Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Circular Walk From Oughtibridge

A walk today covering an area right on the edge of two of my Ordnance Survey maps, The Dark Peak, and Sheffield and Doncaster: two maps and two different scales to complicate things for me.

When I got off the bus it was quite grey and misty at Oughtibridge, the only thing interesting that I could find to photograph, and with a bit of colour, was these blue wheelie bins. As predicted by the weather forecast it did brighten up later and turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

I crossed the river and walked up the hill to where I found my first footpath, just at the other side of the single track railway line which goes to the steelworks at Stocksbridge. I think there's only one return trip every working day and I did manage to hear the train going along the line when I was up on the crags...I didn't see it though.

The next two miles or so were easy,  but quite boring walking along a wide forestry track until I was overlooking Deepcar. At this point I turned right and uphill and went past a small pond before reaching Wharncliffe Heath Nature Reserve and then walking along the top of Wharncliffe Crags. There wasn't much for me to see up here, it was still quite misty; even if it wasn't misty the pylons and power lines would have ruined the view anyhow.

This image of a tree turned out alright though.

I walked across some open heathland and then along another forestry track. As I approached a pretty location called Hannah Moor the sun came out for a few minutes; I didn't miss the opportunity to get my camera out and take time with the composition of each shot I took.

I got lost as I needed to pass a couple of farms on the next part of the walk; I ended up in the wrong field...but it was a lovely view from where I ended up. This point was just about the furthest point east I went - well into Wortley parish in Barnsley borough.

I soon found the route of the path and climbed up to the road. I was now walking along the route of the Barnsley Boundary Walk...and hoped to continue doing so for a while yet. Unfortunately the detail isn't very clear on the 1:50,000 scale map and I couldn't find the path where it seemed to pass at the side of a farm. A few minutes earlier I'd noticed a gate that led onto Access Land, so I re-traced my steps and walked across a section of Wharncliffe Chase. It was quite boggy in places and there was plenty of tussock grass and bracken; it reminded me a lot of the Eastern Moors, especially at the location where I took the next photograph...of course what you can't see in shot are the pylons and power lines just behind me.

Although I had planned to go further today, when I reached the Transpennine Trail again I just followed it and then walked back down to Oughtibridge, from where I caught a bus, two trams, and the train back to Doncaster. I went walking with friends in the Peak District on Sunday, and I'm going to the opera at Sheffield tomorrow, so I thought I'd better call it a day.

When the train reached Doncaster it had to wait for quite a few minutes just outside the station as three trains arriving from London and two going south had to clear the platforms. The southern approaches to Doncaster Station really do need improving.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fox House and Longshaw Estate, and a Short Circular Walk From Ashford-in-the-Water With Friends From Leeds

I usually meet Chris at Fox House at ten o'clock when we go walking. Today it was eleven o'clock because everyone else had been to Blackpool Illuminations last night. Nevertheless I still got to Fox House for 9:45 and had a short walk down to Longshaw Estate, and back. When I was there I took some photographs of some scary trees for Hallowe'en.

Chris, Maureen, and Jonathan arrived a few minutes early at Fox House; I got in the car and we drove to Ashford-in-the-Water. After parking, and two of us going to the toilet, we had a look around the village.

Here are two shots of the classic view of Sheepwash Bridge; some lovely autumn colours.

We then headed up towards the Monsal Trail, there's some nice countryside en route.

It was then an easy walk to Bakewell, about two and  a half miles. There were the remains of three railway stations for Chris to look at; when I'm on my own I usually stop for refreshments at The Old Station Cafe at Hassop - we walked straight by today though. 

We arrived at Bakewell with Maureen and myself needing the toilets, Chris and Jonathan didn't go again, as at Ashford. Chris had very little to drink and Jonathan nothing at all, all day.

Chris and Maureen liked Bakewell, the shops in particular. He found a whisky shop, and she the teddy bear shop. Neither of them bought anything though; Jonathan bought a chocolate bar from a newsagent's.

We then walked back to Ashford, along the Buxton road and then alongside the river. Maureen and myself used the toilets when we reached car park but the other two didn't - I think this might be something to do with their Asperger's syndrome. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

High Bradfield, Low Bradfield, Rails, and Malin Bridge

I got off the bus at High Bradfield, took some photographs and then walked down a short footpath from the church to the steep road that goes down to Low Bradfield. According to the map there's another footpath a little further down the road which then would have taken me across the fields to Low Bradfield: I couldn't find it, so the road had to do.

