Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's Been Longer Than A Fortnight

The last time I went walking in the Peak District was October 11th, two and a half weeks ago. I like to get out there most weeks, but I've just not been able to fit in a walk, and it might be another week until I have another opportunity.

There are several reasons why I don't go walking, the first one is when I've got other commitments such as meeting friends in town or visiting my parents, then there's the weather - I'm a fairweather walker, I don't like the wind and the rain...and I like to have good conditions for photography.

Another reason for not being able to go walking is that I often visit the theatre and this means that two days aren't available, the day when I actually go, and the following day; although once or twice I've been able to manage a local walk when I've not needed to catch a particularly early bus.

Today is a Thursday; I rarely go walking on Thursdays because it's the day my brother visits me and I meet up with friends in town. Saturdays and Sundays are my preferred days because I'm less likely to be doing anything else.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Derby and Bolsover

Although I regularly go walking in Derbyshire I think I've only once ever been to the city of Derby, over thirty years ago; so I thought I'd go for the day with Siobhan, my support worker, and see what I could remember...absolutely nothing at all as it turned out. I took plenty of photos though, it's been a lovely sunny day.

The first photograph was taken on the footbridge as we approached the Catholic cathedral, just at the moment when a strange hybrid Father Christmas walrus character was cycling towards us.

There are several old pubs in the city like this one.

The Anglican cathedral isn't much further. The ornate tomb of Bess of Hardwick is inside.

We then walked down to the Market Place and the main shopping area, looking for charity shops - no bargains today though.

We finished by spending a few minutes sitting at the riverside.

The plan was to then call back at Alfreton on our way home, more charity shops and tea and cake in a cafe. We ended driving three times round and through the town trying to find the car parks. There were signs for us to follow, but all of the car parks seemed to belong to supermarkets...and they were operating some sort of complicated voucher system, with the cost of parking redeemable inside the shop. Far too complicated I'm afraid, so we returned to the motorway and stopped at Bolsover, where I knew there was free parking. 

Unfortunately Bolsover was closed when we got there at three o'clock, or at least all four cafes were. We were desperate for tea and cake and so went in a pub and ordered a cup of tea and  apple and cherry crumble with cream, which was absolutely delicious.

We burned off some of the calories we had consumed by walking around the perimeter of the castle, just below the walls.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Steetley Quarry

A short walk with Marshall, my support worker who I see on Fridays. We parked the car in the lay-by just before the water tower at Warmsworth and walked down into Steetley Quarry, a quite steep and slippery descent in places.

I think the landscape in the quarry looks like the Badlands in South Dakota; here's an image I found online.

We then continued along the path and climbed up onto Conisbrough Viaduct; I struggled with my grip underfoot and had to find an easier, less steep, route on firmer ground - I wasn't wearing my walking boots. 

The visibility was significantly better than when I was here with Chris and Jonathan on Saturday.

We returned to the car, passing Warmsworth Water Tower.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Weather Forecasts

It's recently been reported that the Met Office has lost the contract to provide the weather forecasts for the BBC. No reason has been given, it will probably be financial, but if it turns out to be because of the poor standard of recent forecasts then I wouldn't be surprised.

In my experience this year has been particularly bad for the Met Office: I'm fortunate in that because I'm disabled and don't have to go out to work I can pretty much choose when I go walking, [I'd much rather have a job - but that's not relevant here] but I can recall cancelling a walk on at least four or five occasions and then being frustrated because the weather turned out to be much better than the forecast.

One particular trend I've noticed is how often the forecasts change, and change a lot, not just a bit of fine tuning - something that makes planning any outdoor activity difficult.

Let's hope the new provider of weather forecasting services for the BBC is able to do a better job. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Newark, Southwell, and Kelham Hall

A day out in Nottinghamshire with one of my support workers visiting two of my favourite towns, Newark and Southwell.

Newark has its castle, several Victorian arcades, pretty courtyards and alleyways, and a beautiful market place.

