Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Great Hucklow, Bretton, Highcliffe, Eyam, Stoney Middleton, Calver, Bubnell, and Baslow

The bus was ten minutes late leaving Sheffield Interchange this morning; this was the first time in a long while I can remember TM Travel letting me down. The driver managed to make up a few minutes though by the time I got off at Great Hucklow - there's plenty of slack in the timetable.

Several local residents were busily putting up the final few of the Christmas trees that will line the entire length of the main road through the village. I counted twenty three already in place, some of them decorated; when everything's finished it will be spectacular to look at. It will probably rival the lights at Castleton; Great Hucklow isn't a touristy village though, there's only the pub to visit.

I climbed up through Great Hucklow Wood to the road, which was closed to traffic because of a recent landslip, continued along the path that goes past the ruins of Silence Mine and then followed a different road to Bretton where I sat and ate my sandwiches on the grassed area across the road from The Barrel Inn. There's a rather difficult to read toposcope placed here to help you appreciate the wonderful view you're looking at. 

I followed the road round to Highcliffe, a hamlet high above Eyam, and then took a slightly different route than on previous occasions down to the village.

In Eyam there's always plenty of colour in the garden at Plague Cottage, not all of it is plastic.

It's a lovely walk over the hill to Stoney Middleton. As I was approaching the village I heard the noise of loud engines and looked up to catch sight of a large low flying military transport aeroplane and a twin rotor heavy lift helicopter.

I had time to take some photographs of the unusual octagonal church and some of the pretty cottages, but not the aircraft.

I continued down to the River Derwent south of Froggatt, there was the best view of the day looking north towards Stoke Hall.

There's a riverside nature reserve at New Bridge to the north of Calver; I stopped to read a couple of interesting display boards about brook lampreys and great crested newts.

The caravan site at Calver is still flooded, and the water frozen over, but everywhere I walked today was fine.

The final stretch of the walk was following the course of the river to Bubnell and finally to the bus stop at Cavendish Bridge. At Bubnell there was more military activity in the sky, this time two large black ops helicopter gunships; they looked, and sounded, very threatening...somewhat out of place in the Peak District.

I found myself walking into the sun for most of the time today; I really should have done the walk in the other direction, but this wasn't possible because of the timing of the buses.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cutthroat Bridge, Bamford, Thornhill, and Brough

I caught the first available bus to the Peak District from Sheffield this morning, the 273 bus to Castleton. I got off at Cutthroat Bridge, walked along the verge for a few hundred yards and then took the track which leads across Acess Land to the grouse butts on Bamford Moor.

Throughout the day the weather was far better than yesterday; it was only sunny for about an hour though, fortunately when I had the best views as I was looking down to Ladybower Reservoir and Ashopton Viaduct from Bamford Edge, but it wasn't misty, even when it was quite overcast at times.

This first photograph was taken just as the sun was starting to break through the clouds; I'm pointing the camera at where I've just been.

I spent about five minutes waiting for the sun to come out again at the next location, my first proper sight of the reservoir. It remained cloudy, so I moved on.

Maybe only ten minutes later and I was bathed in lovely bright sunshine; the views were magnificent; I think I struggled with the camera a bit though; the photographs seem a bit flat. Although it can't be seen on the photographs, when I was standing here I was able to see my first snow of the winter, a few remaining patches in the deepest and highest up of the gullies near to the top of Kinder Scout on the horizon.

I arrived at the road which climbs up from Bamford and then walked down Bamford Clough, a steep track with a lot of loose stones and debris from a concrete path which was laid many years ago. At both the top and the bottom the route had been blocked at one time; I could easily get past the obstructions...but it means that mountainbikers and off-road motorcyclists are prevented from going this way - probably a good idea.

I popped into the community cafe in Bamford, which shares the building with The Angler's pub, also owned and managed by the local community. I was tempted by the cream tea, costing only £2.85.  I decided to let the metformin tablets do a bit of work for me today; I had hardly any sugar at all yesterday, I ate mainly roast vegetables. I've walked at least ten miles on my two walks this weekend and so the calories won't do too much harm either...I don't want to be losing weight too quickly anyhow.

I crossed over the River Derwent using the bridge and the stepping stones at Bamford Mill.

It was only a short walk across the fields to Thornhill; as I passed the Primitive Methodist Chapel I noticed how primitive indeed they are, or were then, the letter 'Z' on the inscription is written back-to-front.

It was a steady walk downhill to the main Hope Valley trunk road. Yet again my path was blocked, this time it was just probably someone being thoughtless...I just walked straight over it.

I decided to catch the bus back to Sheffield from the bus shelter at Brough and I didn't have long to wait.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nostell Priory Parkland Walk

The title of today's post was originally meant to be lot longer and feature my visit to the Christmas Craft and Secondhand Book Fair but this was so disappointing that it only lasted for a few seconds. I literally just stepped inside the single room where it was being held, turned round and stepped out again a few seconds later. There were only about a dozen tables there, no stalls or events at all; to say that it was organised by the National Trust it was pathetic - I was expecting a lot more, a lot more to see and do. I did use the toilets though, after a journey of nearly ninety minutes on the bus from Doncaster I needed to go. 

