Sunday, August 25, 2013

Baslow, Beeley Hilltop, Beeley, and Rowsley.

Well...I tried to get to Fairholmes again today, but I failed again. My train was delayed again so I had to make alternative plans. I'd already got a second choice walk worked out though, I always have; catch the 215 service to Chatsworth House. On the bus it was standing room only, although I did get a seat. It was an uncomfortable journey though, I couldn't move at all and soon got cramp and pins and I got off early at Baslow Nether End and walked into the northern part of Chatsworth Park, climbing up through the woods to reach the Hunting Tower.  The weather was a bit disappointing all day, quite hazy, and so the views weren't very clear.

I continued walking along one of the well-maintained tracks that goes through the woods, to reach Beeley Moor. I walked down across the access land to Beeley Hilltop and then descended further across the fields to Beeley. In the village I met two flowerpot men and called for refreshments at the Devonshire Arms.

The path towards Fallinge starts in grassy fields but then reaches woodland as it gets higher; there's a switchback near to the top which I missed. I considered climbing over the wall which was blocking my way, but decided to double back and look for the stile.

I somehow actually missed Fallinge and ended up taking a path and then a track leading down through woodland to the road. Due to my trying to remember the route, rather than looking at the map, I took the wrong path, the path which leads down to Rowsley, instead of going further south to Northwood. Never meant I had enough time to pop into the Peak Village Shopping Centre for a cup of tea - the service was slow and so I had to gulp it down to make sure I didn't miss the bus. It was very busy at Chatsworth; the carparks were full and cars were parked on the grass. There were people everywhere; families walking dogs, playing games and having picnics: there were a lot of tents and marquees being erected...and a temporary footbridge across the river. Two dozen passengers got on at Chatsworth House and another twenty two at Bakewell; yet TM Travel, the bus operator, will insist that some of the Peak District services aren't economically viable.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Foolow, Wardlow Mires, Cressbrook, Upperdale, Monsal Head, Little Longstone, Ashford-in-the-Water, and Bakewell.

I had planned to go to Fairholmes today and start by walking alongside the shore of the reservoir. The train was twenty five minutes late departing from Doncaster and so I caught the service number sixty five instead and got off at Foolow .

On the train people were complaining to each other; it was annoying me and so I told them they should do something about it and refuse to pay their fares. No-one took my advice though; I would have refused to pay, but I have a free travel pass. I don't know what the legal situation would be if I refused to show my pass to the ticket inspector: maybe I'd end up in court, but more likely I'd just have my pass withdrawn.

The bus wasn't much bigger than a minibus and was already full when it reached the stop near to the railway station, where I had gone hoping the earlier 273 bus might just be a few minutes late and I'd be able to catch it. I had to stand up, but was struggling. I was holding on to two upright supports to brace myself, one of which was rattling and obviously working loose - I was lurching from side to side as the bus cornered, staggering forward when the brakes were applied, and accidentally poking out the eyes of several passengers with my elbows and the dangling straps of my rucksack. Noticing the situation, a man offered me his seat - he was a lot smaller than me...and much better at balancing too.

The walk didn't get off to a good start; the bus driver jammed on the brakes just as I was getting up from my seat, resulting in my pulling a muscle in my lower back.

The bus-stop at Foolow is directly opposite to the pub. Fortunately the walking was easy across the fields to Wardlow Mires. Just before getting there I was approached by a family which was camping locally; they were from Devon and wanted some suggestions as to where to visit in the Peak District during their stay. I mentioned Eyam, Castleton, Kinder Scout, Bakewell, Monsal Head, and Matlock Bath...which they were keen to visit. I forgot Chatsworth House though...oops.

There's a café at Wardlow Mires, Yondermann's; I popped in, noticing the motorbikes parked outside. As I expected, it was packed - I had a quick look at the menu and the meals seemed to be good value for money.

I then took the path which goes all the way down Cressbrook Dale, passing Peter's Stone and the Ravensdale Cottages.

