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Hollowford – Day 3

We have been really lucky with the weather, which seems to be changing – the forecast for wet weather today and storms tomorrow seems to have changed, so today we needed hats and suncream for our walks around Castleton and up Mam Tor.

This morning was spent pottering around the beautiful village of Castleton. We first made our way to the entrance to Peak Cavern to have a look at one of the country’s biggest cave entrances and learnt that it used to be a rope-making factory. Then we walked to Peveril Castle to spend an hour exploring the ruins and admiring the view. The entrance to the castle is spectacular – the path winds up a very steep hill and is an exhausting climb. Once at the top, we took in the keep, the scenery on all sides and relaxed in the sunshine. Those with cameras took photos of the views, and we tried to spot the other pupils who were climbing Mam Tor in the morning. Isaac, Rosanna, Jessica, Evie and Billy enjoyed rolling down the slopes inside the bailey before we set off once again for the most important stop of the week – the souvenir and sweet shops.

I am always impressed by how many gifts can be bought for £10 and I have seen that there are precious stones, magnets, special pencils, fridge magnets and more that will be finding their way back to homes in Suffolk very shortly. Best of all though is the old-fashioned sweet shop, where 100g of bon-bons, rhubarb and custards, liquorice allsorts and other treats can be bought in stripy paper bags. Lovely.

After lunch, we set out on our own epic journey up Mam Tor with our guide, Frag. He was a fount of knowledge about the geology and history of the area and soon all the children were finding and identifying limestone, sandstone and shale. Rosanna found a beautiful piece of quartz too; and some found tiny pieces of coal that must have been dropped by travellers long ago. He was very good at bringing the landscape and scenery to life. We learnt that the path we were taking had been used for thousands of years because it led from the shelter of Peak Cavern, to the hill enclosure on Mam Tor. We had a lovely time: Billy, closely followed by Sam, led us both up and down; Isaac and Jacob acted as ornithologists, pointing out buzzards and other birds of prey; Jessica and Rosanna spotted a heron standing in a stream before it flew away; Zoe found a dung beetle that she stroked before it scuttled off; Megan was in charge of good manners and wished all the other walkers a cheery, “Good afternoon!” as we passed them by; Evie was photographer-in-chief, capturing the landscape in all its glory; Dylan, Grace, Alyssa, Lydia, Lewis and Kira kept me company chatting about everything and anything; and Charles kept on walking determinedly despite a little blister on each heel.

It was very blowy at the top, so we took the opportunity to have a little dance in the breeze before Frag taught us about the burial chamber and fortifications. We took more photos, pulled some funny faces and took even more, then headed back down at record speed, arriving exhausted at the centre just in time for tea.

This evening has been quiz night. Well done to Billy and Dylan, Sam and Jacob whose teams both finished in first place.

Tomorrow it’s back to the activities – caving, high-ropes, weaselling and raft-building, then the (in)famous Hollowford’s Got Talent. Then there’s only one more sleep before we come home – doesn’t it go quickly?