Stanage

Monday, 6 March 2017

A LONG WAY TO HOPE CROSS

We've decided on something a bit more challenging today. For too long we've been playing safe, acutely aware of our lack of fitness and time constraints. So, enough of that, today we're making the most of it!

We squeeze into the full lay-by next to Yorkshire Bridge Inn and start off with our usual swapping session (including an old fashioned ginger beer plant). It starts to rain so we wait it out with a piece of Key Lime Pie and a drink of ginger beer. That sets us up nicely, then it's onward and onward.

We cross over the dam wall and look down it's chilly length. There's always a stiff breeze blowing here, but we suspect that there'll be little good weather today.


We turn right and set off at the side of the reservoir. We haven't gone too far before we reach the track we usually come back down on and make the decision to go up that way instead and do our walk in reverse. Well, it seems like a good idea!

We go up, through the gate at the top, and pause. Is it an age thing? We can't remember how we usually approach this point - and we've been here loads of times. The map is of minimal help, the paths on paper not quite matching those on the ground.

We strike off to the right and then veer left, eventually going through a metal gate. The first wisps of familiarity disappear as we realise we have never been here before. Never mind, it's going in the right direction, more or less.


The path is quite boggy in places, and brings us to an old derelict building. It has wonderful views, but poor access and needs a bit of work doing to bring it up to modern standards!


We head on upwards and come to the fence line beneath Win Hill. We may not be on the path we planned but we've arrived where we need to be.

From here it's a long walk following the line between moorland and forest. In places it is waterlogged, in others it is stony underfoot. 


The path undulates with some quite large dips and rises and we even get a glimmer of blue sky, but it doesn't last. The views from here, though, are superb.



Further along we have a number of options; go down, go on, go to the Roman road, go backwards and up Win Hill. The sheep scrutinize us as we quickly decide to keep going. We'll reach the Roman road soon enough, and our target is Hope Cross.


And after more walking than we recall (why are distances distorted when you do a route in reverse?) we see the cross standing aloof next to the path.



We only pause briefly to look at it before finding the path into the woods. At last we find something to sit on out of the wind to enjoy a late lunch. The Key Lime Pie and ginger beer certainly kept us going! Today's treat is scratched cinnamon swirl bun. Nice and chewy, but I would have liked more cinnamon.


Once we've done we head off again, it's too cold to linger. We're going steadily downhill now, and past the ridge and furrow land under the trees. They look very ethereal given the dark gloom of the woods here.

At the bottom we turn right through the muddy patch that was once the front yard of another derelict building. There's heavy moss growth on the old gateposts and a sense of nature reclaiming everything.




We walk through the trees, and the views open out again. It's downhill and a bit muddy, and we're surprised how far we still have to walk - this is usually behind us on the outbound stretch so it's not our usual view.



It's levellish ground though, and no challenge, especially as we still have plenty to talk about (nothing new there). But the sky is dull and we've had the best of the day. No pause when we get back to the cars, it's been a long walk and we can't hang around. But it's certainly been worth it.



Friday, 24 February 2017

SLOW RETURN - LATHKILL TO CONKSBURY

We've had far too long away and even now it's a stuttering start. Too many other demands on our time means we're lucky to squeeze in any walking at all.

But here we are at the Over Haddon car park and joy of joys, the toilets are open! We pay our parking charge (not cheap) and wrap up warm. Mollie is very keen and looking forward to a day out, as are we.

We've never seen many cars here even though there's extensive parking, so it must get busy at weekends or holidays, but today there are only a couple more cars.

We leave the cars and head right and down the steep lane. On the first bend a digger is carrying out some repairs, and further down the disabled parking area is full to bursting (but no disabled badge in sight).

We go down to the bottom where the River Lathkill is crossed by the bridge - and yet more cars are here.

We don't go over the bridge but turn left and follow the path at the side of the river. There's not much vegetation at this time of year, but there's plenty of mud! Not that it bothers us much, we have far too much to talk about.




We pass the picturesque weirs and meet some dog walkers, then once through the gate we decide to pause on the bench for a coffee and some ginger biscuits.



Once refreshed we're on our way again, narrowly avoid being mown down by someone cyclists on Conksbury Bridge, then making our way up the road until we come to the path on our right. It leads to the farm and isn't properly signposted, but it is a public footpath.


