When I left the house this morning at 7:30 it really was quite uncomfortably chilly; however, by the time I reached Calver it was pleasantly warm and sunny, with a refreshing breeze - excellent conditions for walking...and taking photographs.
I started by walking up Coombs Dale; the nearest of the limestone dales to Sheffield. It's not the prettiest, or most interesting of the Derbyshire dales, but it does have some delightful spots, some old mine workings...and dangerous slurry lagoons near to the head of the dale as well.
After passing by a forest of 'Danger', 'Do Not Enter' and 'Prohibited' signs I turned left and climbed uphill towards Longstone Edge. Two of the largest cows I have ever seen, probably six foot tall, briefly blocked my way before deciding to move on. I briefly considered ducking underneath their udders...there was certainly enough room. (The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow is tonight - I wonder if ducking beneath stationary cows is ever likely to feature?)
I needed to cross one of the quarry roads before reaching the top of the climb, holding back for a few seconds as a giant earth moving vehicle passed by, stirring up a large cloud of dust.
The views from the top of Longstone Edge were spoilt today by the hazy conditions down on the plain.
The path down from the edge was difficult, very narrow, eroded, and steep, with brambles clawing at my boots from one side, and gorse bushes trying to poke out my eyes from the other side. There was certainly nothing to hold on to to steady my balance, and I had to get down on my backside a few times.
Taking this route down the approach to Great Longstone is along a short dry valley; I first had to pass through a gate - it was broken before I even touched it, there wasn't much left at all after I'd attempted to open it. (The photograph was taken before I passed through.)
I stopped for refreshments at one of the pubs in Great Longstone, a glass of Diet Coke, and as I left the village I posed for a selfie [of a sort.]
After a few hundred yards I was on the Monsal Trail...and then a pot of tea at Hassop Station Café. I didn't linger; I wanted to catch the 2:30 bus so that I'd arrive back at Sheffield to make sure I wouldn't be caught up in any traffic congestion caused by this evening's cycle race in the city centre.
The bus journey was very comfortable, it wasn't crowded and the vehicle was quite new, so the engine didn't struggle with the hills at all.
However...my journey home to Doncaster on the train was one of the most uncomfortable and unpleasant I've ever experienced. Even as we waited in the station the engine was growling, roaring, and snorting like an angry wild animal . When we started moving things got even worse; every chair, table, luggage rack and fitting was rattling and shaking from side to side as the floor and walls of the carriages were twisting and warping as if they were being pulled into another dimension by an all-powerful evil empire...and my poor genitals...my testicles and the area around my anus; there was a deep thrusting vibration throughout the entire train, resulting in me experiencing a very distressing sensation which felt like that I was being forced to undergo a rare and unusual medical or cosmetic procedure where every hair on my testicles and within striking distance of my anus was being individually pulled out using tweezers...but not using any anaesthetic.
I walked home from the railway station doing a passable impersonation of John Wayne...and I'm still a bit sore as I'm sitting on the chair typing up this blog post.
Thank you, Northern Rail.