Friday, December 31, 2010

Matlock and Matlock Bath

Another day out with my friend Justin today. I didn't actually set foot in the Peak District, but Matlock and Matlock Bath are only a couple of miles outside the boundary of the Park that I thought it appropriate to included our visit in the blog.

We went on the newly established X17 service from Sheffield which went straight to Matlock via Chesterfield; completely bypassing Dronfield, and so the journey took less than an hour. We then caught a local bus to Matlock Bath and spent about an hour looking around the shops; I was glad to see a book shop had opened which stocked the largest range of Peak District walking books I have so far come across.

We were both hungry and so popped into a pub for lunch, located right next to the River Derwent. The views from its dining room located in the conservatory were very pleasant: it also has a terrace right on the river's edge which will be idyllic on a warm summer's evening. My choice of food was the mixed fish platter, which was delicious and quite filling.

We then caught the bus back into town and took a couple of hours to look at the shops, mainly the charity shops. Justin managed to purchase a copy of a film he had been looking for for ages and so was very pleased with the day's endeavours.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Calver, Wardlow, Grindlow, Great Hucklow and Bradwell

I thought I might as well take the opportunity to arrange a walk before the next cycle of bad weather arrives; the weather forecasters are saying that the cold and snow might last well into the New Year.

Today's walking conditions were excellent, unbroken sunshine until about one o'clock, and as you can see from the photo, about an inch of fresh snow overnight.

Most of this walk was new territory for me, only the last two or three miles being covered in an earlier walk from Tideswell. Although measured as nearly eight miles by my GPS, it didn't feel tiring at all because most of the terrain was quite level.

The walk began with steady progress westwards until I reached some old opencast workings at a place called 'Bleaklow', where the sunlight was at the perfect angle to best show off the rock faces.

I then walked along lanes and back roads to Wardlow, and then Great Hucklow, where I must have noticed at least two dozen Christmas trees festooned with decorative lights -the villaget must look quite impressive at night.

It was then an easy two mile walk to Bradwell, despite the footpath having been diverted and there was no sign indicating the new route.

A few minor things went wrong on this walk though; first of all my mobile phone rang, and by the time I'd unzipped my cagoule, then unzipped my heavy waterproof coat, and then unzipped my fleece pocket where I keep my had stopped ringing. Next problem was when the bus arrived twenty minutes late at Bradwell, and finally, just as I was standing up to get off the bus at Sheffield Railway Station some idiot driving a sports car cut right in front of us forcing the driver to break, and me to bump into the seat opposite.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Houndkirk Moor, Ringinglow and Limb Valley

One of the advantages of using a concessionary travel pass is that I don't need to state my destination when I get on a bus. Today I wasn't sure what the conditions would be like on the moors and so decided to look through the bus window and make a decision on the spot. I was surprised at how little snow still remained on even the highest parts of the moors, considering that some of the side streets here in Doncaster are still icy in places, so I got off at Houndkirk Moor, the highest point of the 272 route to Castleton.

For the first half an hour or so of the walk I was passed by several dozen mountain bikers - I later discovered that there was an organised time trial of some sorts. I ate my sandwiches near to the Ox Stones, south of Ringinglow, a hundred yards or so off the main track, well out of the way of the bikes.

About half a mile further on my rather circuitous route I came across a toposcope which indicated that on a clear day I'd be able to see as far as the Humber Bridge, fifty two miles wasn't a clear day though. It also stated what the altitude above sea level was - my GPS measured it as nearly a hundred foot higher though.

Near to Ringinglow I walked by an interesting sign; I wasn't tempted though, knowing that I had a casserole waiting for me in the slow cooker when I got home. If alpaca had been on the menu I might have stopped for a bite, there were certainly plenty of them grazing in nearby fields.

The last couple of miles was a gentle descent through the Limb Valley to Whirlow, where there were plenty of buses running to Sheffield.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I think there was probably too much lying snow today.

I never ventured more than a couple of miles from Hathersage; doing a five mile circular walk along the country roads and farm tracks. A couple of short sections were across open country though, and it was hard going, walking through snow that was eighteen inches deep.