Very easy walking here, and quite dry underfoot, until we have to pass through the farmyard and the quagmire next to the cattle yard. The gate is a bit of a pain to open but soon were striding across the field towards the woods.



We realise that we've run out of good places to stop for lunch, and we don't have far to go, so as we walk down the path through the woods we decide to detour through Lathkill Dale.



We cross the bridge, skirt the parked cars and turn left along the familiar track. The day has turned murky and down here there are still wisps of mist hanging in the tree canopies.



Eventually we find a good spot for a late lunch: a fallen tree next to the water. Mollie talks the chance to go and paddle as we settle down with food.

Then we hear some vehicles, and moments later a straggling convoy of 4 x 4s makes its way from down the dale, complete with dogs, guns and men in shooting garb. As we are finishing lunch they return, no doubt having enjoyed a 'proper' lunch to fortify themselves for their extreme sport. Watch out all you fearsome birds, the gunslingers are out to get you.

We saunter back along the dale, it's turning quite chilly now, especially down here. As we climb up the steep roadway to the car park we hear the sounds of gunshots in the distance. Glad we're not too close!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Taking the High Road at Derwent

A fairly grim day today with overcast skies and the promise of rain. So much for summer weather!

We had decided on Derwent, it is pretty much our fail-safe walking area and even on such a drippy day we knew we would find somewhere good to go.

What did surprise us when we arrived in the Fair Holmes car park was the number of cars and the amount of people. But, of course, it's the summer holidays and the Peak District is definitely on the tourist map - something we tend to forget with it being on our doorstep.

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We take the path at the side of the reservoir after moving away from the main car park. The trees are in full leaf and it would undoubtedly be dull even if the sun was shining - which it most definitely isn't, and clearly has no intention of doing so.

We cross the road just before the cattle grid and start to climb up the bridleway. It's rough underfoot but the views soon start to open up behind us.
However, we are walking up into low cloud which clings to the tree canopy like shield of smoke from a camp fire. It is decidedly atmospheric, if a little chilly.

At the top of the path, which we have reached with less effort than anticipated, we debate for a moment before deciding to turn right along the ridge. We hope, briefly, that the views may suddenly appear for us, but the cloud and the first drizzle of rain put paid to that. A family are sat huddled together facing the non-existant view, but give up on their vigil as we approach.
We continue along the path until it splits, with our path turning right around the woods. Here we decide to find somewhere sort-of sheltered for lunch, since it's now raining as though it means it and the breeze has become rather keen.

We find some shelter amongst the trees with a tumbled stone wall for a comfortable seat. Lunch, buns and coffee are given our full, undivided attention.
We don't linger, it's too damp for that, so we head back to the path and continue on the slight downward slope , passing the outdoor centre on our right before climbing gently again.
The rain has made everything lush and green, and let's be honest, soggy! On the descent, where the path becomes steep and heavily eroded, we meet a gentleman toiling upwards. Naturally we pause to chat, he's scouting out a route for a walking group and has the unenviable task of making it suitable for all-comers as well as being interesting and accessible without cars! We hope he succeeded, he was a very pleasant man.

We're close to the bottom now, and the road which, at this time of year, is (supposedly) closed to all traffic other than residents/staff, but there's always someone who doesn't think it applies to them. So, yes, a few too many cars pass us, but we keep to the path at the side and enjoy the last of the views.
We're soon back at the cars and the walk is over. In fact, walking for a while as PC is away again.

PostScript: apologies for excessive delay in posting, life just gets in the way sometimes. And no, nothing much has been going on with our ramblings, PC has had many home issues to be dealing with as I finished off my summer revising for exams. PC is still juggling with family illnesses and although my exams are over I'm back to studying. So, although we've managed to meet up a handful of times we haven't really walked anywhere worth a blog post. Bear with us though, we'll get around to it eventually.

Monday, 22 August 2016

A BRIEF RETURN - AND A VISIT TO THORNBRIDGE HALL

It seems forever since we last met up, but PC is back for a while and despite so many other demands on our time at this point in the year we decide to attempt to resume our walks. Or rather, PC had the marvellous idea of visiting Thornbridge Hall.

This lovely hall near Great Longstone opens its gardens on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It boasts a cafe and a plant sales area (both of which we sampled) but the beautiful gardens are certainly the main attraction.

