Friday, January 29, 2016

Walker's Show Gardens, Blaxton

It's been lovely weather this afternoon, so Marshall, my support worker, suggested a trip out to the airport, and then Walker's Show Gardens. We ate our sandwiches in the car, parked up with a good view of the runway and saw a private jet take off and a scheduled flight land. We then moved on to the gardens, one of my favourite places on a sunny afternoon.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Two Major Walking Accidents

Over the years I've had many falls, trips, slips, and tumbles when out walking, resulting in nothing more than minor cuts and bruises. I've also been bitten and stung a fair amount too, but I wouldn't class these as accidents. 

I have had two major accidents though, one of which required hospital treatment...and I still suffer with the symptoms of that fall today,  thirty years later.

The first of these accidents, and by far the more serious, happened when I fell a couple of hundred foot down into Bretton Clough, near Eyam. It's a steep grassy slope that I was attempting to descend too quickly and I lost my footing and tumbled, rolled, and bounced almost to the bottom. I ended up with a combined sprain and twist of the left ankle. During the fall my left walking boot came off my foot; my ankle was so swollen that I couldn't get it back on but fortunately I was out walking with my brother and a couple of friends and they managed to get me safely to the bus stop at Hathersage, about two miles away.

The next morning when I woke up I noticed that my ankle had swollen up to the size of a football and so my mum called for an ambulance. I was taken to Mexborough Montagu Hospital for an x-ray and the radiologist said it was the worst combined twist and sprain he'd ever seen. He wasn't wrong; I still suffer with occasional pain and mild swelling...usually when the weather's cold and damp. 

My other serious walking injury happened only a couple of years ago when I was walking down a well-maintained bridleway, recently re-surfaced. I suppose that was the problem, the limestone chippings hadn't been bedded in, just evened out. There was a lot of surface water flowing over the path and I somehow managed to set off a mini rockfall, sliding several yards downhill until I fell down on to my left knee, skimming across the sharp chippings for several more yards.

My trousers were shredded, and so was my knee; blood was everywhere and pieces of skin were hanging loose. It was painful for a few minutes, but I knew that no serious damage was done. I was able to continue my walk, stopping off at the Hassop Station Cafe on the Monsal Trail to clean myself up in the toilets there...and to have a pot of tea with plenty of sugar to calm my nerves. To this day my left kneecap has a lovely crss-cross tartan design on the skin.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

High Bradfield, Low Bradfield, and Malin Bridge

A return to the Bradfield area today, visiting three of the local reservoirs.

I was glad to get off the bus, the engine was making a high pitched screaming or squealing noise that seemed to bounce about inside my head and churn my bowels and stomach. I paused to take some photographs of the church at High Bradfield, and some nearby buildings before heading in a westerly direction towards Agden Reservoir.

A few yards beyond the churchyard and I got my first view of the first reservoir of the day.

There was a steep descent down to the reservoir and then a very pleasant walk right next to the water, initially a gravel path, but later on just a footpath through the woods. I lost the main route of the footpath and ended up having to actually walk in the water and then crawl through a gap that had been made in some railings.

After walking along the track for a few minutes, passing several joggers and dog walkers, I arrived at a bird village consisting of at least a dozens feeders and nesting boxes. There was a seat to enjoy the view. It was early, but I was hungry and so ate my sandwiches and then took photographs and a short video of the birds; they seemed to be the prettier species, robins, finches, and tits.

Here's a link to the video. You can see the different types of birds.

Not much further along there was an impressive group of waterfalls tumbling out of pipes passing under a bridge.

I took a couple of short videos at this spot.

I then had to walk along the road for a few hundred yards before taking a path that led me down a pretty and comfortable grassy bank. There was another short section of road, very short this time though, before I found the concessionary path goes along the northern bank of Dale Dyke Reservoir. Only a few dozen steps later I found the memorial plaque for the victims of the Great Sheffield Flood.

Although I've never lived in Sheffield, I've never lived that far away from the city, and I've always known about the 'Sheffield Flood.' When myself and my brother were children and either of us needed to go for a pee, a pee which took a long time, my mother would shout up the stairs, "It's like Sheffield Flood up there!" 

Just beyond the plaque I had to make a decision; to stay on the northern bank and walk all the way around the reservoir or take the path that goes at the bottom of the dam and work my way back towards Bradfield, Low Bradfield this time. I decided to take the shorter route, and was really glad I did because within minutes I stumbled upon a couple of mysteries - they are mysteries to me, but probably aren't mysteries at all to anyone who knows anything about reservoirs and water supply.

The first mystery was at the bottom of the spillway where I noticed some solar panels had been installed to power some orange-coloured underwater fluorescent lighting.

A few minutes later my next mystery appeared; parallel straight lines of bubbles in the water. To me it looked like some pipes might have been laid on the floor of the reservoir to let air oxygenate the water. They look like lanes at swimming baths.

I climbed up through woodland to reach the road that goes down to Low Bradfield, where I had a chocolate break sitting at one of the picnic tables next to the old bridge.

