Think of high mountain passes in the UK and your thoughts may automatically bring up images of the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands or Snowdonia in Wales.
But to me, Cut Gate is the Peak District's very own mountain pass. It links Howden Reservoir in the Derwent Valley to Langsett Reservoir, via isolated valleys and open moorland.
Leaving the very end of Howden Reservoir by the picnic and wild swimming spot of Slippery Stones, the trail steepens as you begin the climb out of the valley.
Your effort doesn't go unrewarded and as the trail relents, the views behind open up and that feeling of being in true wilderness takes hold. The only reminder of human contact is the flagstones that line the climb up to Margery Hill. Reaching the top of the climb there is a large stone cairn and the views all around are magnificent.
It’s proper edge of the world stuff.
The descent off the other side down towards Langsett reservoir is a mix of bed rock, crushed stone and flagged paths all of which blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, with only a few exceptions.
The Bogs of Doom
The BOGS OF DOOM are two short areas on what is a classic trail for all user groups (walkers, fell runners, horse riders and mountain bikers). These two sections of deep bog make it difficult to pass in all but the driest of summers or coldest of winters, when the ground is either baked hard (a rare occurrence) or frozen solid.
Well, plans are afoot to bring an end to having to negotiate these areas.
Two of the country's leading Mountain Bike Advocacy Groups (Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB) along with @KeeperofthePeak have got together. Working with the Peak District National Park and Moors for the Future, they have come up with a plan.
This has since been picked up by the British Mountaineering Council who saw it as such a worthy cause that they included it in their national 'Mend our Mountains’ campaign.
When the work is done, not only will it mean a better experience for all users but more importantly it will protect what is a fragile landscape by creating a distinct and lasting single path line to help the surrounding vegetation to recover.
To see the type of work which could be undertaken, Moors for the Future carried out some regeneration work at Cutthroat Bridge and Whinstone Lee Tor recently which you can see here.
Due to the isolated nature of the Cut Gate Bogs of Doom, it is going to cost an estimated £75,000 to carry out the work and this is where we come in. By clicking on the this link, you can donate directly to the campaign. Alternatively, you could set up a fundraiser to help raise funds for this worthwhile cause.
Although the campaign was originally the brainchild of mountain bikers, it really is intended to bring all user groups together in a project which will benefit everyone. So whether you're a walker, fell runner, horse rider or mountain biker, show that you care for the landscape we all call our playground and get on board.
Then, in the near future, you can be one of the people at the top of Cut Gate, feeling a sense of pride that you've done your bit to protect this fragile planet.