The second day of our trip to Derbyshire saw the Boys and I tackle a mountain – or so they thought. We drove, with sister Tracey and her two kids to the gorgeous limestone uplands on the border between Derbyshire and Staffordshire defined by the Derbyshire River Dove.

Just on the Derbyshire side at Glutton Bridge is the stunning steep-sided outcrop of Parkhouse Hill, known in our family as The Dragon’s Back. Although the Boys have always had a good dose of country experience, provided by the Boat or closer to home (in N. London) by Hampstead Heath, this was to be their induction to hill walking Derbyshire-style.

A general sketch (broken red line) of our walk, from Glutton Bridge over Parkhouse Hill (green continuous line). The shaded blue-black line is the county boundary marked by the emerging River Dove.
Ignore the red line on this contour map, it’s of someone’s previous walk. I include this map simply just to give you an idea of the topography…
Here’s a view of what is in effect an exposed coral reef – or a Dragons Back! The Google Maps image shows really well the defined contours of the hill and the narrow ridge walk across the summit.
“That’s what we’re off to climb!”
Shadowed by Hitter Hill in the background, a smiling Fin (“Dad this is a field full of poo!?!”) sets off across a sheep field towards the slumbering Dragon...
A group shot before the climb began in earnest…
“Up we go!”
My weedy ‘city’ legs let me down, there was a time when I’d have clambered up this kind of hill without a second thought, but since the delights of gout etc. the Dragon soon had me breathless… The kids, on the other hand, raced ahead delighted at beating the adults…
It’s a heck of a climb, but rewards you at every turn with breathtaking views…
Yep, Izzy and Joe really are running!
Up top we wander along the narrow ridge path towards the pinnacle summit in the distance…
Made it! Not sure if thats a clumsy smile on my face or a wry grimace?!?
No doubt about the quality of the view though, it was simply stunning!
With Chrome Hill in the background, and fortified by crisps and a drink, we began the challenging steep descent. Fin perfected the art of the bottom shuffle on the steeper sections. Throughout the walk (which does have some sections with sheer drops and nerve-tingling slopes) the Boys were utterly fearless and well up to the physical challenge of getting arms, legs and gravity working in harmony – they mostly succeeded, though I had a few heart in mouth moments!
A view from the valley floor looking up. We’d sat for our summit photo on the stump of rock just visible in the crest of the hill…
And, what better way to recover than with a ‘Finger of Fudge’ and a leap into an icy, peaty stream.
Izzy gracefully showing how years of ballet lessons can be put to good effect when crossing a telegraph pole bridge…

The walk was an ideal introduction to hill walking for the Boys having everything you’d want from a walk, but in a short and manageable distance. Steep clambers, ridge walking, challenging descents, sheer drops, stunning views, lush water meadows and fast flowing streams etc.

It was a cracking good morning outdoors. And the Boys never complained once. I was proud of my city Boys!

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