Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fox House, Upper Padley, Leadmill, and Hathersage.

I chose today's walk for a couple of specific reasons. First; my bowels were a bit delicate when I woke up this morning and so I didn't want to be too far from some toilets, and there are public toilets at both Fox House and Longshaw Lodge - and I'd be able to use the facilities at the café at Grindleford Station later. The second reason for today's location was that after all the recent rainfall I was hoping that Padley Gorge would be spectacular; and I wasn't disappointed - the waterfalls and cascades were well worth the visit.

I had planned to get off the bus at the Surprise View Car Park, but the bus overheated and broke down at Fox House. There was an obvious burning smell all the way up the hill from Sheffield; and even as the vehicle was idling whilst I scanned my pass into the ticket machine as I was boarding, I could hear a loose panel rattling somewhere.

As he was waiting for the engine to cool down the driver mentioned that it's now the responsibility of the cleaners to make sure that a vehicle is roadworthy before it leaves the garage. I think this is silly, expecting unqualified staff to be so flexible and's probably dangerous too. Later on, a much more flexible use of staff occurred at the café though, when one of the waitresses was required to put a couple of logs on the fire.

My intended stop was only half a mile down the road so I got off the bus at Fox House, walked along the path that goes at the side of the road to Toad's Mouth and  then took a path which goes along the bank of the Burbage Brook for a few hundred yards. I have never seen so much water in the brook and therefore knew that further downstream, in Padley Gorge, it would be spectacular.

I then walked across the moor to Surprise View. The view westwards up the Hope Valley was lovely, with the low on the horizon sun perfectly illuminating the scene before my eyes.

I then rather aimlessly wandered around the site of Bole Hill Quarry, which after a hundred years since its closure has now well and truly been returned to nature. There are some lovely views, both in the distance and close up of the quarry faces, many interesting remains of buildings and the industrial landscape...and a lot of silver birch trees.

After having fun climbing down and then scrambling back up the various quarry faces and spoil heaps I then followed a path which took me half way down Padley Gorge; I knew I wouldn't get lost - I could hear the roar of the water in the distance.

I continued down to Upper Padley and had a cooked breakfast at the station café as usual and then walked down to Leadmill where there seemed to be even more water in the fields than there was on my previous visit a couple of weeks earlier.

It was then only a short walk into Hathersage where I had enough time to pop into the garage shop and buy a flapjack.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Calver, Cavendish Mill, Eyam, and Stoke.

There were some lovely views at the start of today's walk as I took the footpath that goes to the north of Calver Peak. The views looking towards Stoney Middleton were perfectly illuminated by the sunshine.

The views continued in the direction of Grindleford too.

As I climbed higher I even caught a glimpse of the mist that was still lingering down by the River Derwent; the photographs I took weren't any good though.

This section was very easy to walk, as was the next section along the quarry track going westwards until I reached Black Harry Lane, which is a bit of a climb, but nothing too challenging. At the top of the lane I turned left and followed the path which goes alongside some retaining earthworks which have something to do with the quarry.

There was a bit of activity in one of the workshops at Cavendish Mill: I read somewhere that quarrying and the processing of minerals no longer takes place here...but there was still a lot of heavy plant secured there.

I headed down the new road which goes down to Middleton Dale. This road isn't depicted on my map...but I was aware of its existence and so wanted to explore a bit. Towards the bottom I got some spectacular views of the rocky pinnacles, caused by historical quarrying, which line both sides of the valley. From one particular vantage point I briefly imagined that I might be viewing the location of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Lost World.'

I crossed the main road which goes along the bottom of the dale and climbed up the footpath at the other side. In places this path was a bit dangerous because of the slippery autumn leaves...and the long drops as well, should I fall!

At the top of the cliff it was a short walk across fields and then down lanes into Eyam, where I headed for the 'Eyam Tearooms' at the far end of the village. They were closed today though and so I went in the Village Green Tearooms instead. I've not been in here before and found the choice on the menu to be rather limited; and some items weren't even available anyhow. I ordered a pot of tea, a toasted teacake with butter and lemon marmalade, and a slice of Bakewell tart. When I told the young waitress that it was the best marmalade I'd ever tasted she told me that her mum makes it. Her mum was clearing the table behind me and was rather embarrassed. Maybe I ought to have been a bit embarrassed a few minutes earlier myself when I had a bit of an accident.  As I was pouring the last few drops out of the teapot I tipped it at such an angle that the lid fell into my cup, making a loud noise and causing quite a splash all over the tablecloth. For a few seconds all conversation ceased as everyone looked in my direction...I looked at my map for solace.

As I left  Eyam I noticed that the sky had partially clouded over and it was a bit chilly. I walked past the Riley Graves, where a family is buried - victims of the plague which killed so many people in Eyam, and  continued down to the main road at Stoke Hall where I caught the bus back to Sheffield.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Matlock, Matlock Bath, Upperwood, Snitterton, Oaker, Darley Bridge, and Darley Dale.

Today's walk began with me walking through the park at Matlock and then climbing up to Pic Tor. I was hoping to get some good all round views, but it was still quite misty and the only photograph I'm happy with was one taken of the war memorial in silhouette as I faced the sun.

I then continued towards High Tor, with good views looking down into the valley. Just below the summit there was a short section of footpath I specifically wanted to walk along; it's known as 'Giddy Edge.'  It's a narrow path, in places cut right into the rockface: there's a handrail to use on the more difficult stretches...and it's definitely needed, and because it's so narrow and passing would be dangerous, it's a one-way footpath - the only one I know about.

I soon reached Matlock Bath; it was looking rather forlorn at this time of year - hardly any of the shops were open. I continued along the road and had a quick visit to Masson Mills. I didn't stay long because I wasn't able to view any part of the working mill; there were just a few shops and a café. If I wanted to look round shops I would have stayed at home in Doncaster.

I crossed over the road and found the path that starts as a series of steep steps going up the hillside. I soon came across something I wasn't expecting, it isn't marked on my map; a mineshaft that wasn't blocked off and appeared to have easy access. I rummaged in my rucksack and found my headtorch and ventured into the darkness: the mine consisted of a well-hewn tunnel about five foot high. I had to stoop slightly but had no problems getting about fifty foot in I should think. The tunnel seemed to go on for quite a bit further, but the roof appeared to be getting slightly lower and so I turned around and headed back towards the daylight. If I was younger and more supple, and had a hard hat and some knee pads I probably would have ventured further. It was quite pleasant inside the mine; I didn't feel claustrophobic in any way and the temperature was a good few degrees warmer than outside.

