Monday, August 29, 2016

Fox House, Hathersage, and Bamford

It's been a Bank Holiday today and with the combination of pretty much a regular weekday service on the trains and a Sunday service on the buses it meant that I was able to be up on the moors very early; I arrived at Fox House at 08:45.

I got off the bus and immediately headed towards Burbage Rocks across the heather.

 I walked along the top of the rocks, frequently stopping to admire the view and take photographs.

As I approached Upper Burbage Bridge I could see many dozens of cars in the car park and parked on the side of the road, in laybys, on grass verges, and even on the moors themselves...I have never seen so many cars here - this was to be a portend as to what would come later.

I found a comfortable rock to sit on and eat my sandwiches and then studied the map before I decided where to go next. I headed off down to Hathersage.

Just after I took this next photograph I discovered something quite shocking, disturbing, puzzling, and upsetting.

I was, and still am, a bit unsure about even posting this online, and might subsequently delete it.

As I was walking down towards Hathersage I found a dead rabbit at the side of the path. Two neat holes had been cut in its side, one circular and the other oval shaped; I thought it prudent not to take any photographs, and certainly not to post any on the blog...I even hid my camera away deep in my rucksack and didn't get it out again until I reached Hathersage.  The wounds to the rabbit were done in a very professional manner, they certainly weren't done by wild animals or caused by crude butchery; my best guess is that some sort of machine surgically removed the organs.

I put all of this to the back of my mind and made quick time to Hathersage, only stopping briefly to photograph Scraperlow, an unusual large house, making sure there was no-one around to see me with my camera.

On the approach to the main part of the village I needed to cross the main Sheffield road in order to reach the pavement on the other side; it was dangerous to walk along the grass verge at this location. In both directions there was a non-stop flow of traffic and it took me five minutes to reach the other side.

I popped in to The Scotsman's Pack for a pint of Diet Coke on my way to visit the church; the drink was very refreshing and the patio where I sat outside is quite pleasant.

There are some nice views on the way to Bamford.

As I was walking down a steep narrow lane my day got even stranger. I had to step aside to let a large tractor pass; bizarrely it was pulling a large cage with about a dozen loud, raucous, probably drunk, well-dressed woman sitting on make-shift wooden benches...they might have even been shackled. When they saw me they all waved and yelled; I waved back - maybe they'd never seen a sweaty hiker before.

I arrived at the bus stop at Bamford fifteen minutes before the bus was due but one arrived almost immediately; it was the earlier bus that was forty five minutes late due to the heavy traffic.

I got on, of course.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ladybower Reservoir In The Rain

I was walking with Maureen and Chris from Leeds today; normally Jonathan would have been joining us, but his mum's in hospital at the moment and he's been visiting her.

This was my first walk since my diabetes diagnosis and needing to take tablets to lower my blood sugar level and I was glad not to be walking on my own...just in case I might have felt a bit unwell.

Fortunately I felt fine today. I wasn't happy about the weather though; it was forecast to stay bright until teatime - but by midday the rain had started and seemed to be set for the day.

It was actually quite bright when I got off the bus at Fox House. It wasn't long until Maureen and Chris arrived in the car and we drove past Bamford and up the Derwent Valley until we reached one of the free car parking areas with a vacant space.

We walked around the reservoir in a clockwise direction, keeping as close to the shoreline as possible.

Something very rare for the blog; a photograph of me, looking miserable in the rain, taken by Maureen.

As we were walking back along the road, only a few hundred yards from the car, the 273 bus passed us on its way to Yorkshire Bridge. I knew it would only be about twenty minutes until it would be returning up the valley on its way back to Sheffield and so bade goodbye to my friends and waited for my ride in a nice warm bus.

When I got on the bus I was a little bit surprised to see many walkers on it so early in the afternoon. Like me, they must have given up on the weather and decided to go home, at least a couple of them complaining about the weather forecast.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


A few hours in Nottingham today. I went in the car with Siobhan; we visited the Lace Market district, a part of the city I haven't previously visited. I usually go to the area where the castle is.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I've Been Diagnosed With Diabetes

I went to see the doctor this morning and was informed that I've got type II diabetes. Fortunately, at the moment anyhow, it can be kept in check with tablets, taking exercise, and watching what I eat.

I feel good, far too good for anyone with diabetes, so I might end up in even better health if my diabetes is kept under control. Appointments with the specialist diabetes nurse, at the eye clinic at the hospital, and with the dietitian need to be arranged...oh, and the chemist is going to call me next week because I'm newly diagnosed. 

