Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Bus Timetables 2015

Here is the new timetable for route 65; no real changes, just a slight tinkering with the times.

The timetable is valid from January 25th

Here is the new timetable for route 215/218, valid from February 1st.

More changes here. There's now an improved  half-hourly service to Bakewell, with an hourly service maintained to Chatsworth. Unfortunately, the route beyond Bakewell only operates every alternate hour.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fox House, Burbage Valley, and Longshaw Estate

There was still a bit of lying snow on the ground in Doncaster this morning; there was much more in the Peak District though, about twelve inches I'd say, making walking a bit treacherous in a few places...and always hard work. 

No problems at all with public transport today, although I did partially overhear a rather Kafkaesque conversation between an elderly passenger and the driver who were arguing/discussing as to whether the bus company was running a Saturday service today, or a modified weekday service, and therefore would his bus pass be valid for travel before 0930. I don't know what the details were, but the driver let him use his pass. I think the driver did mention that the service is exactly the same on Saturdays and weekdays [and modified weekdays] ...but that, of course wasn't the issue, he can use his pass before 0930 at weekends, but not during the week; so, can a Tuesday ever be a Saturday? is a Tuesday therefore always a modified weekday when it falls between Christmas and New Year? and is a modified Saturday only ever a Saturday? I'm glad that my travel pass is valid for use at all times whatever the day is...or isn't.

(Some bus companies also run modified Sunday services over the holiday period)

I got off the bus at Fox House, literally not knowing what day it was. I still remember where the stile was to gain access to Burbage Moor and walked along the path, which was easily defined in the snow. I had specifically chosen this location today so that I could see how the felling of the plantations was progressing. [Details of the programme are here]

A lot of progress has been made; I reckon more than half of the conifers have already been felled. Some of the cleared areas can just about be made out through the snow on the far left of the second photograph.

I took plenty of photographs, but only a few turned out to my satisfaction. There were some dramatic views of Kinder Scout and The Great Ridge in the distance with a threatening wall of cloud bubbling up, sunbeams piercing through to spotlight individual peaks at times. The conditions were perfect, but unfortunately the camera lens isn't as good as the lenses in my glasses...I could clearly see so much detail that the camera has completely missed. 

I walked along the top of Burbage Edge for a few hundred yards and then took the path which gently descends down to the main track. I walked back to the road, walked alongside the road for a few minutes and then took the first footpath leading on to the Longshaw estate.

I dawdled and meandered my way to the Information Centre. I used the toilets and then went in the tearooms. They were busy as I'd expected, since I'd seen a lot of people out walking on the main paths. It was still quite early so I found a suitable rock, sat on it and finished off my sandwiches. 

I did an elongated loop walk, sticking to the areas where plenty of people had already been walking. I continued to pass a lot of people, including many dogwalkers; one woman passed me and was enthusiastically shouting at her small dog, on several occasions changing from 'Good Boy!' to 'Good Girl!' Maybe the former was meant for me; I didn't reply...I never beg.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day Walk to Doncaster Lakeside

It's been a lovely morning and so I had to get out of the house. Obviously there's no public transport running and so it would have to be a local walk. It's only a fifteen minute walk to Doncaster Lakeside from my house; it's a very pleasant spot and I really should pop down there more often.

I took the short-cut that I know through the estate and was wished a 'Merry Christmas' by a very attractive young woman standing leaning against a car. She was wearing a very short dressing-gown and exposing a lot of naked flesh. I was wearing my bright red padded ski jacket - maybe she was a little tipsy and thought I was Father Christmas and she wanted to come over and sit on my was certainly a pleasant start to my day!

I did a full circuit of the lake when I got there, and climbed two of the three artificial mounds too to enjoy the view - all the way to the Pennines. I've never walked all the way round the lake before, just sections of the route. Today I was able to linger at the various viewpoints and the statues to take photographs...and to cross over the bridges to walk on both of the islands. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Holidays

I've just been checking my diary and the online weather forecast until the end of the year and it looks like I won't be getting out walking in the Peak District until the New Year.

It's forecast to be lovely on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and so I might be tempted to do a local walk to the Lakeside area and the nearby fields out towards Bessacarr.

As usual I'll be spending the holidays alone, but I've got plenty of nice food in the freezer, two game pies, a five bird roast, a four meat prepared roast, a sweet-cured gammon joint...and all the trimmings as well; roast vegetables, mince pies...and quite a bit of chocolate.

I shall have to walk off the calories in the New Year.    

