The other weekend, at the end of March, we finally had good weather and took the opportunity to go to Peak District with some friends. For nearly three months we lived under a permanent mancunian greyness. I can tell you that when we saw this beautiful sun our friends didn’t have to ask twice if we went to go with them for a hike.
So on this sunny Sunday we went to visit the cave of Blue John next to Castleton in the Peak District.
The Castleton Valley is well known for gemstones and jewellery making. There are many jewellery stores in Castleton to buy them.
In the Blue John Cavern, they collect the stone of the same name. According to the guide, French explorers who called it blue-yellow in relation to its colour discovered this stone. Over time this name became Blue-John.
The visit of the cavern is in small group (about 20 people) accompanied by a guide (visit in English). It takes about 1 hour for the visit and there are visits every 30 minutes or so. The tour explains the origins of this stone, how they mine it, what they do with it and also shows the extraction sites. It is quite interesting but I find that the price (£ 12 for adults, £ 9 students and £ 6 children) is excessive for what this cavern has to offer.
Following this visit we went for a lunch break on the summit of Mam Tor. From the parking along the road that goes to the cavern take towards the end of the road. Arrived at a barrier, pass it and take the trail right on the left, which goes up towards Mam Tor. The climb is a little bit difficult but worth it. For easier access to Mam Tor follow the path that leaves from Mam Nick Car Park.
The view from the top of Mam Tor is just breathtaking. You will have a 360° panorama on the Castleton Valley and Peak District National Park.
After a picnic with this view, we left for a hike of around 4h.
It is a circular hike that starts from Mam Tor.
Here are the key steps:
– Get off Mam Tor towards Mam Nick Car Park. Cross the road and turn right in the direction of Rushup Edge.
-Follow the trail for a long time until arriving at a fork turn right in the direction of Chapel Gate track.
-Once down the hill, take the left path across the fields towards Barber Booth and Edale.
-Arrived at Barber Booth cross the road and follow the trail that runs along the upper high side of the river across fields.
– Cross the fields for a long time until arriving on a paved road. Turn right onto this road.
– In front of a house you will see a path on the left take the path that goes up towards Mam Tor.
Have a look at our video