Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fox House, Longshaw Estate, Nether Padley, Grindleford, and Hathersage Booths.

For a change today, when I got off the bus at Fox House I walked a few yards down the road and entered the Longshaw Estate by the vehicular entrance, passing through the car park and down to the Information Centre and tearooms - where I ordered a pot of tea and a bowl of soup. I presented my bus ticket, so I didn't have to pay for the tea; it's a deal that TM Motors has negotiated with the National Trust - you can also get £2 off the price of admission at Chatsworth House if you travel on service number 218.

I had to hang around for half an hour for the tearooms to open; they open later at weekends. I therefore had a bit of time to walk around  and take some photographs. The first one of this pair was taken before the tearooms had opened, the other after I had started the walk.

After finishing my soup I took the path that leads to a location known as 'Wooden Pole' and then a track which goes across open moorland to reach White Lodge.

I then made my way down to Nether Padley, covering a lot of ground I hadn't walked before, including a spectacular viewpoint located at the summit of Tumbling Hill. I sat and ate my sandwiches here; I consider this to be the most scenic place I've managed to reach on my walks in the Peak District so far. It's not easy to find though; the actual summit and the path that leads to it aren't marked on the Ordnance Survey map.

The views span almost 360 degrees, encompassing White Edge, the Burbage Valley, the Hope Valley, and the Derwent Valley. For those of you who know the area well; imagine being able to enjoy the view from Fox House or Longshaw, Surprise View, and the view you get when standing on Froggat Edge...all from the same place. Wonderful! Magnificent!

I only took photographs facing up the Hope Valley; the sun was too low on the horizon for the other views.

When I reached Nether Padley I had to check the map just to make sure which direction I needed to go to find the two snickets which would take me down to the road.

I walked down the road for a few hundred yards and then walked in the fields next to the river [following the path] before climbing up through woodland to reach the main Sheffield road just above The Millstone pub at Hathersage Booths...where I caught the bus opposite the car park.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Great Hucklow, Little Hucklow, Coplow Dale, Bradwell, and Castleton

My friend Justin phoned me just after 07:30 this morning as I was getting ready. He told me that he couldn't sleep and had watched 'Skyfall,' the most recent James Bond film, on DVD. He told me that it was rubbish and had none of the elements he wanted in a Bond film, exotic locations, glamorous women, evil villains, and some good repartee and humour. I agreed with him on every point and also that Daniel Craig isn't the right man to play Bond. I was able to keep the conversation going by using my free hand to gather things and place them either in the pockets of my ski jacket or the various compartments of my rucksack. However, I had to end the phone call when I started to put on my boots; I need two hands for that - and a bit of brute strength too.

The Plymouth train was waiting on the platform at Doncaster Station. It would be going via Sheffield, it couldn't really go by any other route, although the ticket inspector was a bit uncertain as she welcomed us aboard. Of course it did go to Sheffield, and got there twenty five minutes later.

A few minutes later as I got on the bus and was scanning my travel pass I thought I heard the driver greet me by name, saying, "Good Morning, Lee." This startled me a bit; I replied with a vigorous 'Good Morning' and left it at that; there were a lot of people behind me queueing to board. Maybe he recognised me from my profile picture here or elsewhere online; of course, this blog is as much about public transport as it is about walking.

As the bus passed over the moors near to Fox House I could see that the higher land in the distance, The Great Ridge and Kinder Plateau, was covered with snow.

I got off the bus at  Great Hucklow and walked through the village to pick up the byway which leads to Little Hucklow.


The track was icy, and slippery in places. I slipped once and landed on my backside; fortunately I know how to fall down correctly by  re-distributing my weight and relaxing my muscles: I learned this technique at college many years ago - on a performing arts course.

There were some lovely views of the White Peak countryside as I carefully picked my way down to the road.

The approach to Little Hucklow was along the road, often icy in places too; fortunately there was a verge to walk on most of the time.

I found the footpath which leads northwards to Coplow Dale. At Coplow Dale I got waylaid. As I passed one of the most ramshackle and rundown cottages I've ever seen the occupant came running towards me wanting to know the time. I told him; it was 11:06. He commented that that was a very precise answer and we ended up chatting for about fifteen minutes about the local area and its history, and some of the characters he'd known....and his new cowshed, which was only new in the 1950s though. He was certainly a character himself; he was a ringer for Father Abraham from The Smurfs

He was very proud of his cowshed but it was an eyesore built of breeze blocks and corrugated steel. I didn't mention this, I also didn't comment on the long thumbnail he had, over an inch long and curved backwards like a talon.

He paused for breath and I made my excuses and continued towards Bradwell, across the fields, along a very short stretch of country lane and then along the footpath that stays high above Jennings Dale...more lovely views to enjoy.

I reached the road and then headed straight for the viewing platform which overlooks the quarry workings. I was hoping that there'd be no-one there and I'd be able to finish off my sandwiches; well, there wasn't anyone there, but there wasn't a seat either - so I ate my sandwiches a few minutes later sitting on a boulder.

I entered Bradwell in the Smalldale area, but soon left again as I took the path which would take me to Castleton, going by/through the cement plant.

The entire complex, both the quarry and the cement plant and ancillary buildings is known as 'Hope Works.' As I was walking past the chimney and the building that I think is the washery I started to think about James Bond again and how Hope Works would be a great location for the secret base of a devious villain - and would make a decent title for the film too.

I didn't have far to go now, just along the road to Castleton; more great views of the Hope Valley though.

