As the bus was climbing up towards Fox House this morning I was surprised at how much snow still remained from last week. I didn't travel all the way to Fox House though, I got off at Blacka Moor and walked along the footpath through woodland which parallels the road, being just the other side of a high wall. After only a few minutes I noticed two memorial plaques; one commemorating the centenary of the South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire area of the Cyclists' Touring Club in 1978, and the other which had been placed a few yards further on by the Sheffield and South Pennines Topographical Society a year earlier.
I soon left the wood and then took the track which initially runs alongside the western boundary of the wood, but then crosses open countryside. I could see the highest point of the moor, and so headed for it, having a bit of fun on the way in a deep snowdrift which had survived in a sheltered hollow.
This location probably wasn't the highest land in the immediate area because I reached the Trig Point on Totley Moor.
By now I was walking along a substantial track which eventually led down to the road at a gas pumping station of some sort, just a few hundred yards west of Owler Bar.
I crossed the road and followed the path which cuts across the north-eastern corner of Big Moor; the chimneys and roof of the house associated with the old reservoir soon came into view. As I passed the building I observed that it looked as though it was occupied: although its location is extremely isolated, it does have a good metalled road leading to it.
I passed by the house and continued following the track southwards, occasionally crossing the Bar Brook using well-built stone bridges. Along this section I spotted a man who looked like he was picking berries; I can't imagine what they might be at this time of year...he was certainly regularly bending down though and placing something into a small transparent plastic bag.
Maybe half an hour later I arrived at the Baslow road, crossed over it and continued along a well-defined path across access land. This led me to a stretch of country road which I had walked along only two weeks earlier, I think. After only a few yards I noticed some bamboo canes stuck in the ground next to a roadside wall; I went closer to investigate and discovered that several fruiting or flowering bushes had been deliberately planted, and staked.
Another few minutes and I was at a crossroads and climbed over a stile (or possibly walked through a gate - I can't remember) onto more access land and took a path which was leading towards Birchen Edge. I soon caught up with, and passed , a couple who were being very careful in picking their routes across the boggy ground. I surmised that they didn't want to get too muddy because they were probably going to visit the Robin Hood Inn.
I reached the base of the Edge and soon found a way to scramble to the top and obtain my first view of Nelson's Monument, and a few yards away, the Three Ships: prominent boulders inscribed with the names of three of Nelson's most famous ships, Victory, Defiance, and Royal Soverin.
It was a quite difficult descent down to the main Chesterfield road, passing by the Robin Hood Inn and being wary of the traffic on my steady walk down into Baslow, where I had time to enjoy a hot Cornish pasty before catching the bus.