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Visit To Cannon Hall

It would have also been a visit to Newmillerdam as well; we spent too much time in the café at Cannon Hall though.

A day out today with Siobhan, my support worker; Christmas shopping at Cannon Hall Farm Shop. Here's a photograph of the goodies: two game pies (I would have preferred rabbit pies - but they didn't have any), fruit and nut flapjack, and some lemon curd Bakewell Tart. There was so much to choose from, but probably not as much choice as last year before the building renovations. There's more space to walk round now though.

We arrived at about 11:15 and tried to pay the £3 parking fee at two different locations, but the machines must have been full. So; a good start to the day. The sun was at a good angle to take some photographs of the house and the grounds, so that was the first thing I did.

There were a couple of very garish portaloos hiding in a corner, hopefully not being too intrusive.

We then went to go and have a look round the hall; it's free admission by the way. To our surprise it wasn't open yet; it didn't open until twelve o'clock.. So...we would have to go in the café; for a pot of tea and a pulled pork and stuffing sandwich each. I think I had an Aspergic moment when I asked for a pot of tea for two and some extra water and the woman serving thought I wanted a glass of water...are my verbal communication skills really that bad?

I think we lost track of time in the  café, but we eventually walked across the courtyard to the hall. Cannon Hall has a very large and impressive collection of  Moorcroft Pottery . There was also some lovely Christmas decorations; possibly period, and certainly appropriate for the decor and furniture. There were very few people around and so I was able to take a few photographs, but none of them was any good.

Finally, we went to the farm shop, where I bought my pies and cakes.

By now there wasn't enough time to fit in a visit to Newmillerdam and a walk round the lake, so we called at a couple of out-of-town supermarkets on the way home to see what we could find.

We had an accident with a Pound coin and a trolley safe.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baslow and Chatsworth Park

It was quite cold and frosty today; I didn't feel it at all though. I was well wrapped up: two tee-shirts, a lumberjack shirt, a thick woollen fleece, and a ski jacket that would keep me warm at a temperature of minus thirty degrees Centigrade - and I didn't need the 'fur' lined gloves or the trapper's hat.

As I was sitting on the bus at Sheffield Bus Station a woman got on and asked the driver which departures throughout the day from her destination would have a doubledecker, like this one. She mentioned being stranded once when there was no room on a small single-decker bus...and didn't want to be in that situation again. On several occasions I have written about problems with overcrowding on the 218 service, and so I wasn't surprised; both Chatsworth House and Bakewell are very popular destinations from Sheffield.

It was an excellent day for photography; these are the best photos I took.

I got back to Baslow Nether End and went over to the bus stop to confirm that I'd got fifty minutes until the next bus; plenty of time for a pot of tea and a bun in the café. I had no time at all though; the 13:40 bus immediately turned off the main road to the area where the bus stops are - it was ten minutes late.

I had a decision to make; was it going to be the bus, or tea and a bun? I chose the bus.

I finished the walk early today; I had intended to walk over to the estate village of Edensor and photograph the church and some of the pretty cottages, but after struggling climbing down the steep and uneven steps from the Hunting Tower my left knee was hurting me...and it was feeling a bit weak. It was a type of throbbing pain right at the back of my knee; it's nothing new, I've had it before, and it's fine now - three hours later.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bus Services Update

I've just found out on the South Yorkshire Transport Forum that there will be significant changes to bus services into the Peak District that I use, coming up in January and February.

To summarise the situation; there will be a better service to Bakewell, but one of the Matlock routes is being curtailed, only going as far as Chatsworth House.

So, it looks like the area between Chatsworth House and Matlock will be out of bounds.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Matlock Victorian Christmas Market With Justin.

Here are some photographs I took.

I didn't buy anything more exotic than a game pie from the Medieval Pye Stall.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fox House, Longshaw Estate, Grindleford, Froggatt, Calver, and Baslow

An interesting and unusual start to the day this morning: I think I got caught up in some sort of public/performance art installation.

I entered the gents' at Sheffield Railway Station and everything seemed to be as I'd expect it to be; however, a few minutes later, when I came out of the cubicle, sheets of paper had been placed in two of the sinks.

(The hand-written message reads, 'In the name of love before you break my heart.' - the main chorus from a famous Diana Ross and the Supremes song.)

I lingered at the railway station, reading a newspaper and eating some of my sandwiches, so when I arrived at the bus station it was only a few minutes until the bus was scheduled to depart. It was already nearly full and just about the only empty seat was one of the fold-down sidewards-facing seats at the front...they're not very wide. There was a vacant seat next to me...although several inches of it were actually being used by me.

