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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Here's a link to my Panoramio page where I store all of my photographs online which I've taken on my walks or days out; there are 354 of them at the moment.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Moscar Lodge, Ashopton, Yorkshire Bridge, and Bamford

A perfect day today on public transport, including me timing my arrival at bus stops and Sheffield Railway Station so that my total waiting time was no more than five minutes. I even caught one of the few non-stop trains back to Doncaster.

Anyhow, I got off the bus at Moscar Lodge, right on the county boundary, and took the path that leads northwards, right past the lodge. There's no footpath sign, and someone who's not confident about their mapreading skills might be hesitant since the path goes right up the private drive belonging to the lodge....I wasn't hesitant though - I don't think anyone was at home to challenge me anyhow - it looked like the building was being renovated.

Just beyond the lodge the path merges with a byway and then I was heading in a westerly direction, with this being the view straight ahead.

I soon reached a road and a well-hidden location which seems to be an intersection of major gas pipelines; there's something similar further south at Owler Bar.

For the next half a mile I was walking in a southwesterly direction. I passed through the farmyard at Moscar House, serenaded by the two, or maybe three, resident dogs.

Without looking at my map I wasn't quite sure where my route ahead lay, but a couple of joggers overtook me and were heading up onto Derwent Moors, just where I needed to I'd be able to follow them. In truth, the path was very well trodden and I wouldn't have needed to consult the map at all.

Although the heather was probably a week or two past its best, the entire moor was still tinged with purple, and was very impressive. For most of this section I was walking past a line of very well constructed grouse butts; I could imagine them being very comfortable for the shooters during the grouse shooting season in August.

It was a steady climb for about a mile and a half and then I reached the ridge where the land started to drop away. I soon got my first glimpse of Ladybower Reservoir and the Upper Derwent Valley. The reservoir would be in view until I lost enough height so that it was blocked by higher land in the view of it would soon be re-established though, further down the hillside and then as I walked along the track which skirts the shore.

As I reached the main Snake Pass road and was crossing the Ashopton Viaduct over the reservoir I made a decision. I had noticed that for the last mile or so the Achilles' tendon on my right heel had been stiffening up, and so I would be ending the walk at Bamford, and not Hope as I planned to. I'd never had any problems with my Achilles' tendon until I played a bit of football at Clumber Park last week - since then I've had varying degrees of discomfort every day.

At Bamford I caught the number 244 bus for the first time; unlike most of the other services in the Peak District there weren't many people travelling on it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Group Walk To Clumber Park

Another walk with the Doncaster autism group.

The weather was perfect today and it was the best turnout for the walking group so far, twenty two people in total - we didn't all arrive at the same time though; things didn't go exactly to plan.

Because of the difficulty of finding suitable locations to start our walks where people can safely and conveniently park their cars and others can reach on the bus on a Sunday morning, we decided to travel to the start of walks using only cars, and making arrangements for some people, myself included, to be picked up in the town centre.

To begin with everything went well; everyone arrived on time at the pick-up point and seventeen of us travelled down the A1 to arrive at Clumber Park at 10:25.

We had planned to meet the other five walkers, travelling independently because they didn't need to drive through the town centre, in front of the cafe. We had to make our plans in advance because there is no mobile phone signal at Clumber Park - anywhere on the estate. After half an hour, and several dozen frustrating attempts at making calls on our phones someone had to go into the Information Centre and ask to use the landline telephone; she couldn't get through to the mobile number though, so we knew that the others were somewhere nearby...probably inside the park.

After a few minutes of deliberation we decided to set off and walk around the lake in an anti-clockwise direction.

The lakeside walk passed through areas of woodland and open heath.

Twenty minutes later we stopped at an idyllic spot to take some photos of the buildings from where we had set off, now being on the other side of the lake. The photo I've included is the actual view...but obviously none of the walkers are featured in it.

Suddenly one of the children yelled that he had spotted the other group, and by using system of improvised semaphore signalling with our arms which wouldn't have looked out of place in an episode of Monty Python we successfully conveyed the message that they needed to start walking in the direction we were pointing, and that we would wait here for them. Several people were checking their mobile phones...something that continued all day.

The weir at the far end of the lake caught the attention of several people and we stopped there for a few minutes.

A few yards further on there were refreshments and toilets.

It was very busy, and on our return back to the carpark we got caught up with another group of people, which made photography difficult since I didn't want to inadvertently have them appearing in any shots.

I managed to get a nice shot in front of the chapel though for inclusion on the group's blog.

We arrived back at the cars and then walked to a pleasant grassy area to eat our sandwiches, or have a picnic; some people brought blankets, fold-up tables and coolers...and equipment for ball games. I played a simple game of passing the football with three other people for forty five minutes and ended up exhausted - I needed to go to the cafe for a pot of tea.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Magpie Mine and Lathkill Dale with Chris from Leeds

Today's walk wasn't about the exercise, or enjoying the beautiful countryside, or mapreading, or companionship; the whole purpose, and the only purpose of the walk, was to ensure a victory for Leeds Rhinos in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley. They've lost in their previous six finals and on each occasion Chris saw it live, either on TV or at the stadium: he needed to do something to break this run of consecutive defeats for his beloved he thought the solution was to get as far away from the rugby as possible - go walking with me in the Peak District. The ploy worked, Leeds won 23-10.

Chris was waiting for me in the car when I got off the bus at Fox House. We drove to the small parking area at the head of Lathkill Dale, just short of Monyash. We started by walking along Bagshaw Dale, a short dale that runs just to the north of the village, then turned north and then east to reach Magpie Mine. There were a lot of stiles and cows in fields along this stretch.

We struggled to locate the correct approach to Magpie Mine, but eventually got there by opening some gates that were only on latches, and walking across the fields.We ate our sandwiches in an elevated position next to the winding gear and then spent a few minutes exploring the entire site...I'm convinced that so much much more could be done with this property.

It was then more fields, and more cows, until we reached Over Haddon, where we were looking forward to having a drink sitting out on the terrace at the Lathkill Hotel and enjoying the lovely view. This wasn't to be though; it was obvious that we weren't welcome there, going by the signs plastered all over the doors and windows stating 'NO BOOTS. REMOVE BOOTS BEFORE ENTERING.' In other words, this venue is now an upmarket gastro pub which doesn't want dirty hikers polluting the environment. It's their pub, so it's their choice: this is my blog though, and it's my choice to write about it - maybe I should have taken them at their word and removed my boots, exposing everyone inside to my toxic socks...and banging down my boots on the bar (this wouldn't be as dramatic as I might hope though since they weren't muddy at all.) 


It was more cows, and a few sheep, until we reached Conksbury Bridge and the river. We then walked up the dale back to the car, I mentioned the ruins of Mandale Mine to Chris...but absent-mindedly walked straight past it. We could see the ruins of Bateman'e House from the path and so didn't miss that. We climbed down the ladder into the shaft and I struggled a bit with cranking the handle which powers the dynamo for the lighting; I initially tried to turn it the wrong way.

We arrived back at the car at 4:15, which just left enough time for Chris to drive me into Bakewell, where I caught the bus back to Sheffield.