The bus stop was just across the road from one of sets of wrought iron entrance gates into the park. Immediately on the right there's a church, the parish church of the nearby village of Wragby.

It then took my a few minutes to walk to the stable block where the fair was being held.

In one of the buildings there were a few equestrian exhibits to look at.

It's a short walk up to the house; yes, Nostell Priory is a large country house - there used to be a priory on this site in the Middle Ages.

Although it stayed dry and was mild it remained quite misty all the time I was walking in the parkland. I managed to stretch out my walk to about three miles, covering all the parts of the estate which were open. 

At the furthest point from the house there's a structure called The Obelisk, or The Needle's Eye; it used to be the main entrance used by coaches.

I'd returned to the main gates within a couple of hours, I'd seen everything there was to see. I crossed the road and caught a bus which was just about due. It only went as far as South Elmsall but I was able to catch a train back to Doncaster - the timing was convenient.

A rather disappointing day today, both the fair and the weather; I still had a few hours out of the house and got a bit of exercise though. I'm hoping for better weather tomorrow so that I can go walking in the Peak Distriict...I've already prepared my sandwiches.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas 2016 At Chatsworth House

An early start to Christmas, before it gets too busy; this year's theme at Chatsworth House is 'The Nutcracker,' my favourite ballet.

I arrived at Sheffield quite early and immediately caught the bus to Baslow so that I could walk through Chatsworth Park at a leisurely pace and arrive at the house not too long before it opens for the day.

Just before entering the park there's a pretty row of thatched cottages which I've photographed before...however, I don't think I've included a shot of this cottage, just a few yards further on.

I was careful to stick to the tarmac and gravel paths; I didn't want to have muddy shoes. The route I chose stayed well away from the areas that had recently been flooded.

The large main entrance gates at Chatsworth House were opened a few minutes early and we were allowed to wait inside a temporary wooden hallway constructed in the courtyard. I was standing in a different area to everyone else and felt a bit self-conscious; I'm a 'Silver Friend of Chatsworth [a season ticket holder] and some people seemed to think I was a guide and was going to be taking them round the house. This misapprehension was heightened when the woman checking their tickets, who was herself only a volunteer, kept asking me to confirm what she was saying. I must have a natural look of authority about me.

Once I'd stepped inside the house, the first room, like most of the others, was magical; a totally different experience to the other times I've visited. Throughout the house there are dozens of brightly lit and decorated Christmas trees, seven thousand wooden toy soldiers [every one wearing a moustache as far as I could tell], plenty of simple wooden toys to play with, delicate snowflakes of all sizes, an enchanted forest, a giant cake, mice, cheese, clocks and clockwork contraptions, sweets scattered everywhere...and a couple a real-life ballerinas dancing and posing...and answering questions about The Nutcracker. Oh, and of course, the wonderful music by Tchaikovsky piped into most rooms; except for a couple where there were sound effects associated with the story.


I then had a look round the Christmas Market. There was so much delicious food to tempt me; I resisted everything except the game pie.

Because a one-way system of traffic management was in operation the buses weren't driving up to the front of the house as usual, so I had to walk over to the bus stop at Edensor Gates. The bus arrived on time; the driver had to perform a difficult reversing movement on the narrow road before waiting a few minutes before continuing to Bakewell. I stayed in Bakewell for a couple of hours until it started drizzling.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Doncaster, Bessacarr, and Loversall

I woke up quite late again this morning after a night out, in Doncaster this week; so a rainy start to the day wasn't going to be problem; I had time to have breakfast before the weather cleared up later in the morning and I set off for another local walk...starting from my front door again.

I walked down my street and took a short cut through the estate to the football ground and Doncaster Lakeside before joining the Doncaster Greenway until I reached Bessacarr.

At Bessacarr I found the correct bridleway, which immediately meant I had to use a manually operated level crossing across the Doncaster to Lincoln railway line; it's nothing complicated...just two gates to open and close.

A few hundred yards later the bridleway crosses over the East Coast Main Line, a multi-track, very busy high speed intercity line with overhead electrical wires, obviously presenting a few problems for people on horseback.

Anyhow...this is the solution; it's most likely the most costly-to-build footbridge I've ever used.

The next section of my walk went alongside the M18 motorway, which fortunately is well screened by trees, and then across a rather unattractive area of land near to where what I think is the new National College For High Speed Rail is being built.

The approach to Loversall was quite pleasant along a country lane, and Loversall itself is a pretty little village.

There were about a dozen young men mowing the grass and tending the graves in the churchyard. When the supervisor noticed me taking photographs he asked me if I wanted to look inside the church. He had the keys and so opened it up for me and gave me a brief talk about the building and its history - he was a local man.

As I left the village I crossed the road to check the bus timetable at the bus stop and then plan what I'd do next. A bus back into town was due in six minutes so I just stood where I was and waited for it. It actually arrived a couple of minutes early.