I had planned to finish the walk at Castleton today but because I was having problems with my bowels I cut it short at Bamford. I'm glad I did; the Hope Valley buses were terminating at Bamford because of a fatal traffic accident further up the valley.
So...I got off the bus at Foolow and took some photographs: the pretty little church doesn't feature though because a couple of women who must have been cleaning inside left several brightly coloured buckets and rags outside, spoiling the view.
I left the village by the road that leads to the north, soon passing the ugly scar where the sinkhole that appeared a couple of winters been crudely filled in. Further on, as I climbed higher, walking along the footpath now, there were some nice views.
I reached the road which goes along the top of Eyam Edge, as I was taking a bit of a rest I was asked to take a group photograph of about eight foreign students - I took about half a dozen snaps, just to make sure that there'd be at least one decent image.
It's a steep and difficult descent down to the bottom of the upper reaches of Bretton Clough; I'm always especially careful here - this was where I suffered the worst sprained, twisted, swollen, and bruised ankle that the radiologist at Mexborough Montagu Hospital had ever seen in his career.
Safely down to the bottom, well not quite actually, since I took the path which goes parallel to the brook which flows at the bottom of the clough, but about thirty foot up the side of the valley. The reason I took this route, as I always do here, is to get a good look at an unusual landscape feature; a series of steep, conical hillocks, up to about fifty foot high and quite spectacular, especially if you imagine them to be pyramids or giants' tombs and wonder what might be buried inside. I'm not sure what they are, possibly tailings from early mining operations, or, more likely in my opinion, a geological feature known as a 'ridge-and-trough' or 'tumbled ground' landform caused by an ancient landslip.
Not far beyond the hillocks I took the path that leads up to Abney; as I approached a footbridge over the stream I caught a glimpse of a lizard that had been sunning itself before it scampered away into the undergrowth. This was the first lizard I'd seen for nearly thirty years; of course, I didn't manage to get a photograph.
A few minutes later, when walking along the fields above the clough as I was approaching Abney some more animals would get my attention; these four cows guarding the gate which I needed to pass through. The only way I could get them to move was to wave my hiking pole in front of me, and in the air, and making noises that I imagined a Samurai warrior would be proud of.
The heather on Offerton Moor, as everywhere else in the Peak district at this time of year was putting on its best show; it was too much for me though, the heady aroma of the thick purple haze was causing me an Aspergic sensory overload as I swayed from side to side trying to focus my thoughts and vision and not knowing whether to enjoy the heather, or the stunning views of the Hope Valley and part of the Upper Derwent Valley in the distance; to sit down or to continue walking.
I safely crossed the moor and then took the lane which leads down to the river, and then the road. When I reached an abandoned barn I went in to take care of some business; the anti-diarrhoea tablets usually work, but not today though. The serendipitous facilities inside the barn were practical and very comfortable actually; part of an old feeding trough by the look of it...at exactly the right height and angle for me. I have used this barn before and so knew what to expect...no problems.
The bus was waiting at Bamford due to the road closure, causing me a bit of panic and confusion as I ran up the hill to the bus-stop...in the end I had about twenty minutes to wait until the driver let us on and started his return journey back to Sheffield.