I was expecting this to be a problem; and I wasn't wrong. A few stops into the journey as the bus was travelling along Eccleshall Road someone boarded and was determined to sit next to me; I squeezed up as much as I could, making myself as small as possible, crossing my legs and balancing my rucksack on the top of my shoulders. There still really wasn't enough room; I briefly considered standing up, but all of a sudden the other passenger reached over and slammed down the seat. It took him several attempts to get it fully down, each time removing a layer of my skin and sending pain searing all the way down my leg....not a good start to the walk.

Feeling quite sore and lame I got off the bus at Fox House and walked down through the woods to Longshaw Estate. The mist swirling around the trees was quite pretty.

Today I deliberately visited parts of the estate I don't remember seeing before; I certainly didn't realise that boggarts live there - I didn't see any though.

There was plenty of interesting fungi to photograph too.

I explored some more of the estate and then reached the road above Grindleford. I continued down the hill and took the path which leads off just before the bridge over the River Derwent. Like the majority of the rest of the walk I was walking on level ground at the bottom of the valley all the way to Baslow. The only section which involved me gaining, and then losing altitude was near Calver when I climbed up and over a hill that I think might be called Hare Knoll. On a clear day there are lovely views of Froggatt Edge here, but not today; I could barely see it in the distance. What I could see though, and it certainly caught my attention, was a ruined barn; from the angle I was approaching it, part of the timbers looked like a guillotine that might have been used during the French Revolution. The photograph is black and white to heighten some of the detail.

When I reached Baslow I noticed that my trousers were especially muddy. I feared I might not be allowed on the bus and so stopped at one of the seats in front of the church to put my over-trousers on; this was difficult without taking off my boots. It won't be difficult the next time though because I've already cut some slits into the bottom of the legs to make it a lot easier. 

The bus journey back to Sheffield from Baslow was totally uneventful.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Baslow, Pilsley, Hassop, and Bakewell

I had planned two alternative walks this morning, one starting at Great Hucklow, and one at Baslow. I waited until the last minute to make my choice. The Buxton bus and the Matlock bus depart within a few minutes of each other; the Matlock bus came to the stand first and was a double decker - there would be plenty of legroom for me on this bus and the journey time to Baslow is significantly less...and so I opted for the Baslow walk.

It was very misty on the highest parts of the moors and so I was glad that I would be doing a low level walk today, sometimes the fog and mist can set me off coughing and ruin my entire day.

I got off the bus at Baslow Nether End and went to the toilets to tend to a delicate area which needed a bit of attention. The cubicle was very small, and what with the actions I was doing, I kept bumping my elbows and knees against the sides. I considered taking a photo to illustrate how little space I had but someone arrived and went inside the other cubicle; as I was washing my hands I noticed a camera flash go off in the other cubicle - maybe he'd had a similar idea.

Anyhow, my nether end was sorted at Baslow Nether End and I was ready to set off on the walk.

I walked through the village to just past the church, crossed over the old humpback bridge and took a path which soon reaches the fields. It was a gentle climb away from the village followed by quite a steep descent down to the Bakewell road, then a similarly steep climb back out of the valley to reach more fields, and then a short stretch along the road into Pilsley.

I sat and ate my sandwiches on a rather old and decrepit lichen-covered bench just across the road from the village pub. At one point a car stopped and the driver asked me for directions to 'Chatsworth Hall', a hybrid combination of Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall; I gave him directions to the former, since it's much closer. 

Just beyond the village I took a well-used footpath through a wood which isn't signposted or marked on the map, and then continued down the lane to reach the Bakewell road again, about a mile further on. I needed to walk along a very short stretch of the road, no more than a few dozen strides; yet even in this brief period a car came uncomfortably close to me, forcing me to take a step away and put my foot on the raised white line which marks the edge of the road. This surface was very slippery and I lost my grip, slipping and nearly doing the splits. Many thanks to the driver of the white car for that (have you noticed how most cars are white these days though?)

At this time it was raining; the rain only lasted for about twenty minutes though and then the weather slowly brightened up...being really quite sunny and excellent conditions for photography when I was travelling home on the bus and the train.

I had to dodge two groups of cyclists as I walked along the path to Hassop. I reached the main road right at the southern end of the village and then walked along this road until I reached the Hassop Station Café on the Monsal Trail, using the strobe setting on my torch to let car drivers know of my presence this's very effective; they can see it from several hundred yards away.