Needless to say, many photos were taken and here are a few to look at. Words really aren't necessary.



 












 











 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

WHITE EDGE AND CURBAR EDGE - AND A SOGGY SEASON END


Bit of a tough choice for this week. I'm waiting for a couple of important phone calls which means we need to walk where there is a half-decent signal (no way are we giving up a walk!), and it is also my 'birthday walk' so I don't want to walk anywhere too dull. Added to the mix is also that we are in the midst of the Easter break which means many more people out and about.

In the end we decide on a walk that we haven't done in a while, taking us onto Curbar Edge and White Edge - or the snake walk as we remember it since last time we were hereabouts we were startled by an adder! This time we will do it in reverse, and get the snakes out of the way.

At least it is sunny this morning, a bonus since the weather is so variable at this time of year and we have already had our fair share of rain, and we park in one of the small bays beneath Curbar Edge and away from the main Pay and Display car park which is already filling up with visitors.

We are soon sorted and cross the road before heading uphill. PC stops almost immediately to take the first photo of the day over the valley and towards Bakewell.


And we are only a few yards up the road when PC spots a carving
in one of the stones at the roadside. It looks like Hebrews
7 25, though it isn't that clear on the photo due to the moss and lichen, some of which we cleared away to see better. It is surprising that we have never spotted this before despite walking up and down here many times over the years.

 We continue up the road, wary of the cars on this narrow winding stretch, and manage to get onto the narrow verge path.  The car park is certainly getting busier now but most people are heading for Curbar Edge first, so we bypass them and go through the gate adjacent to the road to take us onto the access land.

Here it is relatively quiet as we follow the broad swathe of a path as it sweeps around the drystone wall and starts to go downhill. As we approach Sandyford Brook in the dip we are confronted by a quagmire. It is always a bit muddy here but the recent rains have made it particularly unpleasant. Nevertheless, we pick our way across the sludge and manage to avoid the worst of it. On the far side we ascend without slipping back down again, quite a feat.

At the top of the slope there is a sign at the corner of the drystone wall, but we know our way and turn left, walking up the eroded path to the top which is blissfully dry. We pause to enjoy the views westward.
A small group of people are a little way in front of us, they hadn't walked up the same way as us but appear to have come along the vague path linking this side of the road with the bridleway at Jack Flat, so we wait a while to let them get out of the way.
It is a bit unusual to see many people on this higher path, most stick to the Curbar Edge, but it appears that today we'll be seeing a lot of holidaymakers as well as local walkers.

We walk around the large boulders and see the trig point off to our right. We don't bother walking up to it, this part of the moor is soggy again, and there is another group of walkers wandering around is a slightly absent-minded fashion.
It is a straight, easy walk along here as the path gradually segues into White Edge. The boulders are rugged and very enticing, so we stop for a while for a cup of coffee and a chat, although we haven't actually stopped talking since we set off!

The flattened rock we sit on has lovely medallions of lichen growing on it.






Post coffee break and we are off again, continuing along White Edge. Sadly, by now, the sun has gone and a fair breeze has struck up. It hasn't stopped the walkers, though, who are out in droves. We have never, in years of walking around here, seen so many people on this usually ignored Edge.

It is surprising, too, how many of them don't bother to keep their dogs on a lead - and not many of those dogs are well trained (nor are their owners). Clearly the 'All Dogs on Leads' signs don't mean them! Mollie, however, is on her long lead and behaving beautifully.
We are debating how far we'll take the walk. We're tempted to continue to the end of the edge, then drop down to the road near the Grouse Inn, walk along the road then rejoin Curbar Edge at the Froggatt Edge end. The drawbacks, though, are Mollie's fear of heavy traffic and that we know the route down is very muddy at the best of times. And we are getting hungry.

We pause to take a photo of four trees perfectly silhouetted on the horizon, then find a huge rock outcrop to sit beneath. Not only does it shelter us from the path and the wind, it also provides shelter from the few spots of rain that want to ruin lunch.



PC has brought a celebratory (mini) bottle of fizz and proper glasses to drink it out of. A superb treat. As are the buns (the sandwiches, honestly, don't merit a mention). Wonderfully rich and moreish chocolate cheescakes. Mmmm. They taste so good that we don't even care how many calories they have. Followed by coffee we have to agree that it was a superb lunch, and that we are much too full to bother walking all the way around. We shall return, partly, the way we came and cross over to Curbar Edge at some point.

