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.