I gave myself a boost by eating some chocolate sitting at a picnic table at Upperdale before climbing up to Monsal Head. I bought an ice cream and sat for a few minutes enjoying the spectacular view. The weather wasn't at its best, and so the photographs I took weren't as good as I'd, here's a photograph of some other people also enjoying the view, as you can see, it was quite cloudy.

I walked down the road to Little Longstone and noticed a sign for some tearooms which I think must be new, The Hollow Dining Room And Tea Garden. It looks like it's a converted old country house - I even had to ring a large brass hand bell for service. I ordered a pot of tea; it was good value for £1.75. I got four cups out of it; the food was very expensive though. Everything supposedly was made on the premises; many of the items on the menu preceded by the word 'Yorkshire.' Maybe the owners were from Yorkshire...or maybe it's just that describing home-cooked food as 'Derbyshire' just doesn't have the same effect.

There's a lovely large garden, but the tables and chairs hadn't been put out - I had a nice view from my table though.

I then walked across the fields to Ashford-in-the-Water, tripping up over a small yapping terrier on the way. I nearly flattened it as I hit the ground; fortunately the dog's owner was more concerned about me than her dog, though  I wasn't hurt, or even shook up; I was just trying to suppress a fit of the giggles.

I was aware of the time the bus leaves Bakewell as I approached Ashford-in-the-Water. I did have time for a quick glass of Diet Coke at one of the pubs though before continuing on my way alongside the river to Bakewell.

Only a few hundred yards after passing Ashford I saw a large trout jump two foot out of the water and land with a splash, something I've never seen before.

The bus was on time at Bakewell and a train being late at Sheffield worked in my favour.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thorne Moors

Another local walk today, to Thorne Moors; a truly unique place - the largest expanse of lowland raised peat bogs in the U.K....and it's claimed that at one location in the middle of the moors you are further from a metalled road than anywhere else in England.

Since the demolition of the local colliery and its winding gear a few years later there are no landmarks to help with navigation. Apart from the occasional abandoned peat stack the landscape is uniformly flat. This moor isn't like a moor in the Peak District where I could freely roam; I'm forced to stick to the paths and trackways, most of them as straight as an arrow. There are large expanses of deep water, dangerous bogs, dense impenetrable woods and scrubland, grasses taller than me....and venomous snakes lurking in the undergrowth...and even on the path right in front of you. I'll mention them later. On a warm summer's day like today I could have been in Africa.

I got off the bus in Moorends and got some pop and a sandwich from the shop. It's a bit of a walk in the first place to get to the moors, through a housing estate and then along the old pit lane.

When I reached the moors I took the path which leads in an easterly direction right to the Lincolnshire boundary, which is marked by a drainage ditch with only one footbridge crossing it. There are some extensive views along this section when you leave the wooded areas, especially to the north where the three Aire Valley power stations loom like gigantic ships approaching Goole Docks from the wrong direction. The famous salt and pepper pot watertowers at Goole, as well as the cranes at the docks and the spire of the church are also visible. They're not visible in the photograph though.

I walked over the bridge into Lincolnshire and was officially standing on Crowle Moors for a few seconds before I returned to Yorkshire and took a photograph of the sign that welcomes walkers to Doncaster. Part of the wording on the sign isn't very welcoming at all though.

On previous visits I've come across adders, England's only venomous snakes, but I didn't see any today. I can't say whether I was disappointed or not.

It wasn't long until I reached the observation platform.

I spent at least five minutes scanning the horizon with my binoculars. Apart from the landmarks mentioned earlier, I spotted the plume from Keadby power station off to the east. 

I noticed that quite a few benches have been placed on the moors since my last visit; I sat at one of these to eat my sandwich and have a drink.

From here it was only about half an hour back to the housing estate at Moorends where a bus was just approaching the bus-stop. I had to jog for a few yards to catch it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Denby Dale, Thurlstone, and Penistone

Denby Dale Railway Station is sited at the end of a high viaduct and so there are quite a few steps down to the main road: I walked along the road for a few minutes; it was quite dark due to the large overhanging trees. I reached the junction with the Barnsley road and soon located my path, a short section of the Dearne Way along a metalled track leading to a farm. It was a bit of a climb up to the farm through more glowering trees, but I was soon in open country; grassy fields delineated by drystone walls.

