Sunday, August 12, 2012

Baslow, Curbar Gap, Froggatt, Grindleford, Leadmill, and Hathersage

I got off the bus at Baslow Nether End and my first port of call was the toilets, and then the shop - for a carton of milk and a flapjack to set me up for the walk ahead.

I walked up Bar Road and for the first time I didn't need to stop to catch my breath; my fitness level seems to be really improving now after two years of almost weekly walks in the Peak District. I quickly caught up with, and then overtook, a young couple: I was quite proud of myself. I did briefly stop once though, further up the hill, to photograph the name of a house which was informing me of that which was obvious to me.

I didn't continue right to the top of the moors, but turned north along a path halfway up the climb. I've not gone this way before; I've previously walked along the top of the Edge and down in the bottom of the valley; but from this midway point the terrain and views are just as interesting - it was quite hazy though; it did brighten up later, before clouding over again and then starting raining.

The path continued for over a mile and then I reached Curbar Gap, a popular beauty spot. I walked down the road for a couple of minutes and then picked up what was most likely a continuation of the same path: I could see right down into the valley of the River Derwent to my left, and the high ground beyond, and to my right there was Curbar Edge with many climbers and hikers silhouetted on the close-by horizon as I was struggling to look towards the direction of the sun, which was breaking through the clouds by now.

 This section of path was quite well used for the first few hundred yards; there were plenty of large rocks which could be used for bouldering, but it soon became more and more difficult to follow.  I eventually ended up trying to walk through dense bracken which was taller than me, and it was quite dangerous underfoot with there being a lot of boulders, loose rock, and fallen and damaged trees everywhere...and a steep descent. I soon gave up, re-traced my steps for a few hundred yards and found a way down where it wasn't quite so overgrown.

It didn't take long to find a path, looking at the map it seems to be a different one however, and after a pleasant walk through the woodland I arrived at the Chequers Inn, situated on the highest part of Froggatt village. It looked tempting; but I feared it was far too posh for me; being sweaty, covered in mud and having bits of bracken and silver birch still clinging to my clothes.

So...I walked past the pub and continued up the road for maybe a quarter of a mile and then took the footpath which descends through woodland to Grindleford. Along this stretch I managed to take a photograph of a foxglove plant, hanging at a precarious angle and catching the sunlight.

I soon reached Grindleford, crossed the road and continued walking alongside the river, upstream in the direction of Leadmill, and then Hathersage. I reached Hathersage with enough time to spare to visit the toilets and pop into the shop for another flapjack: I faced a choice, Devonshire Flapjacks or Dorset Flapjacks. They were both the same price and so I decided to purchase whichever variety was larger. Now; I know that the county of  Devon is larger than Dorset so I picked that flapjack up first...75 grams. Dorset seemed heavier in my hand; and it was - 125 Dorset was my choice.