The number 51 bus was ten minutes late today: during the thirty minutes I was therefore waiting for it on Arundel Gate in Sheffield nearly a dozen number 120 buses going to Crystal Peaks must have passed me - they seem to be everywhere in the city centre.
I rode on the bus all the way to the terminus at Lodge Moor and then took the path which leads northwards and downhill into Fox Hagg Nature Reserve. After a few minutes I turned left and headed towards the Peak District. The path remained quite high and I had occasional glimpses of the Rivelin Dams through the dense silver birch woods, which had now nearly lost all their leaves.
I reached the furthest west point of the walk, and was briefly inside the boundary of the National Park for a few hundred yards, in an area that I know as Redmires; local Sheffield people might call it by another name though. I came up from the woods, crossed over Redmires Road and walked along Soughley Lane - I don't know which pronunciation is correct, a quick look at the Google search results didn't help.
I walked in an easterly direction along Brown Hills Lane, passed Bole Hill, where I got a decent photograph a bit further on, and then turned right at Bennett Grange.
I then turned left down a very narrow enclosed lane where I would have had a lot of trouble if a car had been needing to use the road at the same time, fortunately none did.
I arrived at a small group of buildings which isn't named on the Ordnance Survey map; there's a Methodist Church, an old school which is now an environmental study centre, a postbox, and a row of cottages a few yards away down the lane I took, identified as 'Workhouse Cottages' - I've not come across this term before; maybe this being a rural area, these cottages were used as the actual parish workhouse. I'm quite interested in workhouses; I was actually born in one: in truth it was a local hospital by that time...but if no-one asks for clarification, I don't volunteer the additional information.
I continued to walk across farmland pastures until I reached the Porter Valley at Clough Lane. There's a waterfall here with a drop of about eight foot, after the recent heavy rain it was looking quite impressive today. As usual my camera's automatic settings couldn't cope with the fast moving water, and I couldn't cope with the camera's manual settings.
It was quite sunny when I reached Forge Dam Cafe; there had been a couple of light showers earlier though. I went inside although there were people sitting outside, and it was pleasantly warm. I ordered a cooked breakfast; I thought it was a bit more expensive than the last time I visited a couple of years ago...in particular, £2 for a mug of tea is a bit much.
It was raining again when I left the cafe, quite a bit heavier this time and so I got a chance to wear my new trapper's hat...it was very warm; probably too warm for a mild day in October. The sun was shining again only a few minutes later though, and this was the best weather of the walk. I found the path that I was looking for that leads uphill towards Cottage Lane. I kept stopping to admire the spectacular views of the western suburbs of Sheffield behind me, spotlit by the sun and framed by a complete semi-circle rainbow: I took several dozen photographs, and here are the best two.
In my enthusiasm to get the best camera angles I lost the track of the path and had to climb over a wall to get onto another path, which fortunately would take me in approximately the same direction.
I stopped to eat some chocolate, sitting on a bench with a nice view towards the city centre. It was right next to horse chestnut tree and conkers were regularly falling about me; one landed on my left shoulder and another landed on my right boot; no damage though...no young boys excited by this easy bounty though either. Do children still play conkers now?
It was a short stretch of road, then a short cut across some fields and I was at the covered reservoir on Ringinglow Road. The path then went dead straight across grassy fields for a few hundred yards; I was quite high up here again and the visibility was good - the horizon was populated by power station cooling towers and several dozen wind turbines glinting in the sunlight - you'd think the cost of electricity in Yorkshire would be relatively cheap compared to other parts of the country; we certainly seem to generate a lot of it.
I had some steep steps to climb down to reach the bottom of the Limb Valley; by the time I'd reached the well-maintained bridleway going alongside the river it had started raining again. I had intended to finish today's walk at Abbeydale, but it was clear that I'd already had the best of the weather and I couldn't imagine that I'd be missing out on anything by not walking through Ecclesall Wood in the rain.
I got to the bus shelter on Ecclesall Road just as the number 272 bus from Castleton was arriving; it looked like that it had been delayed by a couple of cyclists that it couldn't get past.
Perfect timing for me!