I was told by the doctor to continue with my regular walking activities...well, except for the cake and the cream teas. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Foolow, Grindlow, Great Hucklow, Windmill, and Castleton

It's only been a couple of days since my last walk in the Peak District, but the weather has been good today...and I'm feeling good too. I'm really enjoying my extra stamina and increased level of fitness since I started taking the vitamin D supplement...and I've lost 9lbs and at least an inch round my waistline. I'm on fire!

As usual, when I got off the bus at Foolow there were several cars parked close to the duck pond, spoiling the view of the church and the nearby buildings. I did my best though to get some decent angles.

For the first time I managed to look inside the tiny church, a converted blacksmith's shop.

I walked across the fields to Grindlow where I sat on this bench and ate my sandwiches. It was a bit early, but it saves carrying them I guess.

It was only a short walk along the road to Great Hucklow, where I took photographs of The Manse and giant spiders scuttling across the gable end of an old farmhouse.

Just beyond the village I discovered a lovely grassy footpath which runs parallel to the road; previously I've walked along the road, which is quite narrow in places. Sometimes the path opened up to reveal larger spaces of grassland with fantastic views to the north. An information panel explained that all these areas are the remains of old mine workings.

I quickley passed through the hamlet of Windmill and then went down the lane which leads to High Rake Mine. There are quite substantial ruins here; unfortunately the underground passages are fenced off though.

Tideslow Rake is quite an interesting landscape, and is the largest in the Peak District; it's a bit of a climb to get to the top, near to the transmitter mast.

The final few miles to Castleton were along stretches of road, across high limestone grassland and tracks constructed using limestone chippings...which can be painful to walk on after a while.

I caught the three o'clock bus back to Sheffield. About thirty minutes later, as it was climbing up the hill from Hathersage, three separate alarms sounded...they were very loud. The driver got out of the bus at the top of the hill at Fox House and checked everything he could on the vehicle - the alarms were still sounding even with the engine switched off.

He tried to contact the depot by radio, but he couldn't reach them. A rather rude passenger waiting to be let on asked what the problem was; it turned out to be an overheating engine and brakes.

The driver decided to let the waiting passengers on and proceed with caution down the hill to Sheffield. The journey was slow and the engine was misfiring and backfiring as we juddered forward; this uncomfortable motion probably compensating for the fact that the brakes might not be working.

A few miles later at Whirlow, we came into radio range and the driver was able to contact the depot; the highlight of the conversation was, 'there's a flame lit up and flashing on the dashboard...I'm not sure what it means.'

Sunday, August 21, 2016

From Moscar To Within Two Miles Of Sheffield City Centre

I bought a couple of pairs of 'action trousers' [that's what it actually says on the labels] from a charity shop at Otley last week, for £2 a pair. I wore one pair today; they are very useful because of the number of pockets fastened by zips or velcro where I can stow the things I need ready at hand; pen and paper, loose change, compass, mobile phone...and chocolate.

Well...the trousers saw a bit of action today, a ten mile walk across the moors and down towards the city centre, getting wet and muddy as I was soaked during a heavy rain shower and then later sank up to my knees in a peat bog. I was happy with them though, they were quite comfortable, very practical and should  keep me warm during the winter.

I ended up missing my stop at the start of the walk. A woman got up out of her seat and pressed the buzzer; I assumed she was getting off at the same stop as me, Moscar Lodge, but she didn't; she wanted the next stop but had got up early, not knowing exactly where she was. So the bus went straight by my stop and I had to walk back along the road to the footpath. I wasn't really concentrating though, I was busy putting on my cagoule and distracted by her shapely legs and very short skirt; I blame the vitamin D tablets and my increasing testosterone levels for this.

It was drizzling as I approached the northern end of Stanage Edge only a few minutes after getting off the bus; visibility at times wasn't too bad though and I could see pretty well all the way to the horizon.

Along the top of Stanage Edge there's a series of numbers and channels cut into some of the rocks; these were made in the nineteenth century and are drinking troughs for grouse. Maybe as an hommage to one of my favourite films, Drowning By Numbers , I don't really know, but I decided to photograph every drinking trough I noticed, and did manage to shoot most of them along the section of the Edge that I walked along.

These two images were the be honest, most of the photographs looked very similar, and not very interesting to look at.

By this time a heavy rain shower was overhead and so I took shelter in an old abandoned shepherd's shelter not too far away. Further on there's a renovated roofed shelter for the climbers on the Edge to use, I think the funding and the labour was provided by the British Mountaineering Council...I might well be wrong though. 

