Sunday, May 20, 2012

Surprise View and Hathersage.

Today it was unseasonably cold, even compared to the rest of this year's awful spring; it was also damp, dark and misty...but not actually raining.

It was good weather for slugs though; at three and a half inches in length, this must have been the longest I've ever seen.



The weather did brighten up later though, and for about an hour around lunchtime was sunny and quite warm.

I got off the bus at Surprise View car park and walked a few yards along the road in the direction of Hathersage and took the first footpath which led to the bottom of Millstone Edge; the dramatic wall of rock which can be clearly seen high on the horizon from down in the village.

If the visibility had been better I would have been able to get some really good photographs looking down along both the Hope Valley and the Derwent Valley. It was far too misty and so I didn't bother with the long shorts; but this one looking in the other direction towards the edge is okay.


At first the path is very well defined, obviously due to a large number of climbers using it, but as I got further away from the road it became narrower and eventually led up to the top of the cliff. This short climb was as near to mountaineering as I ever want to experience: I was bent over, using my hands to steady myself and grabbing onto trees and boulders for support, and having to carefully place every step I took.

I took a break at the top and then continued along the path which runs along the edge of the moor, eventually coming down onto the Ringinglow road. I then walked down Callow Bank, which had a series of notices posted at its entrance informing people that it is now closed to motorised traffic: I can't imagine anything other than motorcycles ever being able to get down there though.

At the bottom of Callow Bank I took the footpath which leads off to the right, back up to the road, further on; and then walked along a rather circuitous route along a road which eventually leads down into Hathersage.

I took the track which leads to Kimber Court Farm; when I got there I thought I'd inadvertently stumbled upon a secret UN military base. There were several old humanitarian aid shipping containers, portable toilets, what looked like an underground bunker...and a camouflaged armoured vehicle guarding the whole operation.



I naturally took several photographs, but couldn't see what my zoom lens had captured until later. It seems that the farm is where the props for a forthcoming film '8 Acre' are being stored. I've included a link to the trailer; it looks like some type of politically-incorrect satirical comedy set in Derbyshire.

It's a short walk mainly through woodland back to Hathersage Church, where I then took a footpath leading northwards, away from the village, towards Stanage Edge. I only went as far as just beyond North Lees where I managed to find a ruined chapel which is marked on the map. Not much remains; only an archway - which I think has been re-built.



More ruins soon followed; this time an old water mill in a pleasant woodland clearing.

Finally; the route back to Hathersage is gently downhill, mainly along well prepared tracks...but with a couple of short sections across boggy fields.