Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tideswell Lane Head, Ravensdale Cottages, Cressbrook, Upperdale, Monsal Head, Little Longstone, Great Longstone, Rowland, Hassop, and Baslow.

Today I ended up getting off the bus at the same stop as about a dozen members of one of the Sheffield walking groups, and I immediately set off at a brisk pace so that I could get far enough in front of them in order to have a pee out of sight.

The walk along Litton Edge is easy enough, being across grassland; and the views are wide-ranging in most directions. By the time I reached the road which leads out of the village the other walkers were nowhere to be seen, and it wasn't long until I was on the path heading down into the valley - Cressbrook Dale is usually dry this high up, near to its head; but not today...there is certainly no sign of the drought in this part of Derbyshire.

I crossed the quite substantial stream, which is called 'Cress Brook' I suppose, and headed south along the bottom of the valley. Straight ahead of me is a prominent rock called 'Peter's Stone' - supposedly because of its similarity to the dome of St. Peter's in Rome. It is also claimed to be the site of the last hanging by a gibbet in England .



Just a couple of hundred yards further on I saw my first 'early purple orchids' of the year. I haven't seen these beautiful flowers anywhere else except for on the grassy slopes of the limestone dales in the Peak District. They are very striking and I'm sure wouldn't look out of place in anyone's front garden.



The next section of the walk was through woodland: wild garlic was everywhere, and the smell is very pungent. I soon arrived at the hamlet of Ravensdale Cottages and then took the road down into Cressbrook where I paused for a few seconds to admire the old mill and take a photograph. The reason that it's so well maintained these days is because it's been converted into executive flats, just like nearby Litton Mill.



Half a mile further on at Upperdale I usually cross over the bridge and head for the Monsal Trail, and arrive at Monsal Head by climbing up the steep path through the woods. Today I continued along the road though, noticing that some very specific parking restrictions apply along this section.


I wonder what the significance of September 30th is? I'm thinking that maybe there's some event on that day that attracts a lot of people to the immediate area.

The route up to Monsal Head isn't quite as challenging as my normal route is; I was still ready for an ice cream when I reached the top though. I've never seen Monsal Head so busy; there was certainly enough trade for the two ice cream vans; and the pub and café.

I walked down the road to Little Longstone, noticing all the cars parked on the verge, and then walked across the fields to Great Longstone.

It's a pleasant walk across more fields to Rowland, and then Hassop, where I took several photographs of the unusual Catholic Church which looks like an Ancient Greek temple. I couldn't get any suitable angles though and so wasn't satisfied with any of my efforts.

Just beyond Hassop I sat on a grassy knoll for a  while and enjoyed watching a small aeroplane perform aerobatics; it must have been part of the entertainment at an event at the Bakewell Showground.

For about ten minutes I had to walk along the main Bakewell road, something I never really enjoy, and then headed uphill and then gently downhill again into Baslow.

The bus was fifteen minutes late and I had to stand up nearly all the way to Sheffield.