Sunday, October 19, 2014

Moscar Lodge, Bamford, Thornhill, and Hope

The scanner on the ticket machine on the bus leaving Sheffield was a little bit drunk today I think, it kept regularly beeping loudly at random intervals; it was really annoying me and I was glad to get off at Moscar Lodge.

The bus stop is actually situated right on the county boundary: I took a photograph of each boundary sign - maybe the respective messages say something about the differences between Derbyshire and Sheffield...by the way, there's never a 'Welcome To [South] Yorkshire sign at any of the boundary points I've crossed.





Watching the weather forecast this morning it was all about how unseasonably warm it is supposed to be at the moment, and it was definitely very pleasant in Doncaster town centre and Sheffield city centre. However, as soon as I got off the bus I was assailed by a strong westerly wind which was uncomfortably cold. I immediately reached into my rucksack and put on my lightweight cagoule - which certainly did the job in protecting me from the inclement weather. 

After only a few minutes I got my first brief view of Ladybower Reservoir in the distance; I've walked along here several times before and hadn't spotted the water before. It was only a brief view though; at normal walking pace no more than a few seconds.

A bit later I branched off along the footpath which crosses Bamford Moor; I'm convinced that this path starts several hundred yards to the south of where it's depicted on the Ordnance Survey map.

I could see Ladybower Reservoir much clearer now and clambered up onto a rock to take a photograph. Earlier, I'd pulled a groin muscle as I stood up from my seat to get off the bus; I'd been aware of it since setting off, but as I stretched my leg out I suddenly felt a sharp twinge...I wouldn't be doing that again. The world's not really designed for you when you're six foot four inches tall and weigh nearly twenty stones.

In places as I crossed the moor it was quite sheltered, however as soon as I reached Bamford Edge I was experiencing the windiest conditions I can ever recall when walking in the Peak District. Fortunately the wind was blowing in the right direction and blowing me away from the cliff edge. It was still difficult though; I had to bend double in places and stumble from the shelter provided by one large boulder to the next.

There are some lovely views though. From most angles the rocky outcrop on the summit of Win Hill looks like a nipple, however in the second photograph, taken from that position I think it looks more like a tent.







I came off the moor and reached the road and had then intended to walk down Leeside Road, which looks as though it might be a 'Byway Open To All Traffic,' although the map is unclear on this. It was securely blocked though, not just to motorised traffic, but to walkers too; there was no way of getting over the metal railings. I've never come across this before; I couldn't see any obvious reason why walkers couldn't use it.



So; I had to walk down the road, adding about half a mile to my route. I took the first available footpath leading down to Bamford. It starts at the bottom of the driveway of a property with an unusual name; at first I thought it was called 'The Veg.'


I'm usually good with languages, at least recognising which one it is, even if I don't know what the words mean. At first I thought it might be one of the Scandinavian languages, possibly Danish, and means something like 'Tea Way' but then I thought it could be one of the Gaelic languages too...but I didn't have a clue what it meant. When I got online at home I checked, and 'Thie Veg' is Manx for 'Toilet.'

As I approached Bamford it was a lot warmer down in the valley and so I took off my cagoule. At the spot where I did this I took a photograph of the lovely autumnal colours.


I popped in to the recently opened c ombined community pub, cafe, and Post Office for a pot of tea and a delicious slice of Bakewell tart/pudding; I'm not sure which it was, it had elements of both.

I crossed over the River Derwent at Bamford Mill, using the combination of stepping stones, two footbridges, and an island, and continued to Thornhill. There are a lot of footpaths in the Thornhill area and I managed to devise a slightly different route to any of my previous visits.

It was an easy walk across the fields to Hope, where I had time for another pot of tea, and a slice of apple pie with ice cream...and a seat near to the roaring log fire [it's supposed to be a heatwave?] I ended up having a bit of fun watching the man on the table opposite struggling with a very large sausage, bacon, and egg bap. He couldn't fit it in his mouth and so had to punch it to flatten it a bit.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Walking With Chris: Winster, Bradford, Alport, and Stanton in Peak

It was brilliant sunshine all the way from Sheffield to Fox House, my usual place for meeting up with Chris from Leeds. As the bus approached the highest point of the road all the passengers were able to see that it was still very misty down in the Hope Valley. This was definitely the best temperature inversion I've ever seen; some people looked...many didn't.

Chris had arrived in the car just a few minutes before me so I didn't have to hang around. We drove to Winster and parked in the car park at the eastern end of the village and then walked along the High Street until we found our footpath at the side of the village shop.

Our route began with some 'roadworks.'




Just beyond this point Chris suddenly stopped; he'd forgotten his rucksack [again.] I'd been so concerned about finding somewhere out-of-sight to have a pee that I'd completely forgotten to check that we'd got everything with us.

Chris obviously had to head back to the car; I made my excuses and found some bushes to deal with my call of nature. I did walk back to the village, and had a quick look inside the Old Market Hall, which has been turned into a small local museum. (I didn't fancy continuing all the way to the far side of Winster...and back.)






So; we set off, again, heading uphill across the fields towards Birchover.

By now the sun was poking through the mist.



We bypassed Birchover to the south, passing a couple of lovely cottages - here's a photograph of one of them.



We soon joined the Limestone Way and climbed up on to Harthill Moor. A large group of teenagers was sitting on my favourite rock, and the seat positioned right next to it, so we had to find somewhere else nearby to eat our sandwiches. 

