years, when the Peak District was still underneath the sea, yet to blossom into what it is today. I’m sure I’ll be back on Mam Tor for a sunset again in no time at all