All words and images © Nina Nixon
Back in April on a rare day off, the fella and I took to the hills high above the village of Chinley in the Peak District to navigate and conquer Cracken Edge.
An old gritstone quarry now in disuse is a terrain to explore for fell racers, walkers, twitchers and mountain bikers alike. Or folks that like exceptional views and picture takers with a love of dramatic landscapes *cough cough.
But in a blink of an eye the weather can change fiercely.
To the west we marvelled at blue skies and the sun beating down on Toddbrook reservoir, and to the east veils of mist loomed menacingly low over Kinderscout, threatening to unload a downpour of a torrential nature.
We sheltered by slate and rock, watching the clouds skud by making shadows that turned a green field to darken, then back into the light again. Only setting off again when the ris of getting drenched had passed and the sun peaked out again.
Reaching the old quarry we stopped and sat on stone thrones, fashioned out of the abandoned rocks marvelling and wondering how folks had done this on a daily basis, working the hillside to support a way of life. Their strength and determination left us simply in awe of the people that had laboured on these hills.
Cracken Edge can be a difficult climb in parts and some of the paths are described as aggressive. You can feel like they disappear off, leaving you wondering if you are actually following a sheep track.
But the views from the top are outstanding if you trust your judgement and follow the signs.
Good walking boots and a raincoat are a must. Plus a thermos and wedge of fruit cake. Because who doesn’t want to dine like a king, when you reach the stone thrones nestled in the old gritstone quarry.