I was hoping for some good conditions for photography today; the weather forecast promised bright sunshine and brief, scattered showers - I was expecting there'd be some good cloud formations.
Well...I was a bit disappointed with the weather; it was perfectly fine for walking but always seemed to be cloudy at the locations where I wanted to take photographs.
It was sunny when I left the house, sleeting in Sheffield and then brightening up a bit when I reached Calver. The bus was packed to the rafters and I had no legroom at all, causing me to pull a muscle in my lower back as I struggled to get out of my seat, twisting and jiving, pushing straining and stretching until I nearly landed on the passengers opposite, almost doing the splits on top of them.
I left Calver and took one of the paths that leads up from the Hassop road. At this point my back was very painful and I knew that I would need to take it easy today, limiting my distance and the number of hills I would be climbing and descending. This path attained a high enough altitude for me to be walking in the snow; there were distant views of the higher hills covered in snow. Most of my photographs along this stretch weren't very good; this one isn't much better really, I've just included it to illustrate the view.
Just beyond the spot from where the photograph was taken I reached one of the quarry roads. I walked along it for a few hundred yards until I reached Bleaklow Farm and then planned to take a route down into Rowland that I hadn't used before. I found the path easily enough and followed it through the farmyard, however in the field beyond I went the wrong way. I didn't bother to look at the map which would have shown that the path veered off to the right, instead I took what looked like the obvious route to me, a well-maintained limestone track.
It was a serendipitous moment though because only a few seconds later I found something interesting to photograph.
This rusty piece of old machinery seemed to have been carefully positioned in the field, like a piece of modern art; something you might see at an outdoor sculpture park. Of course it isn't a piece of art, but in the Peak District you never know whether something like this was used for mining, quarrying, agriculture...or even for the water supply.
A couple of minutes later I noticed the familiar signs of old mineworkings and quarrying; so that narrowed down the options I suppose. I approached what I thought might be an old mineshaft and was surprised and a little bit alarmed to discover that it was uncapped: I peered over the edge and couldn't see the bottom. If this was the public footpath it would have to be capped and made safe; it's private land and so I assume that the various health and safety regulations don't apply, even though access to the site is unrestricted - yet nothing is marked on the Ordnance Survey map.
The track led me down the hillside, curving to the right. I soon caught sight of some brickwork and went over to explore. It seemed to be part of the same structure as the shaft. On closer inspection I thought it looked like a limekiln; I've seen many of these in the Peak District but I'm not convinced that this is one though, mainly because of its location, right in the middle of an old leadmining rake. Why would anyone be making lime here?
It was a fairly gentle descent into Hassop, quite easy on my back. On the way down a Highland cow insisted I take a photograph of her.
Outside of one of the cottages in the village there was an opportunity for people to buy home-produced jam, or maybe honey [I didn't bend down to have a look] - all the proceeds were going to a local charity. I see this all the time on my walks, people being trusted to be honest and do the right thing.
It was then what should have been an easy walk down the road and across the fields to the Monsal Trail. However I really struggled with climbing over the stiles, I think I pulled another muscle in my back.
I didn't have to walk far along the Monsal Trail until I reached the Hassop Station Cafe. It was quite busy but I had enough time to queue and buy a pot of tea and a cherry scone. In the outdoor seating area a couple sitting at the next table were each eating a slab of fruitcake as big as house brick; their well-mannered Alsatian dog was watching, and counting, every mouthful....they weren't sharing this afternoon though.
I had a leisurely stroll down into Bakewell and only had ten minutes to wait for the bus.