I started my walk at Castleton today, headed up through Cave Dale and then across towards Eldon Hill Quarry and Perryfoot. At the entrance to Cave Dale a young Chinese man was looking a bit uncertain and confused; he was checking a mapping app on his mobile phone and naturally all the place names were in Chinese characters. I think he wanted a bit of reassurance when he asked me if this was the 'Secret Valley' - I thought about it for a couple of seconds and then said "Yes." I'm assuming that the Chinese transcription for Cave Dale came out as 'Secret Valley.' He soon got far ahead of me because I was stopping to take photographs and taking notes as well. Has anyone got any better suggestions for a descriptive name for this beautiful dale which is hidden away at the back of the castle, just a few yards from the Market Place in Castleton?
I continued down the road to Sparrowpit; the pub/cafe was closed when I got there at 10:45 but at least I now know where all the coaches park up after they've dropped off people in Castleton.
Just beyond Sparrowpit I was needing to frequently refer to my map because the farmer had attempted to block the path by piling up loose rubble at the stiles and fencing off access to one particular stile; this action wasn't going to stop me though, I had my map in my hand held up right in front of me, I had all my answers prepared for any likely confrontation with the farmer...and more importantly, I had my questions ready for him. I proceeded like a bulldozer, literally when I reached the piles of rubble..today I wasn't wearing hiking boots, I was wearing a very comfortable pair of safety boots with metal toe caps which I bought at a charity shop in Retford a few weeks ago.
There was along stretch of road until I reached Tunstead and then a metalled track which continues right to where the bridleway steeply drops down into Chee Dale at Blackwell Mill Cottages - it's always worth pointing a camera at them.
I'd got the bus times written on a piece of paper in wallet and so I was able to adjust my pace so that I got to the bus stop five minutes before a bus was due...it was TransPeak which I used to get to Bakewell.