I had a pot of tea and a scone at the café and then continued along the Trail to Bakewell, passing Bakewell Station on the way. By this time in the afternoon the conditions were a lot brighter and more colourful; I took a picture of the old station buildings. I like this photograph; it reminds me of a looming, snorting steam engine, one of the earliest on the railways - I can see the chimney, the massive wheels that the early locomotives had...and a snowplough on the front.

From here I soon reached Bakewell. I had a few minutes to spare as I was waiting for the bus and so popped into Bath Gardens to take this photograph.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Conisbrough, Ravenfield, and Thrybergh Country Park

The BBC online weather forecast for today was much better for Doncaster than it was for Bakewell; so I went on a local walk....and besides that I didn't wake up until 07:30 after a late night at the comedy club - far too late to catch the early train to Sheffield.

I got off the bus at the last stop in Conisbrough, crossed the road and walked uphill along Park Lane, a well-maintained bridleway. I headed south for about two miles until reaching the road near to the bridge over the M18 motorway. In an otherwise misty and monotone day I managed to find a bit of colour in these yellow autumn leaves.

Accompanied by the sound of distant gunfire I walked along the road towards the entrance to Rotherham Gun Club and took the footpath just beyond, crossing high common land. At this point I was joined by a woman with a big white dog who kept disappearing and re-appearing again, even though she was only a few feet behind me. I wanted a pee, but was never sure as to whether or not it would be safe; I managed to have one a few minutes later in a copse.

I missed the path that went across the fields to Ravenfield and so had to take a country lane into the village. I don't think Ravenfield is particularly beautiful, but I did notice one or two impressive buildings, and at the entrance to the village there's a sign which informs visitors that it twice won the 'Britain in Bloom' competition several years ago.

There was another stretch of road down to Thrybergh Country Park, quite steep at one point. I walked clockwise around the western half of the lake to reach the public toilets and the café.

I ordered ham, egg, and salad from the café; it was very well presented and tasted fine. Afterwards I went outside and sat watching the children feeding the ducks for about half an hour before walking down to the bus stop; I only had to wait five minutes for a bus back to Doncaster.

Today it was an easy and relatively short walk, but that's good; I pulled a groin muscle doing some capoeira moves in 'Theatre of the Oppressed' class last Monday and I don't want to break down again - I'll be leading the session tomorrow and I have got something quite physical planned.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Public Toilets

I quite often mention my visits to public toilets in my blog posts, so I thought I'd draw up a list of the locations of public toilets in the areas I go walking.


Railway Station: Free toilets on the platforms, you have to pay to use the ones in the concourse though...there are no ticket barriers, so access to the platforms in easy.

Interchange/Bus Station: 20p per visit

Endcliffe Park: Free

Forge Dam Café: Free

Hillsborough Interchange: Free

The free public toilets at Fox House and Rivelin Post Office have recently been closed. The toilets at Ringinglow closed several years ago.


LONGSHAW LODGE: Possibly restricted opening hours.

HATHERSAGE: I think they are due to be refurbished in the near future and therefore might be closed for a few weeks.

STANAGE EDGE: Near to Hollin Bank Car Park.

BAMFORD: Village centre and Heatherdene Car Park

LADYBOWER: Fairholmes Visitor Centre


HOPE: Car Park

CASTLETON: Bus Station and Visitor Centre

EYAM: Car Park

TIDESWELL: Fountain Square


BUXTON: The car park near to the viaducts, and at the Town Hall

BASLOW: Nether End

CHATSWORTH HOUSE: Main entrance and up the hill towards the restaurant.

CALTON LEES: Chatsworth Garden Centre; not really public toilets - restricted opening hours.

ROWSLEY: Peak Village Shopping Centre - two locations.

DARLEY DALE: At the top of the road which leads to Peak Rail station. Not marked on OS maps.

MATLOCK: Hall Leys Park

MATLOCK BATH: North Parade, South Parade, and Artists' Corner Car Park.

CROMFORD: Cromford Wharf, Cromford Mill, and town centre.



MONYASH: At the small car park at the head of Lathkill Dale


BAKEWELL: Granby Square and Riverside



MILLER'S DALE: Car Park on the Monsal Trail

WYE DALE: Lees Bottom Car Park - composting toilets.

LOW BRADFIELD: I can't remember exactly where.



