Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Calver, Hassop, and Bakewell.

I couldn't resist the chance to get out in the snow today. I was hoping it would be sunny too, but the weather forecast wasn't very accurate; the sun didn't come out until I'd nearly reached Bakewell and finished the walk.

As usual, the train to Sheffield on a weekday was overcrowded, probably even more so than usual because of delays and cancellations. I ended up sitting on the floor of the first class vestibule area: I had already rehearsed what I would be saying to the guard if he was going to insist that I move...but I never saw him. [The guard on the return journey back to Doncaster from Sheffield didn't inspect the tickets or take any fares either, and the driver stepped out of his cab and seemed to be having a pre-arranged meeting with several railway staff on the platform at Doncaster.]

As soon as I got off the bus at Calver I put on my ice grippers. I needed them today, and they were very effective: there was a couple of inches of lying snow and plenty of black ice about. Unfortunately the grippers didn't last out the day: they disintegrated as I was walking along a long stretch of metalled road just beyond Hassop. I probably should have taken them off for this stretch, but they are even more difficult to take off than they are to put on...and anyhow, some of the most dangerous areas underfoot are where snow and ice has been compacted on ungritted country roads.

The first part of the walk, along Bramley Wood and then Bank Wood has good views ahead and to both the left and right - it's a sort of ridge that I was walking along I suppose.

I soon reached the road that goes down into Hassop. There were some roadworks just beyond the church and this meant that by careful timing I could stand in the middle of this normally busy road and take some photographs of the building from a favourable angle.



As you can see, the church is quite unusual: it was built in the early nineteenth century as a private chapel for the Catholic members of the Eyre family.

I left Hassop on the Great Longstone road and after about half I mile I found the path that goes along the perimeter wall of Hassop Hall and heads across open fields to Toll Bar House. I then walked along the road for a few hundred yards, passing under the old railway bridge, where I noticed an old milestone had been renovated: however it is no use to anyone since the only lettering that can be read is 'LONDON' - it doesn't indicate in which direction London is, or how far away it is either.

At Rowdale House I took the footpath that leads up through woodland and then across high pastures to eventually drop down into Bakewell.

At Bakewell I had a meal of fish and chips in the restaurant above one of the fish and chip shops: from my table I had a good view of Portland Square and the 'Bakewell Pudding Factory.'



After having my meal the sun was still shining as I spent a few minutes walking down by the river before I needed to catch the bus: I wasn't alone though - there were a lot of  noisy birds eager to be fed...but not by me!