Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Walk From Miller's Dale To Bakewell, Mainly Along The Monsal Trail

I specifically chose the location and route of today's walk so that I'd be able to walk through the recently-opened tunnels on the Monsal Trail - which follows the route of the dismantled railway from Buxton to Matlock. I wasn't the only one who had this idea though; I've never seen so many people when on a walk...especially cyclists, riding every type of bike imaginable; two wheels, four wheels, unicycles, tandems and even a man lying down and pedalling with his hands.

I got off the bus and climbed up onto the trail and then it was a steady five mile route into Bakewell, passing through three tunnels, each one about a quarter of a mile long. The tunnels were lit by fluorescent lighting and were quite safe.

I left the Monsal Trail to walk the last mile into Bakewell using a country track; mainly because I needed a pee and there wasn't anywhere I could easily go when on the Trail, since it's mainly cuttings, embankments and tunnels and so I couldn't just pop into some woodland and make myself scarce.

A few minutes later I was in a scary situation; I was walking along the track, with high drystone walls at either side, when I noticed a farmer with his cows on the path ahead of me and a woman on a horse behind me...with me trapped in the middle. As the animals got closer the horse reared up and the cows caused a minor stampede - I just stood still and hoped for the best.

I arrived in Bakewell with nearly an hour to wait for the bus and so I treated myself to some fish and chips.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Toad's Mouth, Hathersage and Bamford Station

I got off the bus at the stop after Fox House, Toad's Mouth - so called because there's a nearby rock that looks like a toad: someone has even carved eyes on it. I think you can make out the shape on this photo.

I then walked across the moor and descended into Hathersage; it was very windy on the higher parts, and as I approached Hathersage it began to drizzle. I therefore took the opportunity to pop into the tea rooms and had a pot of tea [four cups] and a toasted fruited teacake.

By the time I'd finished, the weather was a lot better and so I continued with the walk to Bamford Station.

The route I chose took me north from the village walking briefly along the bank of Hood Brook and then up out of the valley and  following lanes, tracks and paths across fields to reach Sickleholme Golf Club; coming out by the clubhouse, since the path across the course didn't seem to be signposted anywhere.

I arrived at the bus shelter just down the road from the railway station with about thirty minutes to wait for the next bus.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fox House, Longshaw Estate, White Edge and Baslow.

I started off feeling a bit unwell this morning on the train going to Sheffield; my knees were tightly wedged under a table and were becoming quite painful and stiff, my throat was a bit dry and tickly but I couldn't move to reach into my pocket for a cough lozenge...and I was sweating profusely. As soon as I was in the fresh air (walking towards the bus station) I felt fine.

I got off the bus at Fox House and crossed the road to enter the Longshaw Estate

The rhododendron bushes were only just showing a bit of colour, but the gorse/furze/whin bushes were blooming at their best.

I then walked across a stretch of open moorland and climbed onto White Edge, following the path all the way to Curbar Gap, and then down into Baslow.

Positioned along the route I noticed a couple of recently-sited companion stones.

Today I tried a little experiment; I navigated the entire length of the six mile walk without looking at the map once, or using my GPS to take bearings. It wasn't too difficult, I know the route very well...nonetheless I was quite pleased with myself.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bradwell and Castleton

The walk began at Bradwell with me taking a path from the village up to the cement works; which are surprisingly well screened. I then climbed up Pin Dale where there is a very attractive old quarry face in a wooded setting, then walked along the road for about a mile.

I then took a path across fields, then a track, before turning right to briefly join the Limestone Way: along this section of the walk it was very windy and dusty.

The final section of the walk was a difficult, and painful on the knees and soles of the feet, descent down the scenic Cave Dale, which brings you right down to Castleton Market Place - and I have never seen Castleton busier.