Castles In The Sky
Trail UK|December 2017

Invisible on the map, unexpected on the ground - and the perfect foil for a dodgy weather day in the Peak District.

Simon Ingram

Are you considering an exciting short day out in the Peak District? Abandon your plans. Yes, I’m sure you had a nice little jaunt in mind but seriously, why bother? It’s going to be rubbish weather, the cloud will be low, you won’t see anything. You’ll come home with some memories of mud and moorland and maybe a bit of gritstone chafage and you’ll convince yourself you’ve had a good time. Boo hoo, yada yada. Sorry to poop your party. But the truth hurts.

That’s not to say the Peak District is rubbish – it’s just that whatever you were planning isn’t as good as this. And if all the above paragraph achieves is to jack up an interested eyebrow, then I’ve done my job.

The reason I’m terribly excited to tell you about this place is, it was a total surprise to me too: a little canyon in the middle of the High Peak with some grand drama, atmosphere thick enough to gargle and the potential to scare you witless if you want it to. And I learned a new word along the way, too – pareidolia – but we’ll get to that.

What I had planned on this particular morning was a walk across a section of the High Moor above Edale, but the weather looked like it wasn’t going to play. So, on the hunt for a location that the weather couldn’t spoil, a shufty through a book on the Peak District revealed an image that looked enticing, dramatic, rather unexpectedly epic. In short, it looked unlike most places in the Peak District, and for that alone, it was surely worth a look.

I don’t know about you, but quite often it’s a picture that leads me to a new location – and all a picture does is show a particular angle on a particular place in a particular light. Sometimes this kind of photography results in overflattering a place, making it look more dramatic than it is, but not in the case of Alport Castles. Here, if anything, the reality is rather more dramatic than any photo can showcase.

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