The next section led up to a prominent ridge with extensive views from the top, to the east I could see a long way today, well beyond the Aire Valley power stations; possibly as far as the Yorkshire Wolds.

I then ended up walking a bit further along a stretch of minor road than I had planned, due to a slight navigation error; I missed my intended footpath by no more than a few dozen yards. This mistake did have its bonus though; the sight of dozens of birds perched on power lines; like a short section of sheet music hanging in the sky.

I was back on course as I was walking down Green Lane, a wide track which eventually became a footpath leading across more grassy fields. I stopped to eat my sandwiches here and listen to the cricket commentary; in sight of twenty one wind turbines, some turning at various rates in the breeze, others not. I should think that there's a simple mathematical relationship between the size of the blades and the speed of rotation.

I reached another country lane which led down to Ingbirchworth Reservoir then took the southerly lane going uphill to reach the Barnsley Boundary Walk which is rated as a bridleway, but isn't up to the required standard here. Just before reaching Ingbirchworth I turned right and walked along the path which goes parallel to the bottom of the dam wall of Royd Moor Reservoir. 

A bit further on there's a folly marked on the map; I did a short detour to have a look at it - I couldn't see anything though; all I found was a farm which referred to the folly in its name...the lane was called Folly Lane too!

The path I selected went along the southern shore of the reservoir and came out onto the road above Thurlstone. I walked down into the village; there are some impressive stone-built houses there. I didn't go into the village centre though; I took a path across a couple of fields which drops down onto the main road going to Penistone. On the outskirts of the town I took a photograph of a roadside hoarding advertising a local pub; I don't know if it's clever wordplay...or if the pub was ever called 'The White Hart' at one time.

I arrived in Penistone town centre just after two buses had left for Barnsley. Since it was nearly an hour for the next one I thought I might as well get the train. I still had fifty minutes to wait for the train though (not very good scheduling of public transport there) and so looked round the shops before setting off for the station.

The train arrived on time; the Cleethorpes train was five minutes late at Meadowhall...which worked to my advantage for once.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Froggatt Edge With Chris and Simon

Another walk today with Chris and Simon from Leeds.

I arrived as planned at Fox House at 09:50 and so had nearly half an hour to wait until Chris and Simon arrived in the car; so I got the camera out. The photo I've chosen depicts the view from the pub's rear beer garden.

Thirty minutes later we set off, crossing the road and walking through the grounds of Longshaw Estate. After a couple of hundred yards Chris suddenly stopped and shouted "Rucksack!" He'd left his rucksack in the car; neither Simon nor myself had noticed.

It's easy going through Longshaw Estate, on gravel tracks..and the views are good, especially westwards towards the Hope Valley.

We reached the road, passed the Grouse Inn, isolated on the moors, and took a path just beyond the car park which led down to a small wood at the side of 
Haywood Car Park.

Another road to cross, at a location where we needed to be careful, and then we were on the path which soon goes right along the top of Froggatt Edge. We stopped at many of the rock formations to admire the views and Simon spent a few minutes posing for photos with the docile Highland cattle.

Simon also enjoyed posing next to the Eagle Rock, managing to climb about halfway up without any difficulty.

The Wellington Monument was next; no opportunity to pose here because a small group of people had got there first. We reached the road and then entered the access land on Big Moor. There's well-defined and well-maintained path that leads to White Edge, higher than Froggatt Edge, but not as spectacular...but there are distant views all the way to Sheffield and the Trent Valley power stations - we even discussed if Nottingham might be visible using binoculars.

It was a straightforward walk back to Fox House, where we arrived fifteen minutes before the number 65 bus was due. It didn't arrive; the next bus, the 272, due thirty minutes later, was five minutes late and was only a single-decker. Being first in the queue I got a seat; several people didn't though.

My train from Sheffield back to Doncaster was ten minutes late, and then delayed even further en route. Not a good day for public transport.