Picture perfect Peak

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Chris Charlesworth lives in Treeton and has been passionate about shooting the Peak District landscape ever since he took his first trip there in the late 80s. After winning Friends of the Peak District’s annual photo competition last year, he is running the charity’s landscape photography workshop with another award-winning photographer, Stephen Elliott, on Saturday. Meanwhile, Friends of the Peak District have launched their 2012 photo competition. The deadline is December 1 and details are at www.friendsofthepeak.org.uk.

HIGGER TOR

This is one of the first Dark Peak landmarks that you see as you travel into the Peak District from Sheffield but surprisingly it is within the city limits. It’s an impressive gritstone tor overlooking the Burbage Valley, with a commanding view over the Longshaw Estate, Carl Wark (the remnants of an Iron Age fort), Over Owler Tor and the Upper Hope Valley. A great location at any time of year, it really comes in to its own during the winter months when the land is in the grip of frost or snow. This is probably my favourite place of all.

CARHEAD ROCKS

At the south-eastern end of Stanage Edge, it’s a great little location with views down the Hope Valley and of the expanse of Stanage Edge as it stretches away in the distance. You’d think it was a busy location but most of the time you’ll have all to yourself as it tends to be ignored by many as they head for its bigger cousin.

THE GREAT RIDGE

This is the ridge that separates the vales of Edale and Castleton and stretches for two miles from Mam Tor at its western end to Lose Hill at the eastern end. As you walk along the ridge you never tire of the stunning views on your left or right and it has to be my second favourite place. One of the best views is just past Mam Tor’s summit trig point and looking down the Hope Valley towards Castleton and the cement works.

STANAGE EDGE

The largest gritstone escarpment in the Peak District and the northern part of the edge forms the border between Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. Its highest point is High Neb at 458 metres. A walk around the lower reaches of the edge below High Neb will lead to the discovery of the many abandoned millstones, quarried from the immediate area – carved, but never removed. The best time to visit is in the evening towards sunset when the light is directly on the face of the edge and produces an amazing golden glow all the way along.

CURBAR EDGE

This is a well-maintained path that leads you along the edge, providing spectacular views all the way along with it joining the path along Froggatt Edge. This location is a honey pot for landscape photographers and it’s easy to see why with its commanding view over the Derwent Valley and the River Derwent. It has to be one of the best places in the Peak District to observe a temperature inversion and I was privileged recently to experience one the best ones that I’ve ever seen. It was just magical. There’s no other way to describe it!

BIRCHEN EDGE

On the A619 Baslow to Chesterfield road. Near the high point of the edge stands Nelson’s Monument, a gritstone obelisk that was erected in 1810, five years after his death. A short distance away are three large natural gritstone rocks shaped like the prows of ships, each one is carved with the name of a British fighting ship of the line – Victory, Defiance and Royal Sovereign. This is another location that I find great for photography throughout the year, but from the end of August when the heather blooms to the end of February, the light and the weather conditions can produce some ethereal landscapes.

SURPRISE VIEW and 
OVER OWLER TOR

Two for the price of one – and the locations for Friends of the Peak District’s landscape photography workshop. Surprise View is aptly named and the wow factor that you get as the whole of the Hope Valley opens before you as you stand at the main viewpoint is one that I never tire of. Over Owler Tor is a small mound of rocks that can be viewed from Padley Gorge.

Covered in heather, it’s a great lookout point over Longshaw and Padley Gorge. Early September is a great time to visit when the heather is at its best and the colour purple is everywhere.