We head off back and just as we are looking for the path off of White Edge I get the first of my phone calls. All is going according to plan. 

We find our path and descent, but the flat moor with its huge tussocks of coarse grass is also wet and muddy. We hop from tussock to tussock with a reasonable amount of agility, until I take a wrong step and, unable to halt my momentum, continue along the route I had planned, go knee deep into a bog and topple with a splat. Fontunately I'm up fairly quickly and out of the mire, but I'm now walking with a distinct squelch and look non too smart either. At least I didn't have much of an audience.

A couple of minutes later I get my second phone call, and I'm pleased it didn't come while I was fishing myself out of the mud.

Then we are up onto Curbar Edge, and the number of people here increases dramatically. We amble over to the very edge to look over.

The views are, naturally, excellent, though it is a pity that the sun has gone in. The hefty breeze is drying out my walking trousers brilliantly though.

Even looking down from here, though a little bit vertigo inducing, is a treat, and we see a partly completed millstone abandoned at the bottom of the rocks.


We continue along to the end, then through the gate onto the rubbly path taking us back down to the road and the cars. And still more people are setting out.

A few minutes and we are back at the cars. 

We weren't certain at the time, but now we have confimed it, that was our last walk of our current series. PC is off away on her boat again so won't be back until summer. Until then I hope to get out myself - but I say that every year and rarely succeed. But if I do, I'll post my walk.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

STANAGE AGAIN



One of our frequently visited walks this week as we are on a tighter than usual time schedule, and Stanage fits the bill perfectly. 

We meet up in the car park at Burbage Bridge and spend a while in the car catching up with important news and eating chocolates (a pre-Easter present from Mollie). We also bemoan the chill here, which neither of us felt when we left our respective homes. So it is on with the layers against the chill.

Suitably fortified with chocolates we set off up the road a little distance then cross over onto the path leading to Stanage Edge.

The weather isn't brilliant, but it isn't raining and there is the odd glimmer of sunshine. There are also a lot of people out. Yes, this is a popular spot, but it is maybe also an indication of the looming Easter holidays. Some people are clearly already enjoying the break.
The one thing you can guarantee on Stanage is the view in all directions. Of course, Mollie isn't interested in the view, only in the dog biscuits in my pocket!
It's a short stroll up to the trig point and surprisingly there is no one else there - at the moment, anyway. So we walk over to it to enjoy even more views.
We are on the very tip of the Edge here and although we have walked its entire length in the past we won't be doing that today.
Today is an easy day; lots of talking and no need to even bother with the map. 
As usual, it is very windy up here (when isn't it?) so we hunt for somewhere to sit that is reasonably sheltered. Eventually we find some rocks that are close to the edge but away from the main path. We enjoy a nip from the secret flask, then a superb coffee before eating our lunch.

Just before we are about to start our pudding course we are joined by a climber who has had a bit of a scary ascent of the rocks (or so he informs us as he stands at the rocks just behind us). We don't feel it would be fair to start pudding yet, so we wait until he has finished talking and moved away.

Out come the puddings; pots of profiteroles - choux pastry, fresh cream, caramel sauce and chocolate sauce. So yummy. And they must look good to Mollie too as she is drooling, until she is allow an almost empty pot to lick clean.

Suitably replete we walk on, continuing a little further along the length of the Edge.
There are so many people about now, though. And Mollie makes a fuss of everyone, thoroughly enjoying the attention she is getting.

Eventually though, with our eye on the time, we turn back the way we came, retracing our steps until we find the path before the trig point that leads down.
Within a few paces we are on a level again, with no one else on this path being a bonus.

On the Edge to our left, and on the ground too, we find abandoned mill stones all cut and ready to move when the market for them dried up. A sign of the industrial past in this area.

 We continue along the path until it meets the road, then cross over and through a very tight kissing gate (difficult with a rucksack on) which leads us across the land between this road and the next. We are very close to the roadside edge of Higger Tor now.

Once again we go through one gate, cross the road, then back onto moorland through another. Now it is a straightforward walk following the contours of the roadside fence until we are back at the car park. 

We have timed it perfectly, we are back with 10 minutes to spare.