I passed even  more joggers and dog walkers as I walked along the southern shore of Damflask Reservoir, my third reservoir of the day. The walk was completed by me walking along the Loxley Valley back to Malin Bridge; there are several derelict mills and factories along the way...which I took the time to explore.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bowels and Bakewell

My bowels have been loose and precarious for the last few days and so I limited myself to a few hours at Bakewell today, taking photographs and having a nice meal I was able to dress smart for the occasion and so didn't feel uncomfortable going in any of the shops or pubs. Of course, I wouldn't be too far from a toilet if I needed one, but I only went the once...pretty normal that.

Plenty of photographs today; the weather was excellent all day, much better than forecast.

I've also uploaded a couple of short videos to my YouTube channel, taken down by the river. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Owler Bar, Longshaw Estate, Upper Padley, and Hathersage Booths

I woke up before six o'clock this morning and so made an early start for the railway station. I arrived at Sheffield at 08:15 and wasn't sure what buses would be due. It turned out that I'd have to wait for forty five minutes for the next bus from the bus station; my other option was to walk up the hill to Arundel Gate and catch either the Bradfield or Lodge Moor bus. I didn't fancy either, I'd been to Bradfield only last month, and the Lodge Moor would be teeming with schoolchildren at this time.

So I waited, and looked at my map. My plan was to travel to Owler Bar and walk across the moors towards Fox House.

There's nothing much for a walker at Owler Bar, just a couple of pubs, a complicated roundabout system for traffic to negotiate...and some rather bleak  and featureless moorland...and no handy footpaths, no dramatic views, no interesting rock features. As soon as I got off the bus I noticed frost on the ground, the first I'd seen this winter. I've not had any frost in my back garden near to Doncaster town centre - in fact, my geraniums are still flowering. I few minutes later, up on the moors I experienced my first snow of the winter too.

I walked along the road for a few minutes and then entered access land at the earliest opportunity. There was a welcome sign and a gate, but the path soon petered out and I found myself crossing bogland and dense heather. It was at this moment when it snowed. I quickly found a large rock down in a hollow; ideal for providing a bit of shelter. Here's a photograph of a nearby rock...which had more snow on it.

I made my way to the Longshaw Estate at Wooden Pole via Flask Edge and Lady's Cross. I was quite desperate for the toilets when I reached the Information Centre; some days my anti-diarrhoea tablets don't seem to work - fortunately most days they do work though. 

It's not far from here to the start of Padley Gorge from here. Walking alongside Burbage Brook I could see how much water was flowing in it and knew that the sight of large amounts of water tumbling over the rocks in the gorge would be spectacular. I wasn't disappointed by  the loud roaring sound, and the spray and foam caused by the water crashing into, and over, the rocks, but I was very disappointed with my photographs; I'm hopeless at photographing waterfalls or fast flowing water. I know I need to stop and manually set the camera, but it's all just too fiddly for me, especially with cold hands.

I descended Padley Gorge on the opposite side to what I normally do; it's slightly more difficult underfoot, but the views down into the gorge are much better. 

I arrived at Grindleford Station Cafe at Upper Padley just before one o'clock but was still able to order a large cooked breakfast and a pint of tea.

Here are some photographs of Upper Padley, all taken after I'd left the cafe. They are; a private house called 'Nearenough Cottage', The Old Mill, and Padley Chapel.

The weather quickly started to cloud over and get a few degrees colder, so I cut short the walk at Hathersage Booths. The bus stop is right outside the Millstone Pub.

The pub's car park is across the road; there are some stunning views of the Hope Valley and tables and chairs are set out on a grassy area; I'm assuming that drinks, and maybe even meals bought from the pub, can be consumed here.

Although not a long walk at all, according to my pedometer I did over 28,000 steps today. I did some research online and this is four times the number of steps the average US or UK man takes in a day. When I'm not walking in the Peak District, or wherever, I normally do just about six thousand steps.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

From the Archives: Bradfield

Bradfield is made up of the two separate villages of High and Low Brasdfield. Since the bus routes in Sheffield were re-organised in October I'm now able to reach here by bus from the city centre, and have already made this journey once and will be hoping to explore this part of the Peak District much more as springtime approaches: there are several reservoirs in the area to walk around  and areas of high moorland are nearby.

The photograph was taken at High Bradfield, right next to the church. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

From the Archives: Bolsover

The main reason I went to Bolsover was to visit the castle. I had an English Heritage membership that year and so took the opportunity to visit as many of their properties as possible. Although, like most castles in England, Bolsover Castle is a ruin, most of the ruins actually date from the seventeenth century, and not the mediaeval period.. The photograph depicts the 'Little Castle' the only part of the castle that isn't a ruin. It's lavishly decorated inside with themes of an adult nature.

I also walked across the valley to visit Scarsdale Hall, a ruined, or maybe just roofless, stately home.

Monday, January 4, 2016

From the Archives: Beauchief Abbey

Beauchief Abbey is situated five miles south west of Sheffield city centre and easy to reach by bus, not being far from Abbeydale Road where buses pass every few minutes. The abbey is surrounded by well tended parkland and is easy walking. I didn't go inside, it seemed to be closed. My walk that day started at Fox House and I planned to finish at Millhouses Park, a couple of miles beyond the abbey, but ended up on the wrong side of the river [and railway tracks] walking through woodland.