My friend Justin phoned me just after 07:30 this morning as I was getting ready. He told me that he couldn't sleep and had watched 'Skyfall,' the most recent James Bond film, on DVD. He told me that it was rubbish and had none of the elements he wanted in a Bond film, exotic locations, glamorous women, evil villains, and some good repartee and humour. I agreed with him on every point and also that Daniel Craig isn't the right man to play Bond. I was able to keep the conversation going by using my free hand to gather things and place them either in the pockets of my ski jacket or the various compartments of my rucksack. However, I had to end the phone call when I started to put on my boots; I need two hands for that - and a bit of brute strength too.
The Plymouth train was waiting on the platform at Doncaster Station. It would be going via Sheffield, it couldn't really go by any other route, although the ticket inspector was a bit uncertain as she welcomed us aboard. Of course it did go to Sheffield, and got there twenty five minutes later.
A few minutes later as I got on the bus and was scanning my travel pass I thought I heard the driver greet me by name, saying, "Good Morning, Lee." This startled me a bit; I replied with a vigorous 'Good Morning' and left it at that; there were a lot of people behind me queueing to board. Maybe he recognised me from my profile picture here or elsewhere online; of course, this blog is as much about public transport as it is about walking.
As the bus passed over the moors near to Fox House I could see that the higher land in the distance, The Great Ridge and Kinder Plateau, was covered with snow.
I got off the bus at Great Hucklow and walked through the village to pick up the byway which leads to Little Hucklow.
The track was icy, and slippery in places. I slipped once and landed on my backside; fortunately I know how to fall down correctly by re-distributing my weight and relaxing my muscles: I learned this technique at college many years ago - on a performing arts course.
There were some lovely views of the White Peak countryside as I carefully picked my way down to the road.
The approach to Little Hucklow was along the road, often icy in places too; fortunately there was a verge to walk on most of the time.
I found the footpath which leads northwards to Coplow Dale. At Coplow Dale I got waylaid. As I passed one of the most ramshackle and rundown cottages I've ever seen the occupant came running towards me wanting to know the time. I told him; it was 11:06. He commented that that was a very precise answer and we ended up chatting for about fifteen minutes about the local area and its history, and some of the characters he'd known....and his new cowshed, which was only new in the 1950s though. He was certainly a character himself; he was a ringer for Father Abraham from The Smurfs
He was very proud of his cowshed but it was an eyesore built of breeze blocks and corrugated steel. I didn't mention this, I also didn't comment on the long thumbnail he had, over an inch long and curved backwards like a talon.
He paused for breath and I made my excuses and continued towards Bradwell, across the fields, along a very short stretch of country lane and then along the footpath that stays high above Jennings Dale...more lovely views to enjoy.
I reached the road and then headed straight for the viewing platform which overlooks the quarry workings. I was hoping that there'd be no-one there and I'd be able to finish off my sandwiches; well, there wasn't anyone there, but there wasn't a seat either - so I ate my sandwiches a few minutes later sitting on a boulder.
I entered Bradwell in the Smalldale area, but soon left again as I took the path which would take me to Castleton, going by/through the cement plant.
The entire complex, both the quarry and the cement plant and ancillary buildings is known as 'Hope Works.' As I was walking past the chimney and the building that I think is the washery I started to think about James Bond again and how Hope Works would be a great location for the secret base of a devious villain - and would make a decent title for the film too.
I didn't have far to go now, just along the road to Castleton; more great views of the Hope Valley though.
I could smell the fish and chips long before I arrived at the fish and chip shop. I was quite muddy and thought about not going in, but the floor is tiled and there were other walkers already standing at the counter. I needn't have worried, a couple of minutes later a cave diver was standing next to me; she was wearing a very dirty wet suit, goggles, and two air cylinders on her back...she did ask for permission though. [I did check that she wasn't wearing flippers, she had wellies on.]
After eating my meal I had a wander round the village; I found something which I think is so out of place for Castleton, so I took a photograph.
What is an American food angel?