Wednesday, May 30, 2018


A trip to Harrogate today with my support worker. The weather was miserable and the floral displays in the town were very disappointing...but the Wetherspoon's pub, The Winter Gardens, was an unexpected pleasant surprise: it's the best Wetherspoon's I've visited by a long way.

The first photograph I took features a shop which seems to appeal to two different groups of clientele.

Now back to The Winter Gardens though.

We spent most of our time in the Montpellier area looking in the antiques shops, galleries and quirky independent shops and boutiques.

The parish church isn't very old but it's quite attractive inside.

Cream teas were required before we set off back home...but ice cream wasn't needed, and wasn't available.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Fairholmes, Alport Castles, and Ladybower Inn

I got off the bus at Fairholmes, took some photographs at one of the nearby viewpoints and then headed straight up through the woods to the Lockerbrook Outdoor Centre.

From here I continued over Rowlee Pasture to reach Alport Castles. I love Rowlee Pasture, it's easy walking and the views are very good.

Alport Castles is the largest landslip in the United Kingdom.

I left the area of the landslip and walked across Birchenlee Pastures and then down through the pine plantation to reach the road at the bottom of the valley which goes next to the shoreline of all three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley, first Howden Reservoir, then Derwent Reservoir, and finally Ladybower Reservoir. The road's closed to traffic at weekends and so I only had to be watchful of cyclists - who seemed to be especially careless and reckless today knowing that they wouldn't come across any vehicles.

At one particularly attractive spot I sat on a shady bank and spent far too long trying to observe if the sheep were eating the bluebells...and I still don't know.

South of Fairholmes the road is always open but the compensation is that there's a lovely footpath which goes much closer to the water's edge.

I arrived at the Ladybower Inn with plenty of time for a glass of Diet Coke. This is the first time I've visited the pub; it seemed to be quite busy with a lot of people ordering food.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sykehouse, Topham, Pollington, West Cowick, Snaith, East Cowick, and Thorne

A reduced service on the trains today due to more industrial action and so I travelled on the bus to Sykehouse, one of the villages to the north of Doncaster.

I got off the bus before it reached the main part of the village; it waits for several minutes here and so I decided to start the walk a bit early and straight away headed down the lane to Topham. Just beyond Topham it was snowing may blossom, a wonderful experience for me - I just need for a grand Strauss waltz to be playing on the radio to make it perfect....and someone to dance with of course! I'd just tuned in to listen to the pre-amble to the cricket on Test Match Special but immediately switched it off and put my transistor radio back in my pocket. I wanted to enjoy the moment and not hear former players explaining the intricacies of reverse swing, which end Jimmy Anderson should be bowling from, and what cakes and pies would be served up for the commentary team during the luncheon break...a couple of minutes later I was lapping it all up though and looking forward to Geoffrey Boycott's theories about what's gone wrong. [Sorry about a bit of indulgence here, but I love cricket...and Test Match Special is something I very rarely miss. I listen to it on many of my walks, even if I don't usually mention it.]

I crossed over the River Went and briefly entered North Yorkshire until I reached the East Riding of Yorkshire only a few minutes later. 

Next up was the Aire and Calder Canal.

I only entered the eastern outskirts of Pollington and there was nothing to see until I approached West Cowick. At the entrance to the village there's a shooting centre where there was a festival being held today - there seemed to be a lot of people attending who were riding motorbikes with three wheels.

Snaith is pretty, but it's a very small more than two dozen shops I suppose.

It was a pleasant walk along a bridleway to East Cowick and then it should have been an easy route south to Thorne. Things don't always go to plan though; where on the map it looked like there ought to be a pedestrian underpass to enable me to cross beneath the M62 motorway there was merely a dead end, resulting in an extra couple of miles being added to today's mileage tally. This has happened to me before and I wish there was a way for Ordnance Survey to indicate this on their maps.

After doing my detour along the road I walked along the canal towpath for a mile or so and then made my way back to Thorne to catch the bus using stretches of road or walking right alongside the River Don where there was a footpath.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Favourite Places in Nottinghamshire