We ate our sandwiches in the castle grounds and then walked down to the Market Place and the shops. As usual we looked in all the charity shops; Sue Ryder seemed to be having some sort of sale - as many items as you could get in a large carrier bag for £9. I found nine items in my size; there was room for more, but nothing else would fit me. I came home with a suit, a Regatta fleece, A Slazenger top, two smart shirts, two sports shirts, and a pair of trousers....the best day's shopping I've ever done.

Southwell is rightly famous for its minster, but there are other reasons to visit the town, quirky independent shops, a workhouse that's open as a museum...and everything you might want to know about Bramley apples. Southwell is the home of Bramley apples and this week is the town's apple festival. There were apples in almost every shop window, irrespective of what was sold there...quite a bit of thought and care had been taken with incorporating the fruit into the regular window displays. Excellent!

On the way home we called in at Kelham Hall and Country Park, and weren't we glad we did. It's a lovely spot. The hall itself seems to be used by a number of separate businesses but there is limited access to the public. However, being a bit nosey as we are, myself and Siobhan went everywhere that we could reach on the ground floor; everyone said 'hello' to us and seemed to usher us in to every room - maybe they thought we were some sort of government inspectors. To be honest, it's a natural skill I have...and it's happened before. We were disappointed with the cafe's facilities...and so we told the chef on our way out.

We went for a short walk in the park and were joined by dozens of grey squirrels; they were everywhere.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sprotbrough And Conisbrough Viaduct With Chris And Jonathan

I've done this walk quite a few times but this was the first time for both Chris, my monthly summer Peak District walking companion from Leeds, and Jonathan, another friend from Leeds.

Chris is particularly interested in walking along the routes of abandoned railway lines and so the walk incorporating  climbing up to the the viaduct would be an ideal way for the three of us to spend a few hours as Chris' wife and her friend were going round the shops in Doncaster.

I met them all Doncaster Avoiding Lineat the railway station and then Chris, Jonathan, and myself walked along the river to Sprotbrough, where we called in the pub; Jonathan and Chris had meals but I only had a pot of tea and a soft drink...I would be eating later. 

En route we passed under two railway viaducts over the Don Gorge, one carrying the Doncaster Avoiding Line, and the other which is now only used as a cycle route; we also passed under the viaduct which carries the A1(M) motorway.

After leaving the pub at Sprotbrough we took the high level path through the woods, before returning down into the gorge. When we reached the viaduct Chris took the quickest, and steepest, route up, whereas Jonathan and myself took a longer but less steep route - I'd noticed he was beginning to struggle a bit by now after five of the day's six miles.

The views from the top were marred by poor visibility, hence no photographs.

Even though the viaduct is about a hundred foot above the river, we still had to climb higher to reach the road from where we caught the bus back into Doncaster; by now Jonathan had had enough.

Back in town we retreated into one of my favourite pubs; this time I had a meal whereas Chris and Jonathan only had a drink each.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sheffield Bus Partnership

On November 1st there are major changes to bus routes and timetables in Sheffield, the whole process is called the 'Sheffield Bus Partnership.'

There are two main changes which will affect me when travelling to the Peak District, one positive and one slightly negative. The negative change is service 272; at some times of the day it is taking a longer route in Sheffield and re-numbered as 271.

The other change is service 61/62 to Bradfield, a service I've not used before because it only operated from Hillsborough. It will now run from the city centre, Arundel Gate, not the Interchange though, but this means that there'll be a bus on this route every thirty minutes and a journey time if 30-40 minutes. On balance, not a bad deal I suppose.

When we switch over to GMT for the winter some services will naturally change to their winter timetables as they always do, but there won't be much of a reduction.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Moscar, Bradfield Moors, and Yorkshire Bridge

This walk was meant to be pretty much the same as I'd planned to do yesterday with my friend Chris from Leeds. Things didn't turn out quite as planned though.

I got of the bus at the county boundary and walked up the drive to Moscar Lodge and then across Lodge Moor to reach Sugworth Hall. I paused to take a few photographs inside the rhododendron tunnel; it's a unique place to walk.

The next place Boot's Follywhere I stopped to take pictures was Boot's Folly, just a couple of hundred yards away.