I briefly passed through Upperwood before continuing northwards. In the fields above Bonsall I was having difficulty walking across areas of churned soil which had frozen: I was simultaneously slipping and tripping up - I think I need to find a new word to adequately describe this predicament.

Along this section the local wildlife seemed to be ganging up on me; a squirrel nearly as big as a cat missed me by only about two foot as it jumped from one tree to the next and then a couple of fields later I was almost rugby tackled by a hare.

The next place of interest was the old mine in Jughole Wood. I was aware of this mine and had passed nearby on a couple of previous walks, but didn't have the time to look for it. I easily found it and went in about half way: it's quite large but there isn't anything particularly interesting to see - there are no stalactites or stalagmites...and no obvious mineral formations. Like the other mine I visited though it appears to be quite safe and would be a bit of an adventure for small do need sturdy boots and a torch to visit both sites though - and if you want to take any photographs you'll need a better camera then mine.

I walked downhill to Snitterton: en route I spotted some unusual farm animals in a field. I couldn't make out if they were were either  cows or calves, or sheep. After studying the photographs I took I still can't decide - unfortunately they were quite far away...what do you reckon? You'd think I'd know the difference between cows and sheep though.

I briefly entered Oaker before climbing the hill at the back of the village. The highest part of this section is a pleasant ridge walk.

I was concerned that I might miss my bus and end up waiting almost an hour for the next one, and so I jogged most of way back to the bus-stop at Darley Dale - I arrived with nearly ten minutes to spare...not long enough to risk walking  to the shops and catching the bus at the next stop though.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Moscar Moor, Hathersage, Leadmill, and Bamford.

The train was late departing from Doncaster this morning; we did eventually set off after a delay of fifteen minutes. The guard announced that we were due to arrive in Sheffield at 08:53: my bus was due at 08:52 and so I had to plan an alternative walk, catching a later bus. Fortunately there's another bus heading for the Peak District only ten minutes later, going along a different route.

Although it was quite sunny in Sheffield, when I got off the bus at the county boundary on Moscar Moor it was raining; almost horizontally due to the strong wind. The weather forecast was for an improvement before lunch; half an hour later the rain had stopped, and the sun was shining well before I reached Hathersage.

I was a bit disappointed that there was no snow where I was walking; I did however soon see my first snow of the winter on the flanks of Bleaklow in the distance.

I headed southwards towards Stanage Edge, but took the path that goes along the bottom of the cliff; it was slightly more sheltered...but still windy and exposed. On the path down to Dennis Knoll I encountered my first people of the walk, a group of sturdy fellrunners heading uphill.

By now the sun was shining and Stanage Edge was looking magnificent: it was a shame that it was behind me, but this gave me an excuse to make frequent stops to admire the view and take photographs.

I arrived at Hathersage just before midday and headed straight for Cintra's Tearooms where I ordered a cooked breakfast, served with a pot of tea [with an additional pot of hot water - enough for four large cups in total] and a plateful of toast, complete with butter and marmalade.

I made my way out of Hathersage on Station Road, popping into the baker's shop for an apple turnover. I was soon at Leadmill and noticed that several fields were flooded; I thought my way ahead might be flooded...and I was proven to be correct in my assumption.

I crossed over the bridge and took the path that goes along the riverbank. It wasn't long until the path was flooded.

I found a stick to gauge the depth, and estimated it to be about 18 inches; just a bit too deep for me. However, I noticed some prominent exposed tree roots on the bank and used these to secure a footing; meaning that I could avoid the deepest part of the water and only ended up wading through about a foot of the River Derwent. I've watched all of the Indiana Jones films and I don't recall Harrison Ford ever having to do this.

By the way, for those of you who know the area, the photo was taken after I had successfully passed this obstacle - the sun was at a better angle facing this direction.

There are some lovely views along the next section of the walk; the photograph shows Bamford Edge and Win Hill.

I continued along the path to reach the bottom of Shatton Lane, and then walked along the road back to the bus-stop at Bamford station.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Matlock Victorian Christmas Market

Another trip out today with my friend Justin: he's taking advantage of the fact that his mum is in emergency respite care whilst her medical assessment is undertaken.

As the bus arrived into Matlock we could see that the market stalls set up in the park were already busy. We got off the bus and went straight to the toilets, where we had to wait a few minutes to pee - this hasn't happened to me for many years.

First of all we had a look round the stalls that had been set up outside. It was sunny and we enjoyed the experience, especially lingering in spots where we could listen to the organ music or watch one of the displays. A few minutes later we entered the two large marquees where most of the stallholders were located. It was very busy inside; we both felt a bit uncomfortable in the crush, and certainly had to limit our time at the stalls we were interested in because people were constantly pushing to get past us. Justin is slightly disabled and he walks with a stick and has a limp, and at times I was concerned that he might fall over.

Before looking for somewhere to eat we visited the antiques centre on Dale Road. I'm not at all interested in antiques, and never buy anything there, but this is my favourite shop in Matlock. It's a rabbit warren, or Aladdin's Cave,  of interconnecting rooms on different levels, each one piled high with a jumble of second-hand treasures, and a few genuine antiques I suppose, stashed away in dusty display cabinets.

We then found a pub to have a meal; there don't seem to be that many in the town though. I had a jumbo mixed grill, Justin had the steak. We had to wait over half an hour for our meals - the place was packed. The meals were worth the wait though.

For the final hour or so we looked round the shops; mainly charity shops and butchers. I bought three pies; a pork and apple pie which I ate on the bus travelling back to Sheffield - it was delicious: a 'hunter's pie' and a 'fellmaster's pie' [I think] to consume tomorrow and the day after.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Visit To Bakewell Christmas Market And Fair.

I spent a few hours at Bakewell today with my friend Justin. On Wednesday I had a colonoscopy at the hospital; fortunately my bowel is healthy and I don't even need any treatment on my piles. I had, however, already made the plans for today's trip...just in case I was feeling a bit sore, weak, or uncomfortable and wouldn't be able to go walking.

The day didn't get off to a good start. The railway line to Sheffield was closed because of overnight flooding and so we had to take the bus to Sheffield, arriving an hour later than expected at Bakewell.

By now the weather was glorious, but the first thing we did was find somewhere to eat. The carvery at The Wheatsheaf pub seemed reasonable and so we piled our plates up high. I had turkey served with stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and carrots; finished off with home-made Bakewell pudding and ice cream.

The sun was still shining when we left the pub and I took a little time to take some photographs down by the river.

The first place we both wanted to visit was the nearby indoor farmers' market where there seemed to be an amazing choice of meat on sale.

