Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Baslow, Chatsworth Park, Longshaw Estate, and Fox House

I was tightly, and uncomfortably, wedged into my seat on the train this morning and the engine was vibrating at such a frequency that my lower back and kidneys felt as though I'd been kicked by some violent thugs. The short walk over to the bus station at Sheffield helped me loosen up though, together with a few stretching exercises using the seats and the handrails to devise some sort of basic Pilates workout; after a couple of minutes I felt fine.

I got off the bus at Baslow Nether End and  headed straight for Chatsworth Park, passing by the thatched cottages.

I turned left, and uphill towards Stand Wood. I noticed the herd of deer in the distance but the sheep were closer and so they feature in the next photograph.

I climbed up the pasture land and then through the woods all at a brisk pace without stopping; I'm very happy at the moment with my improving fitness and stamina - I feel about fifteen years younger than I did before my twin diagnoses of rickets and diabetes.

At the top I took the permissive footpath which leads to Robin Hood. It's a route I've not walked along before, but I shall have to again though because there are some lovely views; unfortunately they weren't at their best today because of the poor light.

At one point I had to wait whilst a group of walkers took their time climbing over a high stile; I talked for a couple of minutes with one of the members about our different stile climbing techniques...and muddy paths.

The stile in the next photograph is a different one, not quite as high though.

I liked the shape of the tree...and so here it is again.

It's a steady descent to the road and then an easy climb back up the other side; this spot was my favourite along this section.

A few minutes later I left the path and climbed up through the birch woods to a magical world of gnarled grasping trees and strewn boulders covered with a green carpet of moss - a place where hobbits surely must live...after all, I did find one of their tiny houses.

I stopped about halfway up my climb to the top of Gardom's Edge. I felt I could have managed it all the way if I needed to, but I wasn't sure what might be at the top - a fence, or maybe a sheer rockface. I felt very confident with my physical abilities, the increasing strength in my muscles, my improved sense of balance and my heightened awareness of myself and my surroundings, being more able to sensibly, and competently, manage risk and make the correct decisions. It felt good.

Down to the next road and up the other side of the valley again; I did quite a bit of climbing today. I was looking forward to the next section of the walk, the beginning of Baslow Edge, where I met some old friends.

The Highland cattle are very docile, and very friendly. The first cow walked towards me and started moving her head up and down and from side to side. I did the same and then took the lead by taking a step backwards and forwards and to the right and to the left. She didn't respond; obviously she didn't understand my dialect of cow dancing language. She still insisted that I stroke her on the top of the head though, right between her horns. I wish every cow was as friendly.

I tried to get back to Fox House for the three o'clock bus back to Sheffield, but failed by eight minutes. Since I had nearly an hour to wait for the next bus I went inside the pub and had a pot of tea. The milk was served hot, something I've never come across before. I was a bit miffed though because it meant that I couldn't finish off the remaining milk at the end.

I didn't need to ask for a sweetener though because I now carry a few sachets in my wallet.

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