The bus was ten minutes late leaving Sheffield Interchange this morning; this was the first time in a long while I can remember TM Travel letting me down. The driver managed to make up a few minutes though by the time I got off at Great Hucklow - there's plenty of slack in the timetable.
Several local residents were busily putting up the final few of the Christmas trees that will line the entire length of the main road through the village. I counted twenty three already in place, some of them decorated; when everything's finished it will be spectacular to look at. It will probably rival the lights at Castleton; Great Hucklow isn't a touristy village though, there's only the pub to visit.
I climbed up through Great Hucklow Wood to the road, which was closed to traffic because of a recent landslip, continued along the path that goes past the ruins of Silence Mine and then followed a different road to Bretton where I sat and ate my sandwiches on the grassed area across the road from The Barrel Inn. There's a rather difficult to read toposcope placed here to help you appreciate the wonderful view you're looking at.
I followed the road round to Highcliffe, a hamlet high above Eyam, and then took a slightly different route than on previous occasions down to the village.
In Eyam there's always plenty of colour in the garden at Plague Cottage, not all of it is plastic.
It's a lovely walk over the hill to Stoney Middleton. As I was approaching the village I heard the noise of loud engines and looked up to catch sight of a large low flying military transport aeroplane and a twin rotor heavy lift helicopter.
I had time to take some photographs of the unusual octagonal church and some of the pretty cottages, but not the aircraft.
I continued down to the River Derwent south of Froggatt, there was the best view of the day looking north towards Stoke Hall.
There's a riverside nature reserve at New Bridge to the north of Calver; I stopped to read a couple of interesting display boards about brook lampreys and great crested newts.
The caravan site at Calver is still flooded, and the water frozen over, but everywhere I walked today was fine.
The final stretch of the walk was following the course of the river to Bubnell and finally to the bus stop at Cavendish Bridge. At Bubnell there was more military activity in the sky, this time two large black ops helicopter gunships; they looked, and sounded, very threatening...somewhat out of place in the Peak District.
I found myself walking into the sun for most of the time today; I really should have done the walk in the other direction, but this wasn't possible because of the timing of the buses.