I then walked down to the top of Dale Dyke Reservoir and up the track at the other side of Strines Reservoir. When I reached the road the plan was for me to turn left and then take the logging track up onto the moors, however I noticed a sign indicating that there was a permissive footpath in  Bole Edge Plantation, and so I entered. This was to prove to be an interesting decision because a few minutes later I stumbled across something that I wasn't expecting at all just a few miles to the west of Sheffield; an encampment and training camp for some Doomsday survivalist cult by the look of it. I didn't dare go any closer; I was quite shocked and a bit unsettled. What I saw next shook me to the bone....until I ventured forward for a closer look. The overgrown and abandoned tombstones together with a man-sized crucifix and several strategically placed spades and half-dug graves turned out to be fake, made of plywood and plastic. Well that turned out to be a relief; I'm assuming it must be a long abandoned paintball arena, or some other roleplay experience...I'm hoping that's the case anyhow.

After leaving the plantation I eventually found myself on Bradfield Moors, just wandering aimlessly for about an hour. I seemed to have the entire moor to myself - the only locations I sought out were a couple of fairly substantial shooting huts where I imagine refreshments would be served. and a line of the best grouse butts I've ever seen. Each butt has a door,  a comfy bench to sit on, and a wooden floor. It seems that they all can be easily reached by vehicles too, so not too tiring a day for the shooting party.

I sat and finished off my sandwiches in butt number ten.

I looped my way round the moor and cut down another plantation where most of the trees had been felled and arrived on the road just below the Strines Inn. I stopped for a pot of tea; lunch smelled delicious but I didn't order.

I finished by walking along the road then took a footpath to reach the Ladybower Inn. I thought I'd only have a few minutes to wait for the bus. That turned out not to be the case; the timetable that I'd downloaded and printed out was the wrong one, either one that's out of date, or the new timetable which doesn't come into effect until the end of the month. I had over an hour to wait and so walked a bit further to Ladybower Reservoir. I suppose I could have continued down to the bus-stop at Bamford Station where there's a more frequent service but I was tired and had had enough for the day.

Friday, October 9, 2015

One Walk Abandoned, One Walk Postponed

Just a quick update; I've had to postpone a walk I'd planned for tomorrow and abandon today's short walk because of problems with my drains.

The plan for today was to go to Sprotbrough with Marshal, one of my support workers, do one of our regular strolls along the canal and find somewhere pleasant to eat our sandwiches, and then drive across the river and up out of the gorge to a lay-by on the Sheffield road where we were going to walk down into Steetley Quarry, an interesting location popular with mountainbikers. We'd finished our sandwiches and were on our way back to the car to drive to the second location when my mobile phone rang, it was the plumber calling to say he would be at my house in less than an hour to flush out my drains, which have been a bit sluggish for a few we returned to my house.

I've also had to postpone tomorrow's planned walk in the Peak District with Chris from Leeds because I need to be at home so that a new grate cover can be fitted.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hessle, Beverley, and Howden

A day out in the East Riding.

Another day out with Siobhan, my support worker; an opportunity for photography and bargains, and Yorkshire cream teas too.

We drove to Hessle and had a short walk along the foreshore to the whiting mill, and back - plenty of opportunities to photograph the Humber Bridge.

It was a bit too chilly to eat our sandwiches outside so we ate them in the car.

It was only a few miles to drive to Beverley where I wanted to specifically look for a charity shop which sells particularly inexpensive men's clothes...and good quality items too. After a bit of confusion we found it and I ended up buying seven items of clothing for £20.40...less than £3 each. I got a Regatta fleece, a St. Andrew's Golf Club official sweater which I particularly like, another sports fleece and a windproof top, and three smart shirts.

Beverley is a pleasant market town with a minster, and an even more impressive parish photographs of the churches didn't turn out too well so I haven't included them.

There are some streets, ginnels, and businesses with unusual names in Beverley; I think the barber lives in either North Cave or South Cave; two local villages.

There is also a building with paintings attached to the external walls; this painting of a naked woman caught my attention.

On the drive back to Howden we called at some tearooms at a farm shop at a pretty location at the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. This was the view from the car park.

Our day out finished at Howden, another pretty East Riding market town. By now it had clouded over and was drizzling a bit, so the photographs have been converted to monochrome.