We played safe and settled on rabbit pie and game pie though.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking round the shops; mainly the charity shops...and we popped into the record and CD fair, an antiques fair and the antiques centre next to the Rutland Arms Hotel.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hathersage Booths, Upper Padley, Nether Padley, Froggatt, Calver, Bubnell, and Baslow.

The weather was lovely today and so I took a lot of photographs; many of them turned out to be quite good. There are far too many to include on the blog and so I'll be uploading my favourites onto my Panoramio photo-sharing page  Direct Link Here

There are numerous pictures from some of my other walks on the site, and also many images featuring locations in and around Doncaster, where I live; and a bit further afield too. I hope you enjoy looking at them: they're all in high quality format as well.

I started today's walk at the Millstone pub on the road above Hathersage and immediately went to the far side of the car park near to where the picnic tables are located to take some photographs. I reckon this is the best view from a pub car park anywhere in the Peak District.

I then walked up the road for a bit before taking the track which leads down to Upper Padley. Regular readers of the blog who know the area well will probably have already guessed where I was going for my breakfast...the Old Station Café at Grindleford Railway Station.

The establishment has unusual, yet very precise, opening times; and the owner is never late in opening you can see. I enjoyed a full cooked English breakfast served up on a twelve inch place, with the flames from the roaring log fire warming my back.

I then crossed the road and walked along a couple of streets at Lower Padley, and  climbed up through Hay Wood to reach Froggatt Edge. I only walked along the edge for just over half a mile before struggling down a steep and rocky path to the village of Froggatt. Although I wasn't on high ground for very long there were still plenty of opportunities to take photographs, so long as no-one else was in the was very busy in some places.

Once I'd reached the bottom of the valley I walked along the east bank of the River Derwent and then crossed over the 'New Bridge' just north of Calver to walk along the other bank. The path actually runs next to a stretch of water called The Goit, which I think is a section of a millrace which runs parallel to the river.

Just before reaching Calver the path moves away from the river and crosses a campsite: there are excellent views of Froggatt from here - I had to keep stopping and looking behind me to best appreciate them though.

I've never walked through the old centre of Calver village and so enjoyed this short diversion before climbing up through woodland, and then down across fields and a country lane to reach Bubnell...and finally Baslow.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Castleton, Bradwell, Brough, and Hope.

Some people had a good start to their day this morning; the guard on the train didn't collect any fares. He seemed to be rather busy frantically pacing up and down the carriages, but doing nothing else that I could make out. Of course, I didn't benefit personally because I have a free travel pass anyhow.

I started today by walking up Cave Dale, for the first time this year I think. Access from Castleton is very easy; just head for the Market Place and go slightly up the hill to the left and just look for a cleft in the rocks between two cottages to the right. There's a short path squeezed in between overhanging rock faces...and then, there you are; in front of you is a gate with an information board telling you all about the Limestone Way, which begins, and ends, at Castleton. There's also a sign at the side of the road which indicates Cave Dale.

The early morning sunshine was perfect for seeing Peveril Castle at the top of the rocky crag; this photograph was taken probably no more than a ten minute walk from the shops and tourist facilities of this popular village.

As I climbed and got higher up than the castle, Win Hill and the Great Ridge came into view; again, perfectly illuminated.

When I reached the head of the dale the weather conditions changed dramatically, the grasslands of Old Moor were shrouded in mist.

At the junction of five paths or tracks I turned left and headed towards Bradwell; firstly along a well-maintained track often used by motorised vehicles, then a short section of path across fields, and finally along the road down into Bradwell. I took a short detour to visit the observation platform overlooking the active quarry workings at the Hope Cement Works: being a Sunday there was no activity to observe though.

After a brief visit to one of the village shops I found the path which goes across the fields to Brough. Although the chimney and the plant buildings of the cement works are always in sight, there are still some lovely views to be had along this section.

At Brough I walked across the site of the Roman Fort (NAVIO or ANAVIO). The footpath goes right across the archaeological site, I don't know if any artefacts have been unearthed but there was a couple kicking over new molehills, possibly hoping to find something.

The last mile or so approaching Hope was absolutely idyllic. The low angle of the sun was casting long, dark shadows in the foreground, in the middle distance deciduous trees were shedding the last of their leaves, and on the horizon Win Hill and the Great Ridge were bathed in sunshine.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rowsley, Calton Lees, Chatsworth House, Baslow, Bubnell, and Calver

At Rowsley I popped into the Peak Village Outlet Shopping Centre: I needed to use the toilets, but also spent a few minutes looking around the place; I've never been there before. It was quite nice, a bit bland maybe; a collection of  pleasant sandstone buildings and walkways with transparent roofs which fitted in well with the surroundings...and there were a few specialist outdoors shops which I might have spent a bit of time looking around if I'd got nothing better to do....oh, and there were a couple of places to eat.

I then walked further into the village, crossed over the bridge and started to follow the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, which I would be walking along for most of the route today. This section of the walk was easy-going and very pleasant, being along the flood plain I should think, and I made quick progress to reach Calton Lees in well under an hour. I went into the Chatsworth Garden Centre Café for a pot of tea and a cherry and almond scone. I was disappointed to see that they had already put up Christmas decorations and displays in one corner.

I continued walking northwards, along the riverbank, now being in the well-maintained landscape of Chatsworth Park. The weather wasn't too bright, but there were still a few autumn colours to be enjoyed.

Next up was Chatsworth House itself, which is always handy for a toilet stop. I went in the gents' near the main entrance, and since I was the only person in there I decided to take a couple of photographs of the urinals and the impressive tiles with Chatsworth-themed engravings incorporated into the design. As usual, the toilets were very clean and sweet-smelling.

I continued along the driveway towards Baslow, where I bought a small tube of ice cream from the shop at Nether End, eating it whilst sitting on one of the benches on the village green. I then headed towards the church, walked over the old hump-backed bridge to reach Bubnell, continuing along the road and then across fields to Calver; where I only had to wait ten minutes for the bus.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hathersage Booths, Hathersage, Bamford, and High Peak Garden Centre.

I got off the bus at The Millstone pub and walked a few yards back up the hill to the Ringinglow road. I then climbed over a stile next to a gate which had an electric motor to open and close it, a push key entry pad and an amber light that I assumed would flash or strobe when the gate opens, or it's tripped by an infra-red beam. I've never seen anything this elaborate before; just to add to my paranoia, I spent a few seconds looking for a CCTV never know who might be watching. The route was definitely a footpath though; there was a roadside sign...and it's marked on the map.