I followed the southern shore of Damflask Reservoir for a few hundred yards until I took one of several paths up to the road. I was hoping to locate the path that would lead me uphill to Oaks Lane. This turned out to be the second footpath I missed and so had to do about an extra quarter of a mile walking along the road until I reached Low Woodhouse. Low Woodhouse is just a farm, but it's quite interesting; the footpath goes through a couple of homemade gates and then you're in the orchard where you have to make your own way towards the back garden and then up the drive and away from the property. The reason why I state that this part of the walk is interesting is because the owner of the property has positioned several interesting displays of old agricultural equipment and implements in the garden; for people to look at I presume - there must be at least a dozen, all painted in bright colours.

The next few miles until I reached Rivelin Valley required me to regularly consult the map. There's a complicated network of footpaths, byways, green lanes, tracks and minor roads to be navigated. In places there are some nice views though, my particular favourites are the views towards Hillsborough.

When I started walking down the Rivelin Valley I noticed that some new information points had been installed.

I was ready for a pot of tea when I reached the cafe, which is run by the 'Pudding Ladies.' There were a lot of delicious [I should imagine] and very well presented cakes, but since my diabetes diagnosis I have to forego this little pleasure. As I was sitting at my table I had an excellent view of one of the young women who works there, she was very lithe and petite and was sitting in the lotus position on a high, narrow shelf and occasionally moving her hands when she was writing all the different types of coffee that the cafe sells, on a large blackboard. I was intrigued as to how she would get down; I thought it would be rude to stay when I'd finished my tea...and anyhow I wanted to get back to Sheffield before the rush hour.

A few minutes later I arrived at a chair that I wouldn't be able to sit on, a piece of outdoor art positioned on an inaccessible rock in the middle of the river.

I got a seat on the tram to Sheffield Railway Station, but I had to stand for most of the way on the train back to Doncaster.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gringley-on-the-Hill, Clayworth, Hayton, Tiln, and Retford

A local North Nottinghamshire walk today; the weather forecast for areas further east was slightly better than it was for the Peak District.

I've never been to Gringley-on-the-Hill before; it's one of the nearest villages to Doncaster that I hadn't set foot in until today. I've travelled through a couple of times on the bus though and taken the bypass which skirts the village quite a few times when I've been in a car. It's certainly worth spending a bit of time there, it's lovely and the views from the summit of Beacon Hill are far reaching.

Here's a link to a short video panorama I filmed on the summit.

When I got off the bus it was still quite misty and murky so I decided to walk over to an area where some conker trees [horse chestnut] were growing and sit down on the bench and eat some of my sandwiches. There were hundreds of large conkers on the ground everywhere, not just here but in several other places throughout the village. 

There were still a few conkers on the trees though.

Fifteen minutes later, when I had finished eating and got up to go and explore, the sun was shining.

It was a bit boring following a farmer's track and then walking alongside the edges of fields as I left Gringley and headed for Clayworth, there were some woodland stretches though.

I was hoping to see the Traquair Murals at Clayworth, but the church was closed, as were all the other churches I visited today apart from St. Swithun's in Retford...and I didn't go inside there.

I then crossed over the canal and walked along the towpath on the other side; there were a lot of boats moored today - some of them had come a long way.

It had been cloudy at Clayworth, and it was cloudy when I reached Hayton too; there had been a pleasant spell of warm sunshine as I walked along the Chesterfield Canal though.

The old gravestones at the back of the churchyard were having a party; irrespective of their ages they were all dancing, giving it their all and having a right old shindig.

Another boring stretch across the fields to Tiln, where I couldn't find my intended footpath; so I just continued walking towards Retford.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Peak District Videos...And Meeting Mountain Bikers

I watch a lot of videos online which are filmed in the Peak District. The main types I watch are the commercially produced ones featuring specific locations or attractions, hiking videos, family days out...and my favourites, mountain biking videos, especially those featuring fast and dangerous steep downhill sections. To be honest, some of the walking videos are a bit boring.

I frequently see and meet mountain bikers when I'm walking, and apart from a couple of thoughtless idiots racing down a hillside above Ladybower Reservoir, the vast majority of them have been pleasant, courteous, and thoughtful, and of course very good at what they do. I'm a ballet fan, and a lot of their moves are very balletic, and interesting and beautiful to watch; not just the technicalities of the riding, but also precariously balancing on rocks, jumping from one rock to the next and how quickly, efficiently, and elegantly they are able to lift their bikes over stiles or get off and open, and then close, a gate. At times it looks as though it's all been choreographed.

If I see them approaching and I'm able to reach a gate I'll hold it open for them, staying a few seconds to watch, encouraging them to keep up their speed and maybe even put in a spectacular leap for me...it's all part of the fun of a day out on the moors for me.

I can't be this positive about all the different groups that I come across in the countryside though, maybe I'll write about them in future blog posts.