Although most of my blogposts are about my walks in the Peak District I still regularly visit neighbouring Nottinghamshire, either to go walking, or for trips out in the car with Siobhan, my support worker.
Blyth: Although it's only just over the county boundary and easy to get to I only recently visited Blyth for the first time. The central area is very photogenic, there's a village green, an impressive parish church which used to be an abbey, a large mediaeval building that I'm not sure what it is, and a couple of large, old pubs.
Chesterfield Canal: I've walked along the canal from West Stockwith, where it joins the River Trent, to the county boundary near Thorpe Salvin...not all in one go though. My favourite section goes from Gringley-on-the-Hill to Retford.
Clumber Park: An obvious choice; very popular, and family friendly. An easy, pleasant walk around the lake. Strangely enough, no-one's mobile phone seems to work here.
Everton: A pretty village on the road to Gainsborough.
Gringley-on-the-Hill: A few miles east of Everton. A pretty hilltop village which reminds me of my favourite Doncaster/South Yorkshire village, Hooton Pagnell. Wide-ranging views from the top of Beacon Hill.
Newark-on-Trent: A traditional busy market town, the castle, church, and Market Place are lovely.
Nottingham: I love visiting the castle, but there are plenty of other things to see.
Retford: Apart from Bakewell, Retford is my favourite local town. I regularly visit; the Market Place and King's Park are the best areas.
Rufford Abbey: A beautiful lake, extensive parkland, and some interesting ruins.
Southwell: Absolutely stunning; in summer it's bedecked with flowers. The minster is my favourite ecclesiastical building - totally unique 'pepper pot' twin towers and a remarkable series of minimalist aluminium table-top sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

My Photograph of Conisbrough Castle

It took me a while to track it down but here's a link to one of my photographs of Conisbrough Castle
which appears on a glossy leaflet produced by Sustrans; at least they do credit me even though I received no royalty fee.

A couple of screenshots of the leaflet:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Fox House, Longshaw Estate, and then Little Longstone, Monsal Head, Ashford in the Water, and Great Longstone

I arrived at Fox House about an hour before I was due to meet Chris and Maureen, my regular walking companions, and so went for a quick ramble on the Longshaw Estate.

There are some lovely views looking towards the moors, and a quirky little information shed.

One of the hikers who got on the bus as it was leaving Sheffield had clingfilm wrapped round his knees - I've never seen this before and don't know why he will have done it. Anyone got any ideas?

Chris and Maureen were on time; we drove down to Ashford in the Water but the small carpark there was already full and so we continued on to Little Longstone, parking at the side of the road as near to Monsal Head as we could...actually right opposite the small chapel at the far end of the village.

It was only a short walk up the road to Monsal Head. The public toilets are now closed and so Maureen had to make alternative plans a few minutes later. It was nearly midday and very busy and I didn't have time to take any photographs of the classic Peak District view looking down at the river and the railway viaduct.

As we were walking across the fields to Ashford we must have encountered several dozen other people out walking on this fine warm sunny day, and later down by the river in the village there were quite a few people sunbathing and enjoying their picnics on the grass.

There are plenty of pretty cottages to photograph.

We then headed north along the road and took the footpath that goes by Churchdale Hall and eventually we reached Great Longstone, walking through meadows covered with wildflowers, especially buttercups.

Maureen had been struggling all day and I offered her the option of cutting short the walk and heading straight back to the car; she gladly accepted.

A few minutes later we walked past one of the village pubs, the White Lion, and called in for drinks. My glass of Pepsi Max, not even a full pint since the barman just poured in the contents of two small 250ml bottles into my glass, cost me £3.90. This was the most expensive soft drink I've ever purchased; can anyone beat this? Chris and Maureen seemed well satisfied with their non-alcoholic cocktails though. They called them 'mocktails.'

Friday, May 18, 2018

Cromford, Fritchley, Crich, Wakebridge, Holloway, and Lea Bridge

I used Bakewell as a base again today to travel further afield and caught the bus to Cromford.

I called in at the mill, photographed the church just a few yards further down the road, and then walked along the canal towpath almost as far as Ambergate.

There's a small museum set up inside the two brake cars on display at High Peak Junction; there's also an information centre and shop...and toilets.

I passed by some impressive canalside properties.

A bit further south I encountered an unusual hazard on the towpath.

When I reached where I thought Ambergate should have been the towpath was blocked by an industrial unit and heavy plant and the footpath took me uphill through the woods and meadows full of buttercups until I reached a village. I didn't know this place was called Fritchley until I got home and checked because by this time I'd fallen off the edge of my map.

I then continued heading north along the road until I reached Crich.

After visiting the church I chose to continue walking along the road to Wakebridge and then took a pleasant footpath to Holloway rather than going straight back down to the canal and re-tracing my steps all the way back to Cromford.

According to the map there was no easy access to Crich Stand from the south and so I didn't attempt to go there. 

I got a good view of a couple of trams as I passed by the entrance to Crich Tramway Village, the National Tramway Museum.

Florence Nightingale at one time lived at Holloway, the next village I reached.

I continued along the road to Lea Bridge and then walked through a wood and a narrow country road back to Cromford, stopping off at the pretty railway station to take some photographs.