LANGSETT: Reservoir Car Park

BRETTON COUNTRY PARK (Next to Yorkshire Sculpture Park): Car Park


BARNSLEY: Bus Station and Town Centre

CLUMBER PARK: Three locations


RETFORD: Two locations



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bakewell, Ashford-in-the-Water, Monsal Head, Little Longstone, and Great Longstone

I had planned to go walking in the area between Chesterfield and Matlock today; however, when I reached Sheffield Interchange the number 218 bus was at the stand and just about to leave. So...I hopped on, sat down and re-folded my map for a walk starting from Bakewell.

The bus arrived on time at Bakewell at 09:05: I took some photos, went to the toilet, and bought something to eat from a couple of the shops.

I soon set off, walking along Buxton Road until I reached the footpath across the riverside pastures to Ashford-in-the-Water. The sun was at my back and I was able to take some good photographs.

The toilets at Ashford are quite good - there's even a painting hanging above the sink.

After leaving the toilets I checked the map; there are several routes across the fields to Monsal Head...and I managed to navigate my way there without having to refer to the map. The weather was still quite nice as I left Ashford, but was becoming increasingly cloudy and cold. It was still pleasant enough when I reached Monsal Head for me to sit and enjoy the view...whilst struggling to get my tongue at a Ribena icepop.

This was the view from where I was sitting.

After I'd finished the icepop, and my sandwiches, a middle-aged couple asked me to take some photos of them posing in front of the viewpoint. To be honest I don't think the results would have been very good, they were too far away and standing in the wrong place anyhow.

As I was walking down the road to Little Longstone I began to notice that my thigh muscles were beginning to ache; it felt like I had walked three or four times further than I actually had. Earlier in the week I was running a high fever - although I never really felt ill - I'm assuming that my tired muscles must be an after-effect of that viral infection. Eating my emergency supply of chocolate seemed to ease things about half an hour later; I did take every opportunity to sit down though, and give my thighs a good hard rubbing down.

I passed the Packhorse Inn, which seems to be very welcoming to hikers, and then walked across the fields to Great Longstone.

It was then easy walking across more fields until I reached the Monsal Trail. I passed by a house which is marked as 'Toll Bar House' on the map; maybe it should be re-classified as a gatehouse though - it certainly has one above the first floor window.

There was plenty of time for me to call in at Hassop Station Cafe for a restorative pot of tea and some chips. As I was walking along the Monsal Trail for the last few hundred yards to the bus-stop at Pineapple Farm a very nice, and attractive, middle-aged woman started talking to me. As I was struggling up the steps to get to the road she suggested that she wanted to help me by giving me a good push. I pretended not to hear...I didn't know what to say.

The bus was twenty five minutes late, giving me plenty of time to think about what had just happened.  Maybe I should have continued walking with her back to Bakewell, as she was hinting at [I think.]

Because of my Asperger's syndrome I'm hopeless with women, or in any other social situation; I never know what to say or do, or what people's motives are...or what's expected from me. I'm very good with ideas and concepts though and a project that I've recently initiated for the autism group here in Doncaster is going very well. It looks like it will be continued and even expanded, helping a lot of vulnerable people in the, all is not lost.

So, I thought about that instead, making more plans for the future.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Group Walk To Wadworth, Old Edlington, and Edlington.

A very local walk for me today, probably no more than five miles from my home; yet I've never been walking in this area before. I wasn't the walk leader today either...and I really enjoyed the opportunity to go on a walk and not know what lies ahead.

As usual we posed for a group photograph at the start of the walk at Edlington Pit Wood; there were sixteen of us on the walk today - two were missing, myself (the photographer) and one of the children.

After passing a small pond and some scrubland we entered Edlington Wood. Over to the right there was a limestone cliff which the more adventurous members of the group explored; a few minutes later we were picking chestnuts off the ground...we soon had our pockets full.

We passed under the motorway using the tunnel, and then walked across open countryside, mainly fields and country lanes, until we reached Wadworth.

We posed for another group portrait as we entered the village; this time I featured on the photograph.

Our lunch break was taken on The Green; it would have been nice if there were more seats - the shop was nearby though.

We re-traced our steps a few hundred yards and then re-entered an area of woodland, crossing under the motorway using the same tunnel again.

I was surprised by how long it took for us to reach Old Edlington; I was convinced that every isolated farm or house was the start of the village.

We, of course, did eventually arrive at Old Edlington, where we paused for awhile at the memorial to the Canadian Airforce personnel who died in a crash during the Second World War.

The final mile and a half of the walk was along the road back to the car park; someone checked their GPS and we had covered eight miles, two miles more than our initial estimation.