As you can see, I've been experimenting with converting the photographs to black and white; I think it looks much better for snowscapes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fox House, Longshaw Estate and Carl Wark

I was expecting there to be a lot of lying snow today, but there actually wasn't that much; no more than in Doncaster. In fact the higher ground to the north west didn't seem to have any snow cover at all.

I had intended to just walk a few miles on the Longshaw Estate and get used to my new GPS device, but the conditions underfoot were so good that I went north along the Burbage Valley and climbed Carl Wark, and was surprised how many other people were also out enjoying the Peak District today.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I've just bought a basic GPS locator and have been trying it out in the park; it's very simple to use, even with one gloved hand - the hardest thing was attaching the lanyard before I set off. The unit, apart from being able to locate my exact position, accurate to thirteen feet; also has a multifunction trip odometer, an altimeter function (that I suspect might not be particularly accurate though) a compass, and various functions more suited to orienteering or geocaching.

Because I usually hike alone on the moors, above all it will give me piece of mind...but I'll still have fun with the trip statistics when I get home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First Purchase

My Disability Living Allowance has been paid into my bank account, and the first thing I've bought with it is a slow cooker, so that there'll be a nice pot of hot stew waiting for me when I get home from a day's hiking.

I also bought a new map case as well, since my old one, which I only bought a few months ago, has just about had it.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Not a walk today; just a day out to Bakewell with my friend Justin - the trip having been postponed from a fortnight ago because of rain.

The visit began with a hearty cooked breakfast at a posh wine bar of all places; it seemed to be as cheap as anywhere else and had recently won 'The Best Bakewell Pudding award 2010'...not that the latter mattered to us. As you can see from the photos there must be quite a few entrants hoping to win this award since we saw at least three establishments claiming to bake Bakewell puddings according to the original recipe.

We then spent some time looking around the shops and market, in particular the bookshops and charity shops but then had to get the 1:30 bus back to Sheffield so that Justin could arrive back in Doncaster before his mother would get home from the Social Services' daycare centre.

I really enjoyed today's visit; actually spending a bit of time looking round the town - usually when I'm at Bakewell I'm only there for a few minutes at the beginning or end of a walk.

Neither of us bought a Bakewell pudding though - they didn't look that appetising.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Grindleford, Bretton Clough and Hathersage

A perfect day for walking and photography...and the Met Office forecast was correct for once. The day started a bit cloudy and quite cold; I saw my first ice of the winter on Eyam Moor, the highest part of the walk: later, someone told me that there had been a dusting of snow overnight on the Snake Pass - as you can see from the photograph, visibility was excellent and I could easily see towards Kinder Scout, the highest point of the Peak District, a few miles to the north; and there was certainly no sign of snow up there by mid-morning.

The walk began with a steady climb westwards out of Grindleford on the road up to Sir William Hill; unfortunately, according to the Ordnance Survey map there are no public footpaths leading from the village to the west. I then dropped down into Bretton Clough, where the woodland was looking decidedly autumnal; followed by a steady walk along the brook to Leadmill Bridge and then Hathersage in time to catch the 15:24 bus back to Sheffield...except that it didn't turn up. It wasn't timetabled to show up though, the bus was doing the school run, taking the children from Hope Valley School home. The next bus arrived half an hour later and only went to Fox House; but I knew that there were many more buses back to Sheffield from there. When one did appear it was ten minutes late, so I arrived at Sheffield railway station ten minutes late thinking I'd just missed the express train back to Doncaster and would have to wait for the stopping train...however, the express was also ten minutes late and so I was able to catch it. Hallelujah, a problem with public transport working in my favour.

So, what could have been a perfect day ruined by the vagaries of buses and trains.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Bakewell Pudding Today

Until I read today's weather forecast on Saturday -  wet and windy, I had intended to go to Bakewell with a friend today, just to look around the shops and the market; and to have a nice meal. He's not too steady on his legs, he's got a limp and needs to use a walking stick, and so even the gentlest of walks in the countryside would be too difficult for him.

