Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bakewell, Rowsley, Pilhough, and Stanton Woodhouse.

I was checking the Ordnance Survey map covering the White Peak area the other day, looking for any reachable villages or hamlets that I haven't visited yet; and Pilhough seems to be just about the only one. [Actually there's also the Chatsworth Estate hamlet of Dunsa, located down a dead-end lane with no footpaths leading off anywhere....maybe I'll visit there later - I don't like re-tracing my steps on a walk though.]

I started today's walk in Bakewell, walking up the hill towards the old station, now on the Monsal Trail walking and cycling route. As I climbed higher some lovely views looking towards the golf course opened up.

I continued beyond the station though, taking the footpath that continues uphill, briefly crossing one of the fairways of the golf course, and then struggling a bit through muddy ground up through woodland to a country lane at the top of the ridge. 

I then turned right along a farm track which leads to the wide open grasslands of Calton Pastures; one of my favourite places in the Peak District because it is so completely different to anywhere else else in the National Park.

I think Calton Pastures wouldn't look out of place in the Prairies of Kansas - I've never been to Kansas, but these are the results of a Google Images search and some of the photographs do look quite similar.

After crossing the Pastures I walked through woodland, and then forestry tracks down to Rowsley. I walked straight through the village and headed for the country road which leads up to Pilhough. Unfortunately Pilhough was a disappointment, just consisting of a few houses positioned at a crossroads. There were some nice views from the elevated location though, both northwards looking towards Haddon Hall, and southwards towards the Derwent Valley.

I turned left at the crossroads and walked along the road that leads towards Stanton Lees, but took the first path which dropped down towards the river, and back to Rowsley to catch the bus to Sheffield.

When the bus arrived I knew there might be problems later although there were only myself and another passenger onboard. It was only a 30 seater; not enough capacity if a lot of people were to get on at Chatsworth House or Bakewell...or there's a large walking group waiting at a bus stop.

By the time the bus left Bakewell it was absolutely full, in fact the driver drove straight past a small group of hikers at Baslow.  It's only an hourly service, so they would have had a long wait; there's a nice cafĂ© at Nether End though, where they were waiting. They might have been able to get back to Sheffield via Chesterfield - assuming their tickets were valid.

As soon as it started the long climb up to Owler Bar the bus was struggling; the engine was blasting out a loud, high-pitched screech which bounced about inside my sinuses. I found this to be very unpleasant, even physically painful and nauseating. Things got worse on the bus later though.

It wasn't long until the vehicle was travelling at not much more than walking pace and violently lurching back and forward like a demented bucking bronco.

My knees were tightly wedged against the back of the seat in front, they soon started to go numb and then hurting me - they're still sore now several hours later. Before I reached Sheffield, not only were my knees sore, but I'd pulled a muscle in my neck and hurt my lower back; my bum went so completely numb that I could have shit myself without noticing.

As the bus dropped off passengers in the suburbs of Sheffield, for the first few stops a young woman with a toddler in a pushchair who was standing at the front of the bus because there was nowhere else for her to go, had to get off to let the other passengers disembark, and then get back on to continue her journey - obviously this procedure was causing the bus to be running late.

What an incompetent way to run a bus service; I knew this type of thing would happen when TM Motors decided to combine two of their routes into one service...and only use vehicles with a relatively small capacity.

By a long way, today's bus journey from Rowsley was the most unpleasant, and painful, I've ever been on. When I got off the bus in Sheffield I was walking like an orang-utan with painful piles and a throbbing hangover. 

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