Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Shivering Mountain

Mam Tor (the mother hill) is the highest peak on the Edale-Castleton ridge. It is a series of horizontally bedded shales on top of the Edale Shales and the Carboniferous limestone. The geology makes the Tor unstable and about 3000 years ago a massive landslip removed an enormous chunk of the hillside. This exposed face can be seen from Castleton and the top of Winnats Pass. The Victorian engineers built a road across the landslip in 1802 to allow vehicles to drive over the pass and I remember using the road in the 1970's when I used to walk regularly on the High Peaks.
Mam Tor is deceptively large in this landscape and people often misjudge the time and effort required to walk up its slopes. In 1977 there was a significant movement in the slip material leaving a 60cm step in the roadway. It was always known that the road was unstable and in 1979 the road had to be closed to through traffic on safety grounds when a further slip displaced the roadway completely.
A new road has been built to go around the landslip and across the pass. This involved a new road surface through Winnats Pass leading on to the top road in the dip between the Tor peak and the surrounding hills.
Whilst walking up Winnats Pass and on Mam Tor I spotted this little fellow. Pied Wagtails are common in the valleys between the peaks and they are particularly active in the warm Spring weather.

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