I don't usually bother with the hermit's cave on Harthill Moor. There's not a lot to see, and the entrance to the cave is behind locked gates anyhow. Chris seemed quite interested to see it, and when I pointed out the direction towards a rocky outcrop, it was decided...we'd go and have a look. I wasn't sure of the exact location, but a couple of young boulderers helped us out. I took some photographs of the cave, but they were rubbish; the ones I took of the nearby rocky outcrops weren't rubbish at all though. In the photograph I've included you can see a man's face staring out from the rockface. He looks very determined; I don't think you'd want to mess with him.



It's a slight diversion from the Limestone Way to reach Harthill Moor Stone Circle...but not far. From quite far away though we could see that the local farmer had added a modern addition to this ancient megalithic structure: I wonder what his motive is for doing this.




We crossed the road and continued towards Harthill Moor Farm and then across the fields down towards Youlgreave. We actually arrived at the small estate of what used to be council houses at Bradford, the lower part of the village. I joked with Chris that when he got home he could tell his wife that he'd not really been walking with me in the Peak District, but had instead spent the day just walking to a council estate in Bradford. Bradford Coach Road, which goes along the bottom of Bradford Dale doesn't go anywhere near to Leeds either. 

At Alport I noticed that the telephone kiosk had been converted into a housing for a communal defibrillator; there was another located in the shop at Winster I found out later.



It's a long and relentless climb up the road to Stanton in Peak, and then beyond the village to the access to Stanton Moor; we stopped for refreshments at the Flying Childers pub, probably lingering too long enjoying musical hits from 1978 being played on the radio.

Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor was our second stone circle of the day; I couldn't photograph it at close quarters because nine middle-aged woman were performing some sort of pagan virility ceremony which involved touching their genitalia...I stayed well away. I noticed a three-dimensional pentagram made from twigs hanging from a tree. Chris said it was all 'Blair Witch,'



We arrived back at Winster unscathed just as the second brief shower of the day started...and then finished. Chris drove me back to Hathersage where I only had ten minutes to wait for the bus. Among the passengers getting on the bus was an East European couple who had bought 'Peak Day Rover' tickets but were denied entry by the driver. Even though the tickets cost over a fiver each, they are only valid on First South Yorkshire buses, and not Hulley's Coaches, which was running the service at this time.

As I was showing my bus pass to the driver I said, "This is precisely what's wrong with Britain in the twenty first century." He didn't take the bait. During the journey back to Sheffield I was thinking what I might have done in a similar situation; I'm very confrontational and so would probably have explained to the driver that Hathersage is in the Peak District and I'd spent the day roving, and so my ticket is valid. I'd have most likely got on the bus and challenged the driver to call the police - I think it's probably best for everyone that I'm able to travel for free.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I'm Busy

It looks like that I'll be struggling to fit in as many walks as I usually do for the next few weeks. I'm very busy and have a lot of commitments; I'm on two different courses at the moment, I attend a weekly luncheon club and a weekly befriending group, I've got several upcoming visits to the theatre booked, there are the visits from my brother and my visits to our parents to fit in, I need to spend time with my support worker, there are trustees meetings...and a couple of conferences.

It's nice to be busy; there are still a few days available for walking though...I hope it doesn't rain. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Group Walk To Langold Lake And Firbeck

Last month the highest number of people came on the group walk; twenty two people went to Clumber Park. This month there were only seven of us, the fewest ever. Maybe it was because it's a Saturday and people had other things to do -  the day was chosen so that it would be easier for those using the bus to get to the pick up point in town though, and we were expecting more people to be there.

The travel plans went according to plan and we arrived at Langold Lake at just after ten thirty. 

We walked round the lower part of the lake and then headed off towards Firbeck where we ate our sandwiches and collected some conkers for the children. They were easy picking, just lying around on the grass. 

We returned back to Langold, partially retracing our route.




There's usually something new to see on a walk; today it was these neatly trimmed hedges and overhanging branches at the edge of a field.


Sometimes there's also something unexplained that I come across; today it was this curved metal barrier down by the beck at Firbeck.


Any suggestions as to what it might be?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Visit To Temple Newsam House, Near Leeds

Another day out with my support worker.

It all  started with the saga of the two hand-written notices. The first one was on the parking ticket machine at the car park. I followed the instructions as best as I could, but after a dozen failed attempts my finger was sore and so I gave up and we returned to the car and placed our own hand-written notice on the dashboard....I don't think anyone paid to park there today though.





I soon noticed that Temple Newsam House isn't the prettiest stately home as you approach it, but once inside it turned out to be one of my favourites to visit so far.




I've never seen so many beautiful paintings and items of furniture in one property. It's a large house, and there are a lot of stairs and I think Siobhan, my support worker, was quite tired after exploring the building. There was only one thing that I didn't like, some garish modern paintings by Grayson Perry hung on some of the walls; neither of us liked them and we told one of the volunteers who worked there that they were inappropriate and intrusive...she said that many more people had also gone out of their way to make the same point.

Next up we walked over to the stable block and had a pot of tea in the café, and then explored the courtyard.



There's also a farm at Temple Newsam that's fully accessible to the public. It's quite extensive and includes a couple of dozen buildings housing livestock, or displays and exhibits, and a large area of enclosed paddocks with a winding path allowing access to many areas to view the animals. 

After leaving the farm we would have spent an hour or two walking around the grounds of the estate but by now it had started to rain and turned quite cold, so we decided to stop off at Selby on our way home; a pleasant market town with an impressive abbey.





We had time for a pot of tea and toasted teacakes...and a quick look round the charity shops.