Motivation has been hard to come by since my last outing. Daughter is in the throes of her AS level exams - cue high stress and panic - and Mother is in hospital which means endless visits and concerns. Added to these is that my walking partner isn't here to keep me company, and sane, and the weather has been on the wrong side of awful. Still, I decided last night that I had to get out, albeit for only a short walk (time constraints due to above mentioned exams and hospital visits!)
So here I am, very early (for me) parking my car beside the Curbar road beneath Curbar Edge. And for a change the sun is out despite the heavy downpour last night.
It doesn't take me long to get ready then I'm off up the road then through the gate leading onto Baslow Edge. The track is a wide, well used bridleway more like the paths in Country Parks, but within a few yards I turn right onto a narrower, but still well used, path. This leads to a viewpoint complete with map for those who don't know the area too well. And it is a brilliant view from here, reaching well over 180 degrees. The sun is out, there isn't another person in sight, and I feel my tension slip away. I just wish PC was here to share it.
I continue onwards, keeping to the edge rather than returning to the broad track, and I am constantly rewarded by excellent views down to Curbar, behind to Curbar and Froggatt Edges, and beyond. There are boulders and rocks as well as slight dips up and down.
After cresting a slight rise and starting to drop again I see, for the first time and to my horror, a small herd of Highland Cattle. I stare at them warily for a few moments before striding purposefully past them. PC would be proud although, to be honest, I don't think the cattle even notice me.
They were all in possession of extremely impressive horns, though.
Emboldened by my bravery I go up the next rise - it could hardly be called scrambling or climbing despite there being a number of boulders - and pause again to enjoy the views. This walk is turning into more of a stroll with plenty of stops as I don't want it to be over too quickly.
I watch a bird on a stone, possibly a thrush although I am too far away to be certain, with a beak-full of worms for its young then I decide to take out the secret flask. It's too early for a drink, but I need to take the photo for PC!
As I pause for a while I can hear curlews on the moor, their call very distinctive and carrying. It's a pity I've never been able to see one in Derbyshire.
Here and there the ground is a little wet and muddy, but it does drain quite well so close to the edge. That's lucky since the rain of the last few days could have made walking quite unpleasant. At least the sun is still shining, and when the soft breeze drops it is almost warm. I'm not wearing a jacket - a first for this year!
The sun is casting interesting shadows on the boulders that litter the edge, and knowing PCs fondness for boulders I take a photo for her.
There is also a single boulder, perched seemingly very precariously, on the edge of the Edge. Poised on its point it appears on the verge of toppling, but in fact it is very firmly secured!
A little way further on and I have a good view of the Eagle Stone, a popular place for a little easy climbing, and in the past youths from Baslow who wanted to prove their fitness for marriage had to climb the Eagle Stone!
I'm almost at the end of the Edge now and the narrow path I'm following drops down toward Wellington's Monument. There is a bench beneath it should I need a rest (I don't) and for the first time ever there are no other walkers here. I take the opportunity to snap a picture then wait a while as a horse rider approaches then passes. We exchange a 'Good Morning', and she will be the only person I speak to on the whole walk. I do miss PC!
I continue along the long track towards the road. There is woodland to the right, known as Jack Flat, and a drystone wall to the left. And I hear my first cuckoo of the year! Worryingly, there is evidence of cattle too!
Nearing the end of the track can see another herd of highland cattle, and some of these have young. For now they are far enough away, and I pause to study one of the many Companion Stones (see www.artsinthepeak.co.uk ) we have found on our walks. This one, on Eaglestone Flat, seems very appropriate for PC - being sail shaped!
Now I'm approaching the gate onto the road and have to admit to being very apprehensive. One of the cows has moved onto the track and two others are approaching. I decide I have to go for it; after all, Highland cattle are supposed to be very placid, and I make it past them with a huge sigh of relief.
From now on it's the long haul up the road. I decide not to cross over and take the track across the moor given how wet the ground is and how soggy that part of the moor is. I've kept dry so far and want to keep it that way. I am rewarded, though, by the sight of Sweet Cicely growing under one of the drystone walls, and a wonderfully bright yellow clump of celandines.
The road is quite busy, and being fairly straight some of the cars and vans travel far too fast. On my own it isn't too bad, but I'm glad Mollie isn't here as she really doesn't like traffic.
I push the pace on the road, and glancing up I can see that there are some darker clouds in the sky. It doesn't seem likely to rain, not yet anyway, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't rain later.
Cresting the ridge I see that there are a lot of cars in the car park, many of the walkers emerging to walk along Curbar or Froggatt Edges. It's certainly a good day for it.
Down the road now and I'm soon back at the car. Looking up at the edge the dark clouds are beginning to look more ominous.
It's been a fairly short walk, and not at all strenuous. However, the absence of coffee and buns has taken its toll and since I still have plenty of time to spare before collecting daughter from her morning revision session I drive down through Curbar village in search of refreshment.
I stop at the Derbyshire Craft Centre and spend a little while browsing in the shop intending to have a quiet coffee when I've finished. However, a hoard (there really is no other description) of walkers - all ladies of a certain age - descend on the shop like a gaggle of angry geese, and making twice as much noise. They head straight into the cafe, their strident tones making me (and others) decide to go elsewhere.
I finally end up in The Cafe on the Green in Baslow. It's busy, but not noisy, and I enjoy a coffee with a piece of Lemon Bakewell. A good way to end the day!