I got off the bus at Baslow Nether End and walked along the lane to reach Chatsworth Park, where I immediately climbed up the hill towards the woods. After a few minutes I was treated to my closest view ever of the deer that live in the park. I didn't venture any closer though, this photograph was taken using the zoom lens.
As I gained altitude I knew that the view behind me would improve with every step, the shots I took made all the better by the glistening snow on the higher hills; there are still plenty of sheep in the photographs - they don't seem to mind the deer at all.
By eleven o'clock I had reached the Hunting Tower; there's a seat with a lovely view up here, so I decided to stay a while and eat my sandwiches. I was joined by several well-fed robins keen to feast on any crumbs I dropped.
I continued through the rest of the woodland and then across Beeley Moor, all familiar territory for me. When I reached Beeley Plantation I took the path that goes through it, a route I haven't taken before. After only a few dozen yards there's no definitive route, paths regularly lead off taking alternative routes either down to the stream at the bottom, or uphill to the main track which runs alongside the perimeter wall. I had to cope with a couple of difficult descents; part way down the first one my friend in Leeds phoned me and so I answered and sat down on a rock to get comfortable. There was a small group of hikers who were concerned that I might have fallen - it's good to know that people care. I would have liked to spend time talking to them but the conversation with my friend was quite intense and so I just acknowledged them and said I was okay.
The approach to Beeley from this direction affords lovely views of the large hill behind the village; it can be seen in the photographs I took later in the churchyard. I didn't waste the opportunity to enjoy a pot of tea and a warmed fruit scone with butter and marmalade at The Old Smithy Cafe and Gallery in the village. I think this is the first cafe or tearooms that I've seen which incorporates the word 'gallery' in its actual name, but most places where I eat that aren't pubs are also small galleries offering work for sale by local artists, sculptors, and photographers. I wonder if this happens in other areas?
It's an easy, and delightful walk along the riverside pastures back to Chatsworth House, where I intended to end the walk.
When I reached the House, both sets of public toilets were closed for renovation works...surely this is bad planning? I walked over to the bus stop and found out that a bus wasn't due back to Sheffield for twenty five minutes, enough time to walk back to Baslow...where there are toilets.
My walk back to Baslow was disturbed by two very low flying military helicopters that were jet black, large, and very noisy and intimidating; a few minutes later they were followed by another, smaller helicopter. This is the second time I've obsessed military helicopters doing this: I'm assuming the pilots use the Derwent Valley to practise their low level attack manoeuvres.