The first section was a track, but after a few minutes I was walking across fields and then through woodland: I should think if it wasn't so misty there would have been some nice views.

The path comes out onto the main road just before the turn-off for Hathersage Church. I passed through the graveyard, stopping for a few moments at Little John's grave and then walked northwards across the fields towards Stanage Edge.

Where the road reaches its nearest point to Stanage Edge there are some public toilets, which I popped in; these being possibly some of the most isolated in England...but very convenient for the many climbers, cyclists and hikers who use them. A few yards along the road there's a carpark: I was glad that the refreshment van was there. It was busy though; I had to queue for a few minutes behind a group of cyclists...some climbers then joined the queue behind me.

I got caught up with a small group a boulderers heading uphill towards the edge; they were struggling a bit with their mats on their I could easily keep up with the pace.

I walked along the top of Stanage Edge for a few hundred yards then took the byway which leads down to the Dennis Knoll parking area.

After a short stretch of road I found the path which goes to Hurstclough Lane; a good example of a sunken lane. At the bottom of the hill I took the footpath which is a short cut across Sickleholme Golf Course, walking right down the middle of one of the fairways, since no-one was around.

A few minutes later I had arrived at High Peak Garden Centre. Unfortunately the cafe was closed due to a change of tenant, so I walked back towards Bamford on the main road and bought something from the garage shop.

I ate my chocolate covered flapjack and drank my milk as I waited for the bus; which arrived pretty much on time. Just before I was due to disembark at the bus-stop nearest to the railway station in Sheffield I noticed a sign outside a pub which made me smile: it was one of those free-standing boards where they chalk on what the landlord thinks might most likely catch someone's eye. All it read was  'Warm' ...with an arrow pointing inside.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Penistone, Hazlehead, Dunford Bridge, Langsett, and Stocksbridge.

I travelled all the way by train to Penistone today, changing services at Meadowhall. It's longer than going by bus, but it's certainly more comfortable...and I didn't know what time the buses went from Barnsley to Penistone.

At Penistone I popped into the town to buy something to eat and drink for later, and then found the Trans Pennine Trail. This long distance footpath goes along the route of the former Woodhead Railway Line and so the walking was very easy out to Dunford Bridge, the point where the trail leaves the old railway because of the long tunnel under the Pennines...which is blocked.

Pretty much the first thing I noticed as I started to walk was a forest of wind turbines on the horizon, some rotating, and some not. The photograph, however, was taken a few miles further on when I stopped to count them; twenty in total; although there aren't that many in the picture.

The first mile or so after leaving Penistone is fairly boring, being either in a cutting or only having views towards housing estates. After about half an hour or so the views opened up and continued to be interesting all the way to Dunford Bridge; with many information boards positioned along the trail adding to the interest.

I made good time and soon reached the site of Hazlehead Station where I ate my sandwiches whilst trying to imagine how busy this quite isolated station must have been; the information board said there were seven tracks here, a branch line leading off to a foundry, a fully staffed station and a signal box.

At Dunford Bridge I turned left, still following the route of the Trans Pennine Trail along a road which leads up onto open moorland. As I got to higher ground I spotted my first reservoir of the day, Winscar Reservoir, where the Pennine Sailing Club is based.

It was getting misty, but a few minutes later, looking down to the left I saw Upper Windleden Reservoir.

I easily found the next footpath which I needed, the section of the Barnsley Boundary Walk which crosses Thurlstone Moors. Along this section I got a closer view of Upper Windleden Reservoir, and briefly, in the distance, Lower Windleden Reservoir.

The path led me to the Woodhead Pass road, which I didn't need to walk along at this point because another path ran parallel to the road, keeping to the moor though. Along this stretch of path there was an unusual buttressed fence. I hadn't seen anything similar before and assumed it must be there to protect the road from deep snow drifts.

About a mile and a half later I was walking alongside the road to reach the roadside café, situated in a lay-by just to the west of the Dog and Partridge pub. I enjoyed a mug of tea and a chocolate shortbread slice, and spent a few minutes chatting with the owner about walking.

I had to walk along the grass verge at the side of the carriageway for a few minutes before reaching the bridleway that leads towards Langsett Reservoir. Since this section is a bridleway, horse riders are allowed to use it and a few minutes later I observed a young girl riding her pony with the rest of her family. It was a very unusual pony; it was white with brightly coloured stripes dyed into its fur.

When I reached Langsett Reservoir, I didn't walk along the water's edge. I chose the path which takes the higher route, still giving me glimpses of the water through the trees.

At Langsett village I had a decision to make, climb up the hill and descend the other side to reach Penistone, or continue going down the valley in the direction of Stocksbridge. I opted for Stocksbridge, because, although it was slightly would be easier.

Walking down the main road was quite scary; some lorries passed very close to me, the draught they created made me feel a bit unsteady on my feet. So, I was glad to reach the footpath which leads onto the route of another old railway line. In the direction I was walking it leads down to the steelworks at Stocksbridge. I couldn't work out where it used to go in the other direction beyond Langsett, even by studying the map.

About a mile later and I could see my final reservoir of the day, the fifth, Underbank Reservoir, not too far from Stocksbridge where I caught the bus back to Sheffield.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sheffield Railway Station To Fox House.

At the end of June I walked the Meanwood Valley Trail in Leeds with a friend who's from Leeds; so today it was time for me to reciprocate and show him what I consider to be the equivalent walk in Sheffield - from the railway station out to Fox House, via the Porter Valley. Unfortunately it doesn't have a name though as far as I know...of course it's a much nicer walk,  my friend even admitted that.

I had planned to walk through the old cemetery but got a bit confused with the roads; so we walked along Ecclesall Road until we reached the entrance to Endcliffe Park: from this point the walk really begins, with nice parkland, industrial heritage and then open fields...and finally, high moorland.

I was surprised at how quickly we reached Forge Dam Café; a lovely spot.

I was hoping to at least stay and have a cup of tea, but my friend was on a schedule: he needed to meet his wife at the Meadowhall shopping centre later. So, after stopping briefly to eat our sandwiches on a nearby seat we continued on.

Our next pause was at the toposcope at the head of Porter Clough. We could clearly identify the plumes from the six observable power stations in the Aire Valley and the Trent Valley...and the TV mast at Emley Moor. I estimate the visibility to have been over thirty miles; pretty good, but still a bit too hazy to see the Humber Bridge or Lincoln Cathedral, which are both included as landmarks. In the other direction, to the west; the only landmark identified is Chicago!

