Peak District Walks
Date: 16th November 2014
Distance: 4.0 miles
Ascent: 490 feet
Time: 1 hour 55 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SJ987608
A short walk from Meerbrook on a murky day to bag the modest Marilyn top of Gun in the south-west Peak District.
Route Summary: Meerbrook - Gun Hill Road - Gun - Oldhay Top - Lower Wetwood - Roche Grange Road - Back Lane - Meerbrook
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: On my final day in the south-west Peak District my plan was to do a couple of shorter walks to bag a couple of the regions Marilyns (hills with a height gain of 150m) - Gun and The Cloud. Nick, the proprietor of the Peak Weaver's Hotel in Leek almost made me change his mind with his decriptions of the Manifold Valley and Thor's Cave in particular. However, when the forecast was for another murky day I decided to stick to my original plan.
Starting from the small village of Meerbrook on the western side of Tittesbrook Reservoir I was going to follow a 4.75 mile route from one of Paul Hannon's Peak District walking guides. However, having had more than enough of soggy pastures at the start of the previous day's walk I decided to forsake the guidebook and a pointless looking loop south to the farm at Gunside and instead just head straight up Gun Hill Road.
The road was quiet enough and was lined with holly bushes, the bright red berries of which added a bit of much needed colour to another desperately dull and murky morning. Just short of the road summit (where a parking area would allow a much shorter walk) I turned off the road on a path that led me through the heather to the trig point on the summit of Gun.
Standing just within the border of the National Park, Gun is remarkably one of only four Marilyns in the Peak District (the others being Kinder Scout, Black Hill and Shining Tor). In normal conditions the view would be good, particularly east to The Roaches but in the murk the only other hills I could really make out were the mast-topped Sutton Common to the north and The Cloud to the west.
After stopping briefly to take some pictures at the summit I continued northwards on the path until it reached a surfaced track which I followed to the farm at Oldhay Top. Just before I reached the farm I took a path through a pasture containing a few cows. Luckily these were not on my direct route and were also sat down making it easier for me to overcome my fear of passing them.
The next pasture was long and wet and at the far side the stile took a bit of locating in the hedge running mext to a stream. In the next farmyard all the cows were thankfully still in their shed though the ground itself was an unholy ankle deep mixture of mud and manure.
From the bottom of the farm drive I then followed Roche Grange Road back into Meerbrook finishing with the short Back Lane which ran around the back of the church to arrive back at the front of the small village hall where I'd parked my car.
In truth this wasn't a particularly inspiring walk and not just because of the weather. Only the very top of Gun was good walking country, I'm not a fan of extended periods of tramping around farm pastures. Still on a late summer's evening when the heather is in bloom and the views are good I can imagine the summit of Gun being a fine place to be.