I chose today's walk for a couple of specific reasons. First; my bowels were a bit delicate when I woke up this morning and so I didn't want to be too far from some toilets, and there are public toilets at both Fox House and Longshaw Lodge - and I'd be able to use the facilities at the café at Grindleford Station later. The second reason for today's location was that after all the recent rainfall I was hoping that Padley Gorge would be spectacular; and I wasn't disappointed - the waterfalls and cascades were well worth the visit.
I had planned to get off the bus at the Surprise View Car Park, but the bus overheated and broke down at Fox House. There was an obvious burning smell all the way up the hill from Sheffield; and even as the vehicle was idling whilst I scanned my pass into the ticket machine as I was boarding, I could hear a loose panel rattling somewhere.
As he was waiting for the engine to cool down the driver mentioned that it's now the responsibility of the cleaners to make sure that a vehicle is roadworthy before it leaves the garage. I think this is silly, expecting unqualified staff to be so flexible and knowledgeable...it's probably dangerous too. Later on, a much more flexible use of staff occurred at the café though, when one of the waitresses was required to put a couple of logs on the fire.
My intended stop was only half a mile down the road so I got off the bus at Fox House, walked along the path that goes at the side of the road to Toad's Mouth and then took a path which goes along the bank of the Burbage Brook for a few hundred yards. I have never seen so much water in the brook and therefore knew that further downstream, in Padley Gorge, it would be spectacular.
I then walked across the moor to Surprise View. The view westwards up the Hope Valley was lovely, with the low on the horizon sun perfectly illuminating the scene before my eyes.
I then rather aimlessly wandered around the site of Bole Hill Quarry, which after a hundred years since its closure has now well and truly been returned to nature. There are some lovely views, both in the distance and close up of the quarry faces, many interesting remains of buildings and the industrial landscape...and a lot of silver birch trees.
After having fun climbing down and then scrambling back up the various quarry faces and spoil heaps I then followed a path which took me half way down Padley Gorge; I knew I wouldn't get lost - I could hear the roar of the water in the distance.
I continued down to Upper Padley and had a cooked breakfast at the station café as usual and then walked down to Leadmill where there seemed to be even more water in the fields than there was on my previous visit a couple of weeks earlier.
It was then only a short walk into Hathersage where I had enough time to pop into the garage shop and buy a flapjack.