Sunday, May 19, 2013

Great Hucklow, Windmill, Old Dam, Beytonsdale, and Castleton.

The guard on the train this morning announced that we would be ten minutes late leaving Doncaster due to overrunning engineering works. This meant that I'd miss the 272 bus at Sheffield, and so would have to catch a later service, to a different destination. After checking my bus timetables, which were still wet after last week's soaking on the Great Ridge, I decided to catch the 65 and start my walk from Great Hucknall. Fortunately there was plenty of room, and even a table, for me to re-fold my map en route. There was plenty of time at Sheffield Midland Station to visit the toilets and pop into the Sainbury's shop there and buy something extra to eat. All I could find was a packet of Welsh cakes; I've never tried these before, in fact, until today I'd never heard of them. They looked a bit like Derby scones, which I think are delicious (never served as part of a cream tea though). Later in the day I was to find out that they didn't taste that much like Derby scones; they were much lighter and not as buttery...but did contain more currants. There were six in the pack and I ate them all; so I must have enjoyed them.

I got off the bus as planned at Great Hucknall and walked through the village, then along the road and a path that goes parallel to the road, until I reached the hamlet of Windmill. There were some pretty views along this section; spoiled somewhat by the poor visibility though. A few hundred yards beyond Windmill there's a gate which is the access to High Rake. Almost immediately there are the ruins of High Rake Mine, with a detailed information board, and a bench facing northwards to  appreciate the view of  Hucklow Edge over to the east. It was 10:45 by now and so the cricket commentary was just beginning: time for my sandwiches and a rummage in my rucksack for my radio. As I ate my sandwiches and Welsh cakes, England got off to a bad start for the day; they did easily win the test match against New Zealand by mid-afternoon though.

Here's a photograph of part of the information board at High Rake Mine; the part with the largest lettering.

I continued walking along High Rake and then crossed a narrow country lane and took the path that continued in the same direction. I was now walking along, and sometimes in the bottom of, Tideslow Rake. This is a very prominent, and impressive landscape feature, the largest in the Peak District I think. Here are two photographs I took, facing both directions, to try and show how large it is, stretching for over a mile - all dug by hand I should think.

When I was in the bottom of the rake I heard the sound of a loud engine and looked up to see a low-flying light aircraft; a very small one - a very flimsy single-seater.

After reaching the end of Tideslow Rake I walked along the road for a short distance and then took a path across the field, and then a single track lane, to Old Dam. I continued along this lane to reach Beytonsdale, a hamlet I hadn't visited before.

I took another path leading uphill across more fields and then reached the road, right next to Eldon Quarry. Just before reaching the quarry I saw an eviscerated frog on the grass.

I walked along the old quarry road and then along the section of the Limestone Way which leads down Cave Dale into Castleton. 

As I was approaching Castleton the weather rapidly improved, as you can tell  from this picture I took at the bottom end of Cave Dale, only about a hundred yards from Castleton's market place.

The bus was waiting in at the bus station; service number 273 which goes to Sheffield via the Ladybower Reservoir and the Upper Derwent Valley. The journey back to Sheffield was lovely, especially the section when the bus travels the entire length of the reservoir's upper arm to the visitor centre at Fairholmes. The last time I was here I was in a car with two friends from Leeds listening to Wagner on the CD player...and that was even better. 

I had time to get a cup of tea at Sheffield railway station; however I had to stand on the train, struggling with my drink as it slurped about in the plastic cup. I had a bit of an accident as the train turned sharply to the right just beyond Swinton station when what should have been a sip of scolding hot tea ended up inside my nostrils. Strangely, the hot tea didn't seem to drain back out from my nostrils though.

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