Beyond this point we entered the Peak District and were walking across open fields, quite muddy and boggy in places, and then across Houndkirk Moor...with a gentle descent down to Fox House.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Castleton, Edale, Ollerbrook, Nether Booth, and Hope.

It was sunny all the way to Hathersage this morning; but beyond, the entire Hope Valley was shrouded in mist. As the bus passed by Surprise View the view up the valley was amazing; with the sunlight glistening off the mist it seemed as though there was a massive lake, or reservoir that just wasn't there before - with small islands of higher ground protruding above the mysterious, hidden entirely new, but fleeting, topography to enjoy.  It's a pity I was on the bus; I didn't try to take any photographs because I knew they wouldn't be very good; and I only had a few seconds anyhow. Several people had stopped their cars and were busy with their cameras though.

Unfortunately, by the time the bus reached Castleton the mist was already lifting and so I wouldn't be able to enjoy anything as truly spectacular as I'd seen about half an hour earlier. I walked through the village and soon became caught up in a group of about three dozen eager and excited students on a field trip. Fortunately they weren't heading in my direction and so I didn't need to change my plans.

I walked in a westerly direction, pausing several times to admire the views of the mouth of Winnats Pass (as shown in the header photo), and  Mam Tor and the landslip. At first my route was flat and across grassy, and sometimes sodden, fields: the last few hundred yards up to Hollins Cross is much steeper though, firstly climbing through bracken and then utilising a paved trackway to the top. Hollins Cross is the lowest point along the Great Ridge; it's still quite high though, requiring a climb of about 700ft.

At Hollins Cross I sat for a few minutes to eat my sandwiches and appreciate the view.

It was still quite early, but I could already see that half a dozen paragliders were in the air: a couple of hours later when I stopped for another break I counted thirty three.

The route down to Edale is very pleasant, passing through a variety of landscapes, with many photographic opportunities. I've not visited Edale for nearly twenty years and so was looking forward to spending a bit of time there. My first port of call was the café at the railway station. I didn't buy anything; the place was empty and looked rather sterile and uninviting - the high prices on the menu didn't help either. I knew there was another café further up the hill and so wasn't too disappointed at the time.

I had a quick look round the Moorland Centre and then headed for the other café in the village. I was to suffer disappointment here too though; I arrived too late for a cooked breakfast...and there wasn't anything else substantial on offer. I bought a mug of tea though, and ended up lingering for quite a while because I was enjoying overhearing the man sitting at the next table telling his friends about his recent trip to the Ukraine.

I  walked a bit further up the hill until I reached the path that leads towards the hamlets of Ollerbrook and Nether Booth. I then needed to walk along the road for a few minutes before taking the well-maintained track that goes past Carr House and eventually comes out onto the same road I'd previously been walking along...only nearer to Hope.

Although it was a lovely day, I was aware of how waterlogged it had been underfoot at times, and remembering that the path alongside the River Noe always seems to be muddy, and I was muddy enough anyhow, I decided to stick with the road the rest of the way back to Hope - something I haven't done before anyway.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blackwell, Flagg, Monyash, Over Haddon, and Bakewell.

I got off the bus at Blackwell and walked through the village, one of the few reachable villages I hadn't yet visited. It's nothing special, but within a couple of minutes I was enjoying the best accompaniment of birdsong I'd heard all year; I could distinguish, but not identify, at least four different species.

I continued along the lane and then crossed over the main Buxton road, using a short section of the Pennine Bridleway before taking a footpath leading across a boggy field. I then  reached some sort of recycling plant that was constantly buzzing and continued in a southerly direction until I arrived at a country lane just to the east of Chelmorton. I should think that this section was the highest point of the walk, and a field full of cows seemed to be triumphantly proclaiming the fact; I've never heard such noisy cows; several of them seemed to be lowing in a syncopated rhythm somewhat reminiscent of a mill or factory...I'm glad I wasn't in the field with them.

When I reached the road I turned left and soon spotted the footpath I was looking for; running almost parallel to the road that runs through Flagg. I briefly entered the village and turned down the road leading to Monyash. The path I took to reach Monyash went across open fields  and was flat and easy going.

I had only visited the eastern end of the village previously, and so most of Monyash was new to me. I knew there is a quite well respected café here, and so went in for a mug of tea and a scone.

After finishing my refreshments I walked along the lane that leads past the village pond. The pond is by far the most picturesque I have photographed in the Peak District so far.

I continued along the Limestone Way and then took the footpath which leads down Fern Dale into the upper reaches of Lathkill Dale.

The walk along Lathkill Dale, although a little rocky in places, isn't too difficult, and seems to be a safe challenge for young children....there were several families out in the fine weather enjoying themselves today.

I walked up the steep road to Over Haddon without once having to stop to catch my breath; a big improvement on the last time. I didn't linger; I had contemplated visiting the pub, but decided to head on towards Bakewell instead, arriving there with enough time to enjoy some fish and chips down by the river.

The bus journey back to Sheffield took a bit longer than scheduled. There had been a traffic accident just beyond Fox House and the police had set up a roadblock and were re-directing traffic. When the bus got to the head of the queue the police officer must have decided that the double-decker was too large to turn round, and too large to stay where we were, blocking the road: and so he let us through. A few hundred yards further on we saw a motorcyclist receiving medical attention at the roadside from an ambulance crew.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bentley Bridge, Matlock Green, Riber, Cromford, Bonsall, Snitterton, Oaker (or Oker), Darley Bridge, and Darley Dale.

Unusually I spent a bit of time researching for today's walk because there are three locations I specifically wanted to visit; Lumsdale mills, Riber Castle and Arkwright's Mill at Cromford.

The walk didn't get off to a good start though: I got off the bus at Bentley Bridge and found the lane that leads off towards Lumsdale and I was soon in a deep wooded valley which I presumed to be Lumsdale. Maybe it was, or maybe it wasn't; but even with backtracking several times I couldn't find even one of the six ruined mills that I'd read about. They'll have to be visited on a later walk because I was soon at the bottom of the valley, in Matlock Green.

I followed the main road in an easterly direction for a few hundred yards and then took the steep path which goes up to Riber, going alongside a wall, then open grassy fields and finally an area overgrown with bracken. Although the visibility wasn't particularly good, I enjoyed some pleasant views of Matlock from a new  perspective.

My next objective, Riber Castle, isn't a castle at all; it's a nineteenth century folly. In the village there are at least another two crenellated buildings, both of which I spotted before seeing Riber Castle. Eventually I caught a couple of glimpses of the battlements but had to wait until I had left the village to enjoy the best view, as I was walking across the fields towards Cromford.

