Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Or at least a fair amount of mud ... a round walk from Hope to Brough and Bradwell
Pastures new for us this week with only a vague plan of our exact route. The title of the post is courtesy of PC's husband, and when we hit the muddy patches we couldn't do any more than agree with him.

It isn't a particularly inspiring day; overcast in places, foggy in others, and cold. We're without dog again - Mollie nowhere to be found when PC went to collect her (she must have been hiding since she was in her basket when PC checked on her return journey!) so we know we don't have to worry too much about traffic, which Mollie hates.

We meet in Hope and as soon as we're booted up we head to the toilets, only to find them closed. And on a cold day too...

We amble past the church then walk down the narrow lane at the side before coming to the bridge over a wide stream (Peakshole Water?) and pause to admire the admittedly small Pinfold on the opposite side of the road. Then we're off up the road and taking the first turn on the left.

It's uphill at this point but once we've passed a huge, steaming pile of manure (yes, really) we turn left again and climb over a stile into an only-slightly muddy field with excellent views back 

towards Hope and up towards Lose Hill and Win Hill. The large grassy field is full of sheep, and I'm only grateful that they aren't cattle, or we'd be looking for another way around.

Marked on the OS map is an old cross (remains of) and we wonder if we have found it when we come up against a single post standing in the ground. PC takes a photo for our records then we're on our way again.

The indistinct path takes us slightly uphill and through a gateway, which is a little muddier than the last one. Soon we crest the small rise and can look along a broad sweeping field with sparse woodland on our right and the River Noe away to our left. We keep close to the tree line as the path is invisible here, and soon we are rewarded with the sight of a wooden bridge.

The colours of the leaves, deep buttery yellow, stand out against the dark background of the enclosed bridge. The bridge, however, is not the easiest to cross since it doesn't have a stile, just some rails to clamber over. The stream which it spans appears to be lined with stone, so once over the other side I decide to consult the map. That is, after I have ploughed through the mud! In the field on this side of the stream are horses. Nothing wrong with that, but they do have a tendency to churn up the ground and they have made a spectacular job of it here.

Once I'm through the mud I wait for PC and peruse the map, coming to the conclusion that we have, in fact, found the roman fort of Navio. All that remains now is a raised square platform with some broken stones in the centre - and although they don't look too impressive these mark the entrance to the roman underground strong room. There is quite a bit of information on the web for Navio, and some good ariel photos, but for some background information that isn't too heavy try looking at:

After spending a little time wandering around the old fort, and fending off the curious horses who are determined to act as our guides, we continue south into the village of Brough. Here we turn left on the road, over the swift running Bradwell Brook, then cross the road and take the lane opposite.

Here we head uphill, and it really is uphill, all the way!

Part way up the hill the road turns at a right angle, and continues to climb. We push on, enjoying the opening views, though we aren't so thrilled about the sight of the cement works. It is cathedral-like in stature, and dominates everything. But so ugly.

There are some walkers ahead of us, and we deliberately keep our pace slow so that we don't catch up with them. For if we did, and then overtook them, we'd be forced to push our pace, and we don't want to do that! As we follow in their (slow) footsteps we discover that they have dropped a piece of paper. Picking it up we see that it is a walk description from The Sheffield Star newspaper. Well, there's no way we're sprinting after them to return the paper but we tuck it into our map holder just in case we catch up with them at some point.

It's a long haul up the steep hill but the views are good, if not particularly photogenic. It is probably an old pack horse road, and is called Brough Lane on the map.

Sure enough, as the track levels off a little we see the three walkers ahead pausing at a stile. It's the route they should be taking (if they are following the Star walk) but after a discussion they ignore the path and carry on. We're determined not to rush to catch up. We know the path we want, and it's the next one along.

By the time we reach 'our' path the three men are dithering at the stile. As we approach (there's a limit to how slow we can walk) one of them says that he hopes we aren't following them as they're lost (bloody cheek!) At that we produce their scrap of paper - to their great delight - and we explain to them where they are and where they need to go. Needless to say they don't have a map with them, assuming that the vague newspaper route is sufficient. Hmmmm.

We point them in the right direction and let them go on ahead as we saunter behind and look for a place to stop for lunch. At last we squeeze through a gate and find a lovely spot with our backs to a drystone wall and a view over the village of Bradwell and the surrounding countryside. Even the sun has started to shine for us.

We start off with a nip from the secret flask. The sun may be shining but it isn't exactly warm. Then it's coffee before the sandwiches. We eat the sandwiches quickly, mainly because we're keen to get to the buns which are, hopefully, better than last week's.

Sticky Nutty Cheesecake Wedges. There's a first time for everything and although these don't look too impressive they do taste very good. A gooey caramel topping and a very tasty nutty and caramel cheesecake filling. We proclaim them to be excellent, and decide to finish off with another coffee. At this point, PC's husband comes in for a fair amount of stick since there isn't enough coffee in the flask for another cup, and he's the one who so generously made it this week - for the first and last time! So we are forced to have another nip from the other secret flask to compensate for the lack of coffee.

By now it's time to move on so we haul ourselves upright and set off down the hill. The path is very distinct, though narrow, and most unpleasant. It is extremely muddy with a high potential for slips and slides. We manage to stay upright but at times it's a close run thing. It seems a very long way to walk when you're having to watch every step, and avoiding some of the worst sections isn't easy. Finally, with very muddy boots, we make it to the tarmac road at the bottom of the hill.

We've never been to Bradwell before and as we walk through the village we are surprised at how lovely it is. Narrow streets, attractive cottages, and quiet. And you can't actually see the cement works.

We meander down to the main road, pause at the bridge crossing over the Bradwell Brook, and admire the curious street names. It really is a lovely village.

We have to follow the main road for a while before crossing over and turning left onto a narrow road. This will take us all the way back to Hope. It passes between some old quarry lakes, and we read a sign on a fence post about a boy who fell into one of the lakes and drowned as emergency services were unable to reach him. Tragic.

There is quite a bit of traffic on the road, probably because it provides a perfect short cut between the two villages but there is enough room to walk too. It doesn't take us long to arrive back at the large manure heap - a steaming beacon to mark our way - then drop down to the main road into the village.

It's only a short walk now past the church and to our cars. We're muddy, but we've been worse, and we're pleased to have done the walk although we wouldn't really call it one of our favourites. PC is keen to set off to check if Mollie is OK (she is, and seemingly very sheepish for a collie!) but we have time to plan our walk for next week. Since it will be PC's birthday week she has chosen one of her favourites, Win Hill, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for good weather since the last time we were there it was pretty grim! Hopefully we'll avoid the snow and the sun will shine on us.

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