Sunday, July 29, 2012

Great Hucklow, Abney Grange, Bretton, Highcliffe, Eyam, Stoney Middleton and Calver.

I got off the bus, crossed the road and walked up the bridleway which goes towards Great Hucklow Wood, passing by the school en route to the road which leads to the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club.

Although not marked on the map I noticed a footpath which might give me an early view of the airfield. Indeed it did, as soon as I reached a convenient viewing location I saw the last seconds of a glider's approach and landing; somewhat obscured by trees though.

I was able to capture images of another glider just lying on the grass (I'm assuming this is perfectly normal) and the windsock and weather station...I'm guessing.

I walked along the road for only a few seconds and then took a footpath which went across fields, down into a shallow valley, which seemed to be the head of Bretton Clough. At this point I was able to observe the entire process of a glider being launched; at first I heard the noise of an engine as the winch which drags the tether was started. I wasn't sure what was happening, but a few seconds later I noticed a glider only a few feet above the ground being pulled and hoisted by the tether. A few seconds later it was high in the air and the tether was released and fell back to the ground using a small parachute - I was quite relieved by this actually, since I was only in the next field. I managed to take a few photographs.

I then walked past a recently-disused pumping house, well hidden away right in the bottom of the valley, and continued back up the other side to join the narrow road which leads to Abney Grange. I took a footpath just before reaching the first building and was in a field with a flock of sheep; for some reason they all started to rush towards me; I would have been scared if they were cows though...I've had several bad experiences with cattle - on one occasion nearly being chased into the River Nidd, near Pateley Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales.

I descended back down into the same valley which I had crossed earlier; this time it was much steeper and deeper. To my left I could see an area of unusual landscape features; in the foreground a range of small parallel ridges, and further on, a series of steep, conical hillocks. I don't know what could have caused this disruption; possibly mining spoilheaps or a old landslip.

I climbed up the opposite bank of the clough a few yards and then took the path leading eastwards and was soon walking along the crests of these ridges, and then winding my way around the bases of the conical hillocks; when I was younger I would have probably climbed to the top of the larger ones.

A few minutes later I climbed out of the clough, utilising an easy path which had stone steps for part of its length. At the top I walked across fields and found the line of the footpath...which goes right next to a house at Bretton; literally going right by the front door.

It was only a short walk to the Barrel Inn, the highest pub in Derbyshire, where I bought a soft drink and enjoyed it on the patio area out front - I was alone, but the beer garden at the back was quite busy.

Just as I was finishing my drink it started to rain; there were a few short showers today, so I popped inside for a few minutes until it had stopped. I then walked down the road towards Eyam, taking a photograph of a lovely roadside display of ox-eyed daisies, which I know as 'moonpennies'. The yellow flowers are really pretty too, but I don't know what they are though.

At the hamlet of Highcliffe I followed the track which goes down to Eyam, but after a few yards I took the footpath which leads down to a dell and then through woodland to eventually arrive at the Town Head area of the village.

I walked through Eyam, and briefly popped into the courtyard of the craft centre... noting for future reference that were toilets there. I soon reached the tearooms and had my first cream tea of the summer; the waitress commented that she thought it strange that I had asked for marmalade...I've never come across this before, I always thought it was quite common - just a variant on jam.

I then walked along Mill Lane to Stoney Middleton, a route I haven't taken before, and arrived at Calver Crossroads about five minutes before the bus was due - it was few minutes late though.