Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fairholmes, Howden Moors, Brightholmlee and Wharncliffe Side.

This morning I had to catch the bus into Sheffield because the railway line was closed for regular track maintenance. Fortunately I'd already checked online and was able to leave the house a few minutes early.

Although it was forecast for bright and sunny weather, when I arrived at Fairholmes it was drizzling and murky; it didn't affect my photograph of the east tower of the Derwent Dam though.

Both this dam, and the Howden Dam further up the valley have impressive crenellated towers.

The weather was still cool and cloudy as I climbed up onto Howden Moors; this is a climb of about 1,000ft in altitude, and so I appreciated the conditions...which unfortunately were unsuitable for photography.

By the time I'd reached Back Tor though the sun had broken through the gloom and I was able to take some photographs of the erosion-sculpted rocks.

The next section of the walk was across open moorland and bog, but was easy because most of the route was paved with natural flagstones, which had been placed there since my previous visit a couple of years ago; and further on the path became a trackway. For a couple of miles I was keeping pace with a hiking group from the University of Nottingham: their pace was quite a bit quicker than I was used to...but I enjoyed the challenge.

Next there was a short section along the road and then I took the bridleway that went through the Canyard Hills, an area of several dozen unusually shaped hillocks and troughs. I haven't come across anything like this before in the Peak District and wondered if the hillocks might by spoil heaps from early mining operations; or possibly a landslip. Well; my curiosity got the better of me; I've googled the location and according to English Nature's website the Canyard Hills are the best example in England and Wales of a type of landscape known as 'ridge-and-trough' or 'tumbled ground.'

By now something on the horizon had caught my eye. It looked like the site of a rocket launchpad, even when I looked at it through the binoculars; the only explanation I can think of is that it might be scaffolding that's been put up as part of the construction process for a new transmitter.

The rest of the walk was along country lanes, looking down onto Broomhead Reservoir, passing through the hamlet of Brightholmlee and arriving at Wharncliffe Side with only five minutes to wait for the bus.

The train I caught back to Doncaster was one of the few that actually went non-stop; going straight through the station at Meadowhall. It was packed as trains usually seem to be on a Sunday; I had to sit on the floor in the wheelchair space - I did have more legroom there though.

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