The Shivering Mountain: Mam Tor

Mam Tor, while not the largest hill in the Peak District, is one of the most famous. In fact, despite it’s nickname of ‘the Shivering Mountain’, it’s not even big enough to classify as a mountain. It doesn’t even make the top ten highest hills in the Peak District! Despite this, walkers flock to the hill, perhaps due to it’s renown as a great location to watch the sunrise, or possibly due to the car park a very short walk from the summit!

Mam Tor is called ‘the Shivering Mountain’ as the unstable nature of the soil on the hill’s eastern face causes frequent mini landslides to occur. This has resulted in a series of mini hills and the eventual abandonment of the old A625 road in the seventies.

Mam Tor is usually tackled as part of a route along ‘the great ridge’, which includes Mam Tor, Back Tor and Lose Hill, or as a shorter walk which visits Mam Tor alone, from a variety of starting points. We’ve previously done the walk starting from Castleton, following a much quieter, more circuitous route to the summit. However, I can’t say whether the views were any good as it was raining so heavily we could barely see the trig point! We therefore decided to have another go on a sunnier day when we might actually get to see the views.

We didn’t have quite as long to spend walking Mam Tor on our second attempt as it was the day before Sam was running the Spine Challenger and we didn’t want to do anything too strenuous. We therefore followed the shorter route from our Countryside Dog Walks book, which starts from the National Trust Mam Nick car park (free for members, app payment for non members) not far from the summit. The path up to the summit is well paved steps and gradual up hill from here and you reach the trig point in next to no time. From here, we followed the main path down to Hollins Cross, before descending gradually to cross through fields and a nature reserve to arrive back at the car park. I can’t find the exact route online but there are plenty of options available if you do a search on Google.

The walk was generally very easy – the climb from the car park to the summit is short and gradual, with flat walking along the ridge to Hollins Cross. From here, the path did get a little more uneven, before a steeper climb at the very end to get back to the car park.

The views on this walk are pretty standard for the area – miles of rolling green hills and valleys. Being totally honest, they’re not a patch on some of the views we’ve seen in the Lakes, but then the Peak District is a lot more accessible for a lot more people, which I expect goes a long way towards explaining Mam Tor’s popularity. For a walk with similar views but fewer people, read my blog about Win Hill. However, the views were still nice enough for us to thoroughly enjoy our two hour walk, and we were glad to finally see them after our first attempt was such a washout!

Dog friendly rating – 3/5. We kept our dogs on the leads for the entirety of this walk: you’re either walking through fields with livestock, a nature reserve or close to a road. That being said, we did see plenty of dogs off lead as we headed down to Hollins Cross, but we didn’t want to risk suddenly stumbling across a sheep as can happen! There were however no stiles on the route we followed (as with all routes in the Countryside dog walks book, so I’d recommend this if you struggle lifting your dogs over stiles) and there was no direct ‘on road’ walking. There was one small stream we crossed where the dogs were able to have a drink, but we carried extra with us too. This was a walk where we saw plenty of other walkers and dogs, but generally there was enough space for us to give them a very wide berth, so it wasn’t too stressful for Coal.

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