The path soon descends to the Cromford road, but whilst still quite high up there were some spectacular views of Matlock Bath and the cable cars...yet again, seen from a completely new direction.

The first place I arrived at in Cromford was Cromford Wharf. I popped into the café, but was rather disappointed with the limited choice on offer so crossed the road and had a pot of tea and a cherry scone at Arkwright's Mill...a very easy location to find; it's well signposted.

This photograph was taken from where I was eating my scone.

I lingered at the mill for a while, and then continued into the town centre where I ended up taking  photographs of the most colourful outdoor shop display I've ever seen...and a green padded bicycle with a card placed in front of it bearing a very strange and cryptic message.

The message on the yellow card reads; 'Show me the rejects. Like us on Facebook.' The card attached to the rear wheel has an equally strange message about taking photographs when wearing a specific tee-shirt - I think it all might be part of some online viral marketing campaign.

I then walked along a footpath which runs parallel to the Via Gellia, passing through woodland and across fields to reach the road which leads up to Bonsall.
Despite its Latin sounding name, Via Gellia isn't a Roman road at all; it was named by, and for, a Mr. Gell, the man who paid for the original road to be built.
Interestingly, the fabric known as Viyella was itself named for the Via Gellia, the location of the mill where it was first produced.

It's a long climb up to the top of the village of Bonsall, not too steep though. At the bottom of the hill I noticed another strange message - this time on a bus stop.

There are several paths leading up from just beyond the village centre, going in a northerly direction - I'm not sure exactly which one I took but I reached Salters Lane and then found the path leading me back downhill across fields to reach Snitterton. Along this section I briefly set foot inside the official boundaries of the Peak District...the distance covered is only the width of three fields though.

I then took the road leading to Oaker, or Oker, as it is also written. It seems that no-one can agree on the correct spelling: on every actual sign I came across, the name was spelled differently to how it is depicted on the Ordnance Survey Map. Coincidence? Conspiracy? An organised protest; or just a bit of fun?

By now it was starting to rain and I was glad it was an easy walk back to Darley Dale to catch the Sheffield bus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lodge Moor, Rivelin Dams, Rivelin Valley, Malin Bridge, and Hillsborough.

An early start this morning. I arrived at Sheffield at about 08:15 in order to take advantage of the frequent running and the convenient timing of the number 51 bus.

Things didn't go exactly to plan though since I lost quite a bit of time by standing waiting for the bus on the wrong side of the road; it seems that most of the buses that run along Arundel Gate use a one-way loop through the city centre...this was news to me - there's certainly no mention of it in the printed timetable.

Anyhow, I got off the bus at the terminus at Lodge Moor, walked along the road for a few yards and took the footpath which leads down through Fox Hagg Nature Reserve; such a beautiful place, even though it's so close to a large housing estate. At various locations I could see right across to the other side of the Rivelin Valley, and beyond, and out towards Derbyshire to the west.

I soon reached the car park at the Lower Rivelin Dam; this is where I crossed into the Peak District. I walked along a wide, well-surfaced track along the southern shore - unfortunately the views of the water were often obscured by trees. The pungent aroma of pine was heady and refreshing though; and made the actual act of breathing a pleasurable, sensual experience.

I then took a rather rocky and overgrown path which went alongside the upper reaches of the River Rivelin and came out onto the A57 road right next to the 'Welcome to Hollow Meadows' sign. I crossed the road and then it was a gentle climb across fields to reach Crawshaw Lodge. On the Ordnance Survey map, next to the track at the back of the building, a cemetery is depicted, yet all I saw was a 'Private - No Entry' sign. This track continued onto a tract of high heather moorland and then descended towards Crawshaw Farm, where I ended up getting lost due to a lack of appropriate signage.

After climbing and clambering over several walls, fences and gates I thought I was going to get back onto the path...until I brushed up against a well-hidden electric fence. The two shocks I received were very unpleasant and gave me a feeling of numbness in my left elbow area for about ten minutes. Another wall with a barbed wire fence on top and a slog through a sticky bog and I was finally where I needed to be; taking the path which goes down through Royds Clough.

I then walked along country lanes and footpaths leading across grassy fields until I noticed a brick chimney lurking in the bottom of a small valley. Looking at the map, this appears to be a location called 'Stopes.' There were some lovely viewpoints looking down into the valley at several places along this section: it seems that Bradfield Parish Council is very good at providing seats in all of the best spots.

A path that I chose went alongside the perimeter fence of the mill/works at Stopes; it was then more country lanes, farm tracks and footpaths across grassy or muddy fields until I came down into the Rivelin Valley Nature Trail, about a mile from its start. This is familiar territory for me and I knew it wouldn't be too long until I'd reach the Café in the Park. I think I was too late for a hearty meal, so made do with a pot of tea, a toasted teacake and a sticky flapjack. I noticed that Bradwell's Ice Cream was on sale; I'd already spent nearly £5 and thought it would be greedy and extravagant to order some...I did feel like I was letting the side down though.

It isn't far from the café to Malin Bridge, and then the shops at Hillsborough, where I got the tram to Meadowhall, and then the train back to Doncaster.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Castleton, Little Hucklow, Coplow Dale, and Bradwell.

After having walked through Castleton from the bus station I climbed up the steep grassy slope at the far side of the wooded area next to the castle, to reach the path which goes parallel with, and high above, Cave Dale. Although not signposted, and a challenging climb, this short section is a footpath, the approximate route being depicted on the Ordnance Survey map: certainly, I've come down here before, and seen other people also use the route.

This path merges with the Limestone Way at the top of Cave Dale. I continued for a few minutes before I reached a junction of five footpaths or bridleways and took a route across Old Moor I hadn't previously walked. I was heading in a south-south easterly direction for about two and a half miles, the route at first being a footpath across grasslands, then a track, then a brief section of country road, and finally a green lane; or 'bridleway open to all traffic' - otherwise known as a 'BOAT'.

I then turned left and took the road that leads to Little Hucklow, a village I haven't really explored before. I noticed something that briefly interested me; a garden gate with a very high step leading up to it. You can see from the photograph that the step is nearly as high as the gate, and the gate looked to be a normal size to me.

It was a short walk along an overgrown footpath to Coplow Dale and then a pleasant walk across fields towards Bradwell, with some lovely views of Bradwell Edge, the Hope Valley...and beyond. I did get a splinter in my thumb though when climbing over a stile; we call a splinter a 'spell' in Yorkshire dialect...I wonder if they use the same word in Derbyshire?