I think he's quite keen to taste a genuine Bakewell pudding, although I'm not. They just seem to be like Yorkshire puddings filled with jam. I much prefer the commercially available Bakewell tarts.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bus Services

I'm not walking today because the weather is rather miserable. I quite often go to the Peak District on Sundays though because the bus service from Sheffield is actually much better than it is during the  rest of the week; there are extra routes to Hartington and the Upper Derwent Valley, specifically for walkers. However, the train service from Doncaster to Sheffield on Sundays is very limited - the first train [which I catch] departs at 08:03. However, because of engineering work, it's sometimes cancelled. The replacement bus service or the regular X78 service to Sheffield take too long and so if the train is cancelled I just go back home - I live quite near to the railway station. The second scheduled train departure isn't until 09:15 - the middle of the morning.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bradwell, Mam Tor and Castleton

I bought some new boots on Thursday; a real bargain at £12.99. They bedded in really well on today's walk - I could walk downhill without them rubbing my toes.

The walk started with quite a steep climb out of Bradwell, skirting the perimeter of Hope Cement Works, which is well screened and so doesn't spoil any of the views along this route. I then went along fairly level tracks and country roads to Mam Tor, the second time this year I've climbed the Mother Mountain; which is nearly 1700 ft high. I counted the steps this time - there are 243 of them, plus long stretches along a steep path to the summit, from where the views of Edale, The Hope Valley and along The Great Ridge are spectacular

I then walked along the ridge, which I notice is now being marketed as 'The Castleton Skyline Walk' to Hollins Cross and then took a rather steep path back down to the village - this really put my boots to the test.

Highlights of the day: my new boots and the weather, which was perfect for photography.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Rucksack

I've been using a new rucksack for my last two walks. It's much more comfortable than my old knapsack and sits much higher on my back, thus preventing the lower back twinges which I was noticing.

Next I need to buy some proper hiking boots; my current boots are merely safety boots...for use on a building site I suppose. They are fine when I'm walking on the level or uphill, but when I'm going downhill, the tops of my toes rub on the metal toecaps. Maybe I'll just have to devise walks that don't have any downhill sections...seriously though, I'm hoping that my Disability Living Allowance tribunal will be successful and I'll be able to afford some proper hiking boots.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fox House, Burbage Valley and Hathersage

Probably my least enjoyable walk of the year so far, spoiled by the weather...not a good way to start my blog I suppose.

Before setting off this morning I checked the BBC weather forecast and although not as promising as it was predicting yesterday 'sunny intervals and the slight possibility of a light shower'; this was good enough for me. If only that was the case rained more often than not and was dark and cloudy most of the time when it wasn't actually raining.

The day got off to a bad start with the train leaving Doncaster Station five minutes late and consequently arriving at Sheffield five minutes late. I rushed to the bus stop, just hoping that the Fox House bus would be late, and it was - by seven minutes.

I popped in to the toilets at Fox House and then set off towards the Burbage Valley, taking the path at the bottom of the Valley alongside the Burbage Brook.

I soon arrived at the old packhorse bridge and then popped into the dense larch plantation to shelter from the rain and eat my sandwiches - I absolutely love the smell of larch...and pine trees generally.

As you can see in the photo, even though it was raining, there's always the risk of fire; maybe it's the resin.

Finally, I looped around the Fiddler's Elbow and took various country lanes and tracks back to Hathersage.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY - returning to Hathersage through Moorseats Wood; the sun actually shone from a few minutes.

LOW POINT OF THE DAY - when a man got on the bus and then had to take off his gloves, unbutton his coat, then fumble in his pockets to find his wallet so that he could show his bus pass to the driver.


Last year I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and given a travel pass by Social Services. On pretty much a weekly basis I've been using this pass to go hiking in the Peak District - I live in Doncaster and so it's relatively easy for me to get there. During this time I've been taking photos and posting them on Facebook; but now I've decided to set up this blog and share my photos and experiences of my visits to this beautiful part of the country with a wider audience.