Sunday, January 15, 2012

Miller's Dale, Peak Forest, Old Dam and Castleton.

Although the train for Sheffield was powered up and ready to leave, no passengers were allowed to board; it first had to be moved to another platform. To me this seems a rather stupid thing to do, since it's the first departure of the day and obviously not interfering with any other service, yet there must be some logical, easily-explained reason: maybe the Sheffield track couldn't be accessed from the original platform, or the signals and points had been pre-set overnight...I don't know.

Including Miller's dale, I visited six dales today; and walked the entire length of five of them. Monk's Dale starts at the hamlet of Miller's Dale, and is reached by taking the footpath right at the side of the chapel. There's a short climb before you descend into the wooded valley.

The photograph was taken at the top of the short climb; it's actually in colour, but the frost makes everything seem monochrome.

For the majority of this walk I was walking in the dale bottoms. Monk's Dale is mainly wooded and the path is strewn with moss-covered stones and fallen trees; if it weren't for the effects of the keen overnight frost some sections which were very boggy would have made very difficult walking conditions.

After nearly ninety minutes I reached the top of the dale, crossed the road and entered my third dale, Peter Dale, a much shallower and more open dale; and only just over half the length of Monk's Dale. I made fairly quick progress.

Next up was Hay Dale, itself shallower, more open and shorter than Peter Dale. The first two observations also apply to the next dale, Dam Dale, when comparing it to its predecessor - it is slightly longer than Hay Dale though.

After walking along valleys for nearly five miles I arrived at Peak Forest, crossed the main road and took the lane which leads to the hamlet of Old Dam; my first visit there.

Unusually, the toughest climb came towards the end of the walk - it wasn't that difficult though as I steadily climbed across the fields to reach the high limestone grasslands above Castleton and bagged my final dale of the day, Cave Dale; which was a difficult descent today due to the large amounts of water and the slippery rocks.

I had time in Castleton to enjoy some fish and chips this time. By the time I had eaten them the sun had set and it was getting rather cold. As I was sitting in the bus station waiting for the bus I began to shiver and feel a little uncomfortable; possibly because I'd been sweating a lot earlier and my clothes were now damp.

I broke open one of those chemical hand waters: it wasn't very effective though.