I knew that the route down into Bradwell Dale is steep and difficult because I've previously climbed up it; so I walked along the top lane, passing by what I assume to be the entrance to Bagshawe Cavern - there was a group of people struggling to get into caving gear.

I took one of the paths which leads down into the centre of Bradwell, arriving there at 1:40, hoping for either some fish and chips or an ice cream from the ice cream shop...yes; that's all it sells, and as I discovered, it only opens for a few hours each week. The fish and chip shop doesn't open at all on Sundays...but I'd be able to get an ice cream at two o'clock.

I spent a few minutes reading the information board at the entrance to the small park and then visited the toilets. It's the first time I've used these facilities; on previous occasions they've been closed - like most public toilets in the Peak District they were clean and well maintained and serviced though.

I was waiting outside Bradwell's shop when it opened; Bradwell is the name of the family which makes and sells the ice just happens that their dairy and shop are also in Bradwell.

I was confronted with the entire range of flavours available...nineteen in all. I treated myself to a twin cone, double chocolate chip and lemon curd. Delicious.

The bus was due ten minutes later, and arrived about five minutes late.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Walking Opportunities.

I was surfing the net yesterday and ended up finding out about a new bus route to me, which I can use to reach the Peak District; service 51 to Lodge Moor.

I haven't been aware of its existence before because it departs from Arundel Gate and not the bus station - and it's not included in the timetable booklet featuring services running into the Peak District - it actually stops short of the Peak District boundary by about a this is probably the reason why.

If I'd realised earlier that not all buses serving the City Centre use the bus station, and actually knew where Lodge Moor is, I would have already been using this service; especially since its operating frequency is every ten minutes on weekdays - there have been many occasions when I have been hanging about for long periods of time at the interchange.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Short Walk From Fox House, And A Drive Up The Upper Derwent Valley.

Today I spent a lovely few hours in the Peak District with two friends from Leeds. It was totally unexpected; I received a phone call at eleven o'clock and we arranged to meet ninety minutes later at Sheffield Railway Station. I assumed we would just be meeting up for a drink, or a meal, but when my friend met me he mentioned that they'd come in the car and fancied a quick visit to the Peak District.

We drove to Fox House and walked part way along the carriage track and then returned back to the car park by the high level route at the top of the rocks. Damo has a bit of a limp, and his shoes weren't really appropriate for hiking, but I reckon we did about three miles; and no-one came to any harm.

After a quick drink in the pub we drove to Ladybower Reservoir and then turned up the road which goes up the valley. We stopped at the Derwent Dam to enjoy the view from the observation platform. Conditions were absolutely perfect; mainly sunny, but with dramatic-looking clouds, a strong breeze and occasional drizzle. We even spotted a rainbow. Excellent conditions for photography...but I didn't take my camera.

We continued further up the valley to the Howden Dam, which was overtopping; glistening like a plate of glass in the bright sunlight. The road at this point is narrow and so we needed to travel another mile or so in order to find a spot to turn round. All the time we drove very slowly up and down the valley, drinking in the scenery and listening to Wagner on the car's music system.

We then returned to Sheffield along the A57 road, arriving in ample time for my friends to have a meal before going on to their appointment.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Miller's Dale, Wormhill, Hargatewall, and Hope.

I visited another two villages for the first time today, Wormhill and Hargatewall: there can't be that many left now that I haven't visited that I'm easily able to reach on public transport from Sheffield.

I got off at a familiar location though, the bus stop just beyond the railway viaducts at Miller's Dale.

I walked along the footpath at the side of the river, soon reaching another viaduct, which now also carries the Monsal Trail over the River Wye.

There are plenty of trout which can easily be spotted in the water along this stretch of the river: I think it would have been easier to grab one with my hands than actually land a decent photograph though.

I continued until I reached the footpath which leads up to Wormhill, going through the Chee Dale Nature Reserve. My access was blocked though, the gate was padlocked. Now, there might have been a very good reason for this footpath being closed to the public, but a little bit of information and details of alternative routes would have been helpful. I assume that it's quite difficult to close a definitive footpath that's marked on an Ordnance Survey map, even for a temporary period; due process has to be followed and the proper consultation undertaken.

Never mind though, there was an alternative route that I discovered, adding about a mile to my walk; even though there was a sign reminding me that conditions underfoot might be a bit difficult.

After needing to be careful with some slippery limestone rocks along the way, I safely reached a footpath which I assumed led up through the woods to Wormhill. It wasn't marked on the map, but it appeared to be well-used. As I was ascending this section I was secretly hoping that I might come across a ranger or warder...I had it planned what I was going to say.

I walked along the road through Wormhill, to Hargatewall, about half a mile further. On the map there are several paths shown starting from here, yet I didn't see even one public footpath sign. Do the local residents actually want people to walk in areas that they'd prefer that they didn't?

I located the track that I needed to follow, then walked across fields as I approached the top of Peter Dale. I then continued along the bottom of Hay Dale and Dam Dale, areas I have previously walked.

At Dam Dale Farm I took the footpath across the fields to the main road, just to the east of Peak Forest, walked along the busy section of road, jogged really I suppose; then took the path leading down to Old Dam Lane. Access to this path was quite difficult; the area near to the stile was quite steep and overgrown with nettles and brambles.

I walked down the lane for a couple of hundred yards and then turned right along the track leading to Oxlow Rake, an area of old mine workings. It was then a steady climb up to the open grassland of Old Moor.

I then took the track which soon leads to the road which leads to Pin Dale. I was tormented by some bikers as I walked down Pin Dale. They were having a break at the top of the dale as I reached it, so I didn't linger as I descended. I soon heard their engines and so found a safe spot to let them pass; a few yards further on they stopped again though and I had to repeat the process all over again. I think this was rather inconsiderate on their part.

I then walked down the road which leads to Hope, past the main entrance to the Hope Cement Works, where I noticed that the Edale Mountain Rescue team is now based.

I had time to pop in the shop at Hope. The bus was a few minutes late because of some roadworks further down the valley at Brough. Unfortunately I didn't help the driver's timekeeping - when I pressed my travel pass onto the scanner my fingers were blocking the slot where the ticket comes out...he had to dismantle the machine: fortunately it didn't take too long. I think the reason I ended up doing this is that I was being careful not to block the scanning beam with my fingers; I have done this several times seems that there are some situations where you just can't win.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Walk Along The River

I did a local walk today, from Doncaster town centre and along the river to Sprotbrough, returning via Cusworth Hall.

I led a small group consisting of staff and members of the Autism Plus group recently established here in Doncaster.

