Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bradwell, Leadmill and Hathersage.

After getting lost among the ginnels and snickets of Bradwell I eventually found the lane which leads up to Bradwell Edge. It soon petered out into a muddy well-churned bridleway which was steep, slippery and hard work. Within a few minutes my trousers were caked with mud, my fleece well splashed and my hair even caught some.

When I reached the top it was much easier going; walking along a fairly level track. By this time the weather was beginning to improve, and half an hour later when I was walking across Shatton Moor the views of the Hope Valley were magnificent; the autumn colours were perfectly illuminated by a low sun. From this location I could see Mam Tor and the Great Ridge and even as far north as the Ladybower Reservoir, with a boat on it. Much closer, in the valley below, I could see Hope Cement Works, from this angle looking like a fairytale castle. In the photograph the cement works is on the far left of the image.

Here are a couple of pictures taken as I approached Leadmill, only about a twenty walk from Hathersage, where I decided I'd better not pop into the tea rooms because of the state I was in.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fox House, Totley Moor, Longshaw Estate and Back to Fox House.

My first circular walk. At Fox House I walked a few hundred yards back along the road towards Sheffield and then took the footpath which leads in an easterly direction across Totley Moor. It was easy going, being fairly flat and a well-defined path.

It wasn't long until I had distant views of the western suburbs of Sheffield, unfortunately spoiled today by the hazy weather conditions. I stayed on high ground and looped back across the moor taking a more southerly route, heading for what looked like a rather impressive cairn. When I reached it though it was something I haven't come across before, a combination of cairn, grouse butt and shelter; marked as an enclosure on the Ordnance Survey map when I checked.

A few minutes later I stopped to eat my sandwiches near to the remains of a drystone wall and noticed a strange insect which looked like an elongated beetle - it was an inch and a half long. I've never seen anything like it before and wonder if anyone can identify it?

I then passed near to the trig point on Totley Moor and about a mile later reached Lady's Cross; which is rather disappointing.

It was then a short walk over to Longshaw Lodge where I was hoping to stop awhile for a pot of tea and a bit of something to eat, but the place was too busy...I would have missed my bus. I stopped for a while though and sat on a conveniently situated millstone to admire the view of Higger Tor and Carl Wark; and to look forward to my stew which would be simmering in my slow cooker at home.

Just out of curiosity I looked through the windows of the pub at Fox House, and it was very busy in there too.

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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Bus Timetables.

Here are scans of all the bus timetables for services from Sheffield going into the Peak District. They are valid from the end of October 2011.

Route 65: Sheffield to Buxton. Pretty much unchanged as I can tell.

Route 214: Sheffield to Matlock. No major changes.

Route 215: Sheffield to Matlock (Sundays Only). Some services only going as far as Bakewell. Not much different to current timetable.

Route 218: Sheffield to Bakewell. No buses continuing to Buxton. No Sunday service.

Routes 273/274/275: Sheffield to Castleton/Bakewell. New routes; actually providing a slightly improved service along the A57 and up the Upper Derwent Valley to Fairholmes.

Route 272: Sheffield to Castleton. Basically, no change.

I think we have come off rather well, with only a loss of service provision to Buxton via Ashford-in-the-Water, and the cancellation of the 181 to Hartington - which I think is a summer only service anyhow. Personally, I'm very pleased about the new services which have replaced the 242...I feared that this route would be cancelled altogether; at least during the winter months.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ashopton, Crook Hill and Eventually to Hope.

Well...this hasn't happened before - I had to stand all the way on the bus to today's destination. Ashopton doesn't really exist anymore, most of the village was abandoned when the valley was flooded by the waters of Ladybower Reservoir in the 1940s; only a few scattered farmsteads remain.

I got off the bus on the main A57 road and walked across the viaduct to try and get some good photos; the lighting conditions were poor though - it was dark and murky and didn't really brighten up until lunchtime.

However; this picture turned out alright I suppose; the water was very still and reflected the shapes of the hillsides like a mirror.

Not long after crossing the viaduct, which takes the road over the northern arm of the reservoir, I turned in to the road which leads all the way up the Upper Derwent Valley, but soon found the first footpath that leads up towards Crook Hill. I was hoping to get good views of both arms of the reservoir from here, but unfortunately the summit isn't high enough. There are good views looking back down towards the viaduct though.

There was a bit of a climb up to Crookhill Farm and then a long section across grassland; including a brief diversion to the summit of the higher peak of Crook Hill.

I  walked alongside a pine plantation, then reached open country with stunning views, and soon descended to reach the Snake Pass road.

Next I had to climb up the other side of the valley, through another pine plantation to reach Hope Cross and then follow the Roman Road down to Hope; arriving with plenty of time to pop in the shop and enjoy a soothing pot of tea at one of the tearooms.

The journey on the bus into Sheffield was uneventful, however the journey on the train to Doncaster was very uncomfortable. There were only two carriages and we were packed in like sardines, having to stand in the aisles and gangways; so much so that the guard announced that the first class compartment had been declassified to allow a few extra people to sit down. The system for first class passengers to claim a refund seemed rather complicated and unfair though.