Monday, 4 March 2013


It feels like forever and a day since we were last out walking, we've had illness, injury and half term to contend with, but we're out again with something simple just to get us back into the swing of things without pushing our depleted fitness levels too far. And the sun is shining!

We park up at the popular spot at the side of the road from Grindleford, close to Granby Barn, and as soon as we're togged up it's photograph time. We have a wide sweep here to choose from, with wonderfully clear views of Higger Tor and Carl Wark. Photos finished we walk a short way along the road and take the path down towards Burbage Brook. Despite the glorious sunshine it is very cold and there is ice on the stream edges and coating exposed boulders. There is even some snow lingering in sheltered, sunless spots.

There are a lot of people out today, and we have delayed a little to avoid a large, strung out walking group. For some reason groups seem to be cropping up everywhere we go - we barely missed being drafted into one at Baslow a few weeks ago.

With the last stragglers of the group out of sight we go down to the Brook, pause again for some photographs then follow its banks upstream. We're ambling along at a very leisurely pace. Not having walked for some time we do have a lot of catching up to do so we need to conserve our breath!

We cross the water again and start climbing up the surfaced path towards the Longshaw Estate, go through the gate then walk along the wide track through the trees. The sunlight makes the tree trunks and boulders cast long shadows, and there are a lot of gritstone boulders wedged into the hillside here. (PC has a particular fondness for boulders!)

At the end of the path we go through the narrow gate, cross the road and head up the driveway towards Longshaw. There are certainly a lot more people here, but the cafe is open (as are the toilets) which undoubtedly provides an attraction.

Most people are walking on the paths in front of the big house, but we head behind the Visitor centre and cafe complex onto the quieter path. PC can't resist nosing over the wall to look into the large kitchen garden, so Mollie and I wait patiently as she satisfies her curiosity.

Further along we pass through a large gate and come out on a broad, grassy track leading towards the aptly named Wooden Pole. There is also a very inviting bench, and our secret flask and a bar of chocolate beckon! We sit very comfortably enjoying the distant views and listening to the sound of tinkling bells. Turning around we see a tree festooned with wind chimes. The tree is fenced in, but I can't find any details as to why the tree has been decorated.

Leaving the tree behind us we stroll along the path towards Wooden Pole, then detour slightly down to the car park and onto the path next to the entrance. Then we're on a clear track going through the sparse woodland of the estate leading down to rough moorland.

We're on the lookout for somewhere to sit for lunch, and soon we find it by crossing the dead, buff-coloured grass to park ourselves on a suitably sized flat boulder. We're comfortable, sat in the sunshine and still have a good view.

Out come sandwiches and coffee for us, biscuits and water for Mollie. Then we have our buns, fresh cream eclairs which, as noted on a previous post, are the perfect shape for walking buns.

We know we don't have a long way to go now so we don't rush, but it is a bit chilly sitting around so we pack up our things and amble on. It's extremely easy walking, probably why this area is such a magnet for families out for a stroll, and as we walk we notice signs to entice youngsters: the ant walk, the boggart hole.

Eventually we come to another gateway and at the far side of it we reach a path which gives us two options, either up towards the Visitor centre or down towards Granby Barn. We take the left hand route towards the barn, and from there the road and our cars.

The sun is still out when we get back to the cars so we have time to sit and reflect, and chat some more. We know how lucky we have been to have been out on such a bright, clear day and we can only keep our fingers crossed that our next walk will be just as good.

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