I could smell the fish and chips long before I arrived at the fish and chip shop. I was quite muddy and thought about not going in, but the floor is tiled and there were other walkers already standing at the counter. I needn't have worried, a couple of minutes later a cave diver was standing next to me; she was wearing a very dirty wet suit, goggles, and two air cylinders on her back...she did ask for permission though. [I did check that she wasn't wearing flippers, she had wellies on.]

After eating my meal I had a wander round the village; I found something which I think is so out of place for Castleton, so I took a photograph.

What is an American food angel?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Langold, Hodsock, Scofton, and Worksop

I thought it might be a bit cold and windy for going walking in the Peak District this morning; I don't like cold winds, they give me earache. I also got up a bit late and so it would be a rush to get to the station to catch the early train to Sheffield. So...I chose a local walk, just over the boundary in Nottinghamshire.

I got off the bus at Langold just before it goes round the housing estate, walked past the shops, and found my footpath just south of the village. It was sunny, but spitting with rain a bit; the only rain of the day though.

I walked along broad, well-maintained tracks for a couple of miles until I reached Hodstock. My view from the public footpath of the priory wasn't very good, I was too far away. Some estate workers were repairing some fencing, otherwise I would have ventured closer to take some photographs. This is the best I could manage from where I was.

About a mile later I reached a stretch of busy road, dead straight as it happens. I rushed along this section, always wary of traffic. I easily found the bridleway which goes down into Thievesdale and then along estate roads to Scofton. I stopped soon after leaving the road to eat my sandwiches. A woman with two dogs was walking towards me, all of a sudden both dogs sniffed something in the air and came running over to me, licking my fingers and trying to get to the food in my rucksack. Both dogs were friendly and passive and I didn't feel threatened at all by them, and their owner was very pleasant and apologetic - but I would have preferred that it didn't have happened.

Scofton is quite picturesque.

Just beyond the village I crossed over the River Ryton; I could have chosen to use a ford if I preferred. A few yards further I arrived at the canal, the Chesterfield Canal, at Osberton Lock.

I would be following the towpath back to Worksop. There are some pretty stone bridges, several of which I had to stoop to walk under. 

Not too far from Worksop there's a point where three bridges cross the canal very close together; I thought it made an interesting photograph.

A few minutes later I noticed some teenagers larking about as they walked along a sliproad leading to an industrial estate. I sensed troubled...and I was correct. As soon as they saw me they started yelling abuse about me being a weirdo and then started to throw stones, maybe aiming them at me, or maybe just throwing them in the canal so that they might splash me. Welcome to Worksop: this has never happened to me on a walk before, but I am abused, bullied, or ridiculed about once a month - I'm sure this is because of my Asperger's syndrome and how I walk, caused by my unusually long limbs and them being out of proportion...I describe my gait as a combination of an over-excited orang-utan and a Thunderbirds puppet.

I continued without incident all the way to Worksop town centre. At one point I passed what I can only describe as an old Italianate-style pumping house - I was able to take photographs from several angles as the canal loops round at this location.

As I neared the town centre I could see the towers of Worksop Priory; I wanted to incorporate a visit into the walk, but the timing wasn't right - it would have meant me waiting a long time for a later bus back to Doncaster. As it was, I only had a few minutes to wait.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hathersage Booths, Upper Padley, Grindleford, Leadmill, Offerton, Shatton, and Bamford

There was an unplanned change to my regular routine yesterday and so I forgot to buy anything to put up as sandwiches for today. So, this morning I would have to buy something during the walk; naturally this influenced where I decided to go. I opted for Hathersage Booths, and a quick walk down the track to Grindleford Station Café. It wasn't much of a quick march though; I lingered to take a lot of photographs.

The first one was taken in the car park of The Millstone pub, near to where the bus drops you off. (As can be seen, all of last week's snow has melted.)

The next one was further up the road, back towards the track which leads to Upper Padley, and the café.

I took plenty more photographs as I was walking along the track; I had to stop and turn round to take them; this was the only section of the walk where I was facing the sun. I've not included them here because they're pretty similar to first two though.

Padley Chapel was well illuminated by the sun low on the horizon and I experimented framing shots at unusual angles.

I soon arrived at the café and was re-assured to see smoke billowing out of the ramshackle chimney. I was looking forward to a Full English Breakfast. I was the fourth customer of the morning and so was able to sit close to the coal fire, only about 3ft away. I could certainly feel the heat; the flames were about 18 ins high. The rustic scene was completed by an old companion set, a selection of pokers, and a brass coal scuttle...I really did want to poke and riddle that fire.

It was only a short walk down the road to Grindleford,where I took a photograph of the church/chapel. The building is nothing special and so I never bothered before, but with the sun at a low angle casting very long shadows and the frost sparkling like jewels I had to give it a try. I'm very happy with the result.

I then walked across the fields alongside the river to reach Leadmill. I took dozens of photographs; here are my favourites.

I had to walk along a section of country road to reach the hamlet of Offerton,
but there was the compensation of having more lovely views to enjoy.

It was then an easy walk down to Shatton. I stopped to use what I've alway called a 'urinal tree.' - here's a picture I took, in case you don't know what I mean.

By now my legs were quite painful; my calf muscles, and the muscles at the back of my knee were constantly twitching. I wasn't worried though, I know what causes it - it's due to magnesium depletion. I've been taking magnox tablets and they're very effective - but they do give me a bit of diarrhoea at times and so I've been trying to manage without them.

(By the way, the other tablets that I need to take for my acid reflux problem are called 'proton pump inhibitors' - they also sound like they ought to be found in a nuclear power station.)

If the timing was right I would have popped into the tearooms at the High Peak Garden Centre. It wasn't though and so I walked straight to the bus stop.