We walked through the town centre and then took the steps down to the town lock; taking the footpath which leads past the prison and along the riverbank to the hamlet of Newton. We then continued, briefly walking through woodland and then on the top of the levee as the river curves past Hexthorpe. I pointed out the impressive facilities of Doncaster Rowing Club on the other bank, and then found myself identifying other points of interest along the way: I enjoy walking alone, but being part of a group, and having the pleasure and responsibility of being walk leader is equally interesting and challenging.

We stopped about a mile short of Sprotbrough for a rest and to eat our sandwiches and have something to drink, but we still landed up at the Boat Inn in Sprotbrough: it's a lovely country pub, but I think the food is rather expensive.

Needing to get back into town for four o'clock we couldn't linger for long; we had a quick detour to view the weir and then climbed up some steep steps to reach the main part of the village. The route to Cusworth Hall took us across fields, and as we approached the building, a quite strenuous climb up the hill for another refreshment stop at the tearooms. Yet again, we needed to be mindful of the time, but we even had a few minutes to spare to watch a barge passing through the town lock as we passed over the bridge.

Certainly a different experience for me when compared to walking in the Peak District on my own...but very pleasant - I really enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for a couple of local beauty spots which were pretty much unknown to the other walkers: one of the staff members was so impressed with Sprotbrough that she is planning a family outing there.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ladybower Reservoir, Alport Castles, and Hope.

I caught the number 273 bus again today and got off at the Derwent War Memorial, about a mile south of Fairholmes Visitor Centre. I walked up the road for a few minutes to reach the car parking area from where the footpath starts...and noticed that there's actually a bus stop at this location: I could have saved myself a few hundred yards walking it seems.

The path leads up through a conifer plantation; the climb is quite long, but not too strenuous. I soon reached open country and then continued walking in a north-westerly direction. On a much clearer day the views along this section would be spectacular; however all was not lost; for a couple of minutes or so the elements co-operated to present a quite impressive view of the Woodlands Valley, along which the Snake Pass road is routed. There was a constant, subtly changing tableau of light and movement created by the low cloud, swirling mist, occasional sunbeams and spots of speckled light and brightness, all churned up by the strong breeze. It's a pity my camera couldn't capture a decent image; unfortunately my photographs turned out rather bland; never mind though, some I took later on are good enough to publish.

The next part of the walk took me across Rowlee Pastures. Most of this section is paved with flagstones and so is easy going, unlike the next section, the area around Alport Castles; which was quite difficult and challenging.

The region where Alport Castles are situated is the location of an ancient landslip; you don't need to be a geologist to fathom this out - it's obvious what happened; a half a mile section of the gritstone edge sloughed off and fell several hundred feet into the valley.

The area got its name because several of the rock formations look like castles; the most spectacular one, which you can see in the left of the photograph, is called 'The Tower.' Several people were struggling to reach the top of it; I don't know if they were successful...I didn't hang around; it was raining, and I was in quite an exposed location when I took the picture. You're not actually supposed to climb anywhere in the Alport Castles area because the rocks are unstable.

I needed to get down to the bottom of the valley, and since the grass and the rocks were wet and slippery, and I'd already fallen over once, I decided not to tempt fate any more and so got down onto my bottom and used all fours to safely get to where I needed to be. Writing that though, I would have preferred to be on the other side of the barbed wire fence I found to be blocking my way. I soon managed to climb over it though, at a spot where it crossed the remains of a drystone wall.

It was easy enough to find the path which leads down to Alport Castles Farm, and then continue along the track to the Snake Pass road.

I crossed over the main road and then walked along another well-maintained track; however, I did have to use this ford to get across the River Ashop: I judge that the water was about five inches deep...and fast flowing.

A few yards further on and I noticed another seemingly abandoned military vehicle (A few weeks ago I saw what looked like a tank or armoured personnel carrier near Hathersage, that was actually a prop used by a film production company.)

It was a steady climb up across Blackley Hey. The bridleway seemed to have been improved, yet it actually made it more difficult underfoot for hikers; it was quite painful walking on the limestone chippings. I attempted to make my way using a more comfortable route on the peat; probably creating more erosion and doing more damage than if the surface had just been left alone.

When I reached Crookstone Barn I turned right, then left, and descended through a lot of bracken to eventually arrive at the Edale road. I then took the path which goes under the railway bridge and comes out further down the road, nearer to Hope. I continued along the road into the village. Two buses were due, the 272 and the 273: the 273 was expected five minutes earlier, yet it was the 272 which arrived first. It was nearly ten minutes late - I think another 'fun run' in Sheffield caused the delay.

I don't think they're funny at all.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ashopton, Win Hill, Hope, and Castleton.

I got off the bus at the Ladybower Inn, and unusually, was soon talking to someone who would end up being my walking companion for the next hour or so as we climbed to the summit of Win Hill. His name was Tony.

We walked south along the road and then turned right to cross the dam wall, then took a path through the woods which soon intersected with the route up Parkin Clough. I reckon that this is the steepest route up Win Hill: I needed to stop for about half a dozen rests. If he were on his own I doubt that Tony would have stopped at all, despite his being at least ten years older than me. I was still pleased with my level of fitness though, it seems to be improving all the time, and having someone else with me spurred me on.

After taking photos and chatting for a while on the summit we went our separate ways; Tony in the direction of the Kinder Plateau, and myself down to Hope. I found a route, part of which I hadn't walked along before, which took me down to the main Hope Valley road, just to the east of Hope.

A few hundred yards and I was at the Old Hall Tea Rooms; arriving just in time so that I could still order something from the breakfast menu...a full English breakfast and a pot of tea.

I took my time eating my meal; the weather was a bit miserable and I was only planning walking the two miles or so into Castleton, and so wanted to make the day last.

Eventually I did leave and started heading westwards, but after about five minutes I realised I had forgotten my map; I'd left it hanging on the back of the chair when I left. So, I quickly returned to the tearooms where the waitress was expecting me - and then made my way back towards Castleton.

I soon walked past the field where people were making preparations for tomorrow's Hope Show (August 27th.) - I noticed how all the tents and marquees seemed to be white and lacked any garish sponsorship logos on them: Maybe it's a stipulation with the event being held in a National Park.

By now it was raining, but not very heavily. The next thing I noticed was that a concessionary path that I wasn't even aware of, had been closed; the sign explains the reasons.

I also noticed some interesting, and rather attractive I thought, pieces of sculpture which seem to have been abandoned in the field which the footpath would have crossed. I wonder if the two facts are connected?

The intensity of the rain was increasing and so for the last half a mile or so into Castleton I walked pretty quickly; arriving with only a few minutes to wait for the bus.