White Peak – Middleton top to Harboro rocks


This journey in the great outdoors starts at Middleton top car park in Derbyshire. Middleton top is situated on the High peak trail, and is the location of a steam powered winding station on the High peak route. This would have been one of many in the 1800’s.  These winding stations used to haul trains up the steep inclines in their heyday, this one being for the Middleton incline. The railway line is now disused and the High peak trail is now a popular walking and cycling route. As i approached the pay and display machine in the car park, cash in hand, readying to lighten my load, i notice on its display the words “not in use”. Now this would normally please me greatly,  but when i know i’m going to be away from my car for a extended period of time, i can’t help but think, what happens if the machine magically repairs itself and i find myself with a ticket when i get back. So i decided to whip out my phone and quickly take a picture to prove that the machine wasn’t  working when I arrived. I then hurried back to the car to change into my walking boots, and gave my cousin Dan the good news about the parking fee.  So with boots on feet, and rucksacks on backs we set off, on what was to be around a 7 mile circular walk. The route we were going to walk was one i had done previously with my parents when i was a lot younger and smaller, and i can still remember how my legs were aching on the way back. So i was quite excited to do the walk now, happy that my legs were now more than up to the challenge of the day ahead. As we made our way past the old quarry and up through the first field, it soon became apparent that we may not have the weather on our side. As nice as it looked, with the sun shining beautifully in the sky, there was a fierce wind to go with it, and a alarming amount of black clouds on most horizons, threatening in the distance. IMG_5567[1]

Well it wasn’t long before we met with some of the clouds and their contents. We were around a mile or so into the journey, passing the top of the now disused intake quarry. I had stopped to record some footage for my YouTube video, when it started to snow, typical i thought, but luckily for us, we were right on the edge of it and missed the worst of the inclement weather. As quick as it came, it soon passed, i suppose that is one benefits of having high winds, it blows the bad weather away quicker. As we continued on, the land and trees provided a small respite from the incoming wind. When out of the wind, you could really feel the heat from the sun, and it was very welcome feeling indeed. We soon passed the first farm, and being careful not to get in his way whilst the farmer was using his big yellow tractor, i placed my camera down on my tripod to shoot a walk by for my video. As i went to retrieve it, he started talking to me,  at first he thought i was filming for A university, then i told him about my YouTube channel, we had a great conversation together, then we said our goodbyes and we left him to finish his work. Shortly after leaving him i realised id taken us on a a wrong turn, when the road appeared in front of us. There were no roads on the route i had planned, I quickly checked the map, found where we were and corrected accordingly. After a quick detour past a industrial processing area, we were soon back on the right path. This next part of the path saw us go back up hill again, through a sheep filled field, which was very steep, but thankfully quite short. As the path leveled out, a good number of wind turbines came in to view, and as we drew closer, it became clear that our path was going to take us right next to them. I have seen a lot of these wind turbines over the years, but i have never been as close to them before, and we were about to be literally right next to them very soon . As i mentioned before it was a very windy day, so i imagine that the turbines were in full flow, and the whooshing noises they made as the immense blades sliced through the air was very impressive indeed. We stood and watched them in awe for some time, taking photos and video footage, whilst soaking up the sun that was still shining brilliantly in the sky. IMG_5570[1]IMG_5571[1]

After leaving the wind turbines behind, the path took a steady decent, and took us out  the worst of the wind. It wasn’t long before Harboro rocks came into view on the horizon to our left, this was roughly the half way point on the walk, and our chosen location for our lunch. We carefully chose the correct path up to Harboro rocks to the trig point, which you could just see from where we were. Between us and the top was another farm building, and from the map, it wasn’t 100% clear which side we should pass it on to stay on the path. As we got closer i saw the way marker and a gate, puzzle solved. The farmer then came out with his dog, a small coffee coloured pug, who ran up to greet us, as the farmer jokingly shouted “he’s not been fed for a week”. I laughed, and told him my partners brother has a dog exactly the same. After a little chat, we said goodbye to the farmer, and proceeded through the gate and started the climb up to the top of Harboro rocks. It was only a short walk to the top, passing over two stiles and puffing and panting our way up the steep final 100 meters or so. Standing at the trig point, which is 379 meters above sea level, the view of the surrounding area was very good in the clear conditions. However, what wasn’t as good, was the immense wind that kept threatening to blow us off our feet if we weren’t careful. Yes it really was that bad, you could almost lean into it and not fall over. We both took a few photos, and i got a bit of video footage done, which was extremely hard in the wind. Then we both decided to retire to the westerly side of the hill out of the wind to eat our lunch. IMG_5573[1] After lunch we passed back over the top of Harboro rocks, down the other side towards the High peak trail. Before reaching the trail we investigated some old ruins part way down the hillside, which i now believe to be old mining ruins, though very little is actually known about them, the area is known to have been mined for lead over the years. After the little investigation, we headed onto the High peak trail and back towards Middleton top, which according to the nearby sign post, was only 2 miles away, which seemed really close, but then the trail is more of a direct route back, so off we went. On the way back we passed a rusty old cylinder lodged in the bank side. It looked like the body of a steam engine, and in fact it turned out to be an old boiler from a wooden winding house for the Hopton incline. Nothing is left of the old building anymore, just the boiler, as the winding house was demolished in favour of lessening the incline. This was to enable the trains to tackle the incline under their own steam in the late 1800′ s.  IMG_5575[1] Shortly after reaching the bottom of Hopton incline, we passed through a tunnel and came up to the base of intake quarry, the top of which we had been at earlier in the day, when we’d had the brief snow shower. A nearby information board informed us that the police sometimes used the quarry for live ammunition training, so probably best not to wander in there anytime, just in case.  This now left less than a mile, which we soon covered, and before we knew it, the familiar sight of Middleton top visitor center  was in full view, with the winding house’s distinct chimney looming behind it. IMG_5577[1] We both had a really great day out on a thoroughly enjoyable walk, in what was, apart from the wind, very good weather. So here ends the latest blog, which I hope you have enjoyed reading, i would certainly recommend doing this walk to anyone finding themselves local to the Matlock area. Also a big thank you to all my followers on here, it really means a lot to me, and to anyone interested you can also watch the video to this walk on my YouTube channel, link to my channel on the home page under social. Please feel free to comment, and thanks again for enjoying my content,

Regards           Mark IMG_5579[1]


2 thoughts on “White Peak – Middleton top to Harboro rocks

  1. Those wind turbines look like some that James and I camped near one night last year, on a mega four day walk that James had planned. There was a tiny farm campsite just over the top from them…


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