A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
The Long Distance Walkers Association website describes the White Peak Way as “challenging” – citing the considerable elevation rise over the course of the 85-mile route. I do not remember the walk as particularly challenging – perhaps because we tended to walk relatively short stages, because we missed one of the great ascents of the route (Mam Tor), and perhaps because, in 1986 and 1987, I had more energy than I do now.
The route is an outstanding introduction to Derbyshire’s superb walking country and, if we throw in the availability of nearby accommodation, it must be one of the best circular routes ever designed in Great Britain. Its original intention, of course, was to provide a route that took advantage of the large number of conveniently-sited youth hostels – so I suppose it is fair to say that the first one we used, Elton, is now, sadly, closed. But your reliance on youth hostels may not be as imperative as ours was – we had a dozen kids with us – and other forms of accommodation are also available. To assist you in securing places of rest and in forwarding your heavy bags there are now travel companies specializing in such activity (easily spotted on the Internet). If you are new to the walking enterprise or would like some hints in getting started you can check out my book, A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the Long-distance Footpaths of Great Britain – published in 2010 and available from the publisher at www.authorhouse.co.uk or from www.authorhouse.com or from www.amazon.co.uk or from www.amazon.com.
Unfortunately, Robert Haslam’s pioneering guide to the route is out of print, but Cicerone, a prolific publisher of walking guides, does offer its own version. OS Explorer maps that may be of use include Sheet 1 (The Dark Peak) and Sheet 24 (The Peak District). I hope that the following accounts of our own adventures on the White Peak Way may inspire your own. And you can always let me know how you got on by using the Contact Page.
Our stages were as follows:
Day 1: Bakewell to Elton – 10.5 miles
Day 2: Elton to Ilam – 12.5 miles
Day 3: Ilam to Hartington Youth Hostel – 9.5 miles
Day 4: Hartington Youth Hostel to Earl Sterndale – 5.5 miles
Day 5: Earl Sterndale to Raventor Youth Hostel – 8.5 miles
Day 6: Ravenstor Youth Hostel to Castleton – 10 miles
Day 7: Castleton to Hathersage – 11 miles
Day 8: Hathersage to Bakewell – 12.5 miles