About fifteen minutes I saw a large group of hikers approaching across the moor and noticed that they didn't seem to be struggling too much. I assumed they were using a path and so set off in that direction. All the moors around here are Access Land and so we're free to wander as we please.

As I hoped the path led to Stanedge Pole. I'm using the official Ordnance Survey spelling, but as you'll see on the next two photographs, the recently added plaque at the base of the Pole spells it as 'Stanage Pole.'

I walked down the track towards Redmires Reservoirs but took a path that I've not used before across the moors to Fulwood Lane, where it was only a short walk to the head of the Porter Valley and an easy walk down to the end of the walk at Endcliffe Park. I stopped at Forge Dam Cafe for tea and a fruited scone and had a quick look inside The Shepherd Wheel, a restored working watermill, which hasn't been open on previous occasions when I've been here. There isn't much to look at.

There wasn't much opportunity today for me to soak up some sunshine and have my body produce some vitamin D, it was raining or cloudy most of the time. It probably wouldn't have made that much difference if had been sunny though because the nurse at the surgery reckons that my hair is too thick, so thick that no sunlight can reach my scalp, the area where most people produce their supply of vitamin D. She says that I'd need to strip down to just my shorts and have as much of my body exposed as possible. She might have been joking, I don't know. I will not be walking the streets of Doncaster in a semi-naked state though.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chatsworth House Garden

It's seven weeks since my last visit to Chatsworth House, so I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed in the garden.

Unfortunately the garden wasn't looking at its best; a couple of places, in prominent locations, were looking more like building sites as some large scale pieces of installation art were being erected...spoiling the famous iconic vistas of the building's fa├žade. I still got a few decent photographs though.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Otley and Ilkley

A trip in the car with Siobhan, my support worker, to two pretty Yorkshire towns. Ilkley is by far the better known, being a popular spa town, whereas Otley is merely a small market town. Despite this I much preferred Otley, and all but the last photograph were taken there.

I've previously visited both towns, but only as a base for walking; climbing up Otley Chevin or Ilkley Moor, and so had never really taken the time to explore them. It's many years since Siobhan had been to Ilkley [to an exhibition of watercolours in the Winter Garden] and she'd never been to Otley before.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bamford, Thornhill, Hope, and Castleton

After hiking up to the top of Mam Tor last week I did another 1,000ft climb in the Peak District today. It was the 'Glorious Twelfth' yesterday, the start of the short grouse shooting season and some areas of access land are closed for a few days at this time of year; so I chose a route staying well away from them - an ascent of Win Hill.

Before boarding the bus I spent a few pleasant minutes at Sheffield Bus Station exchanging tales of our various vitamin D treatment regimes with some fellow walkers; we all agreed how wonderful vitamin D is and how quick you begin to notice the improvement in your health and fitness.

I got off the bus at the bus turnaround at Bamford Station, took the track that leads to Thornhill and then continued uphill to reach the high level path to the summit of Win Hill. There are some lovely views of Bamford Edge and the Ladybower reservoir on the way up; unfortunately the weather was quite murky and it remained like that, with the exception of the few minutes I spent at Castleton at the end of the walk.

It was windy and quite cold at the summit of Win Hill; there were several people at the top, one or two of them looking like they ought to have been wearing more really was quite unpleasant.

I made a steady descent down to Hope, arriving at the Old Hall Tearooms to coincide with the lunch break in the cricket at The Oval. I had a pot of tea and a Bakewell tart; I did notice that the public toilets are still out of order - come on High Peak Borough Council...get your act together.

On the way down to the village I walked through some lovely areas of heather moorland with distance views of the Great Ridge on the horizon.

I walked along the bottom of the valley to Castleton and arrived with about fifty minutes to wait for the bus; plenty of time to rush round and take a few photographs.

During the bus journey back to Sheffield a large woman with very long, fat, heavy, bedecked and matted carrot-root dreadlocks boarded at Bradwell. She sat in the seat directly in front of me and kept messing with her hair, several times sweeping back her dreadlocks in my direction, the bottom few inches landing on my lap...and on one occasion my penis was hit quite hard by one of the baubles she was wearing.

To be honest I didn't know how to handle the situation, thinking about it now I genuinely think this could have counted as sexual assault...but at this moment, sitting safely at home, I'm able to be smiling about what happened. She looked like some sort of monster from a science fiction maybe it was all a set-up and I was being secretly filmed for a surreal tentacle porn parody film and I'm the star...and the cheque will be in the post on Monday.

You've got to laugh...or else you'll cry.