Sunday, 29 December 2013


Chatsworth 24th January 2013

Edale 31st January 2013


Longshaw 28th February 2013

White Edge 21st March 2013

Crook Hill 16th April 2013

Stanage Edge 25th March 2013

Cressbrook Dale 3rd May 2013

Curbar Edge - Wellington's Monument 16th May 2013

Bamford Edge 20th June 2013 

The Great Ridge 26th September 2013

Abney September 2013

High Bradfield 31st October 2013

Chatsworth November 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Well, the weather isn't too brilliant for today's walk, it is damp and foggy, but we are hoping for things to clear up later. But the first obstacle isn't so much the weather as actually meeting up.

Our plan, which seems eminently sensible when you look at the map, is to meet in the car park at the end of Moor Lane which leads out of Youlgreave. Simple, you'd think. Not so.

I'm the first to arrive by virtue of being the map reader and having a decent sense of direction, but it was touch and go. Moor Lane is a tiny offshoot from the main road in Youlgreave, easily missed unless you are expecting it and only signed with a hand painted sign. The narrow street I drove up looked as though it was someone's private driveway, then when I turned right onto the main lane I was greeted with a narrow lane and a sign saying 'Quiet Road'. To cut a long story short, it was an interesting drive and I was lucky only to encounter one car coming in the opposite direction (driven by an elderly gentleman who looked, quite frankly, scared and lost) and wasn't surprised to be first to arrive in the deserted car park.

To cut a long story short, it takes a few phone calls (thank goodness for modern technology and mobile reception) and hastily garbled directions (and a couple of chapters of my book as I wait) before PC manages to reach the car park a little late but in one piece and relieved not to have met any other traffic.
We're late setting off, but we're undaunted. We're Mollie-less until after Christmas so we only have ourselves to sort out, and we dress ourselves in our waterproofs from the outset as we doubt that the weather will clear much.
PC worries that the day won't produce many decent photos - there is the prospect of good views from the edge of the car park on a clear day, but all we see is murk - so she starts snapping straight away.
We walk down the 'quiet lane' and haven't gone far before a farm lorry comes rumbling up behind us! We both scale the grass bank at the side of the road and thank our lucky stars that we didn't meet it when we were driving. Once the lorry has passed we continue down the road, pause to photograph a statuesque tree which is posing grandly, then meet a footpath on our left which crosses a couple of grassy fields to another road (Back Lane).

Across the road we take the next footpath which, again, crosses fields. One thing that becomes immediately apparent is that the stiles around here are not terribly forgiving! Many are high off the ground for their first step meaning a good leg stretch for all but the long limbed, then fairly high too. No matter though. We're coping without any trouble and the weather has improved slightly too.
It is a fairly straight path, punctuated only by stiles, downhill towards Meadow Place Grange, a large farmyard. The current farmhouse is a Grade II listed building dating from the 18th century, but the original grange farm belonged to Augustinians of Leicester Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries. Today it is still a working farm, and as we paddle along the muddy path towards the very high stile - which we clamber over with grace and dignity (naturally) - we realise that it isn't long since the inhabitants of the field passed this way too. Sure enough, at the other side we see cattle inside a large barn, and one cow in particular seems very interested in what we are doing.
We cross through the farm yard (fortunately, not so muddy now) and take the path directly opposite which climbs gently through a grass field before bringing us to the top of Meadow Place Wood.
The downhill path between the trees is a bit slippery in places, but soon we are approaching the River Lathkill and the footbridge adjacent to the ford. A group of hikers are sat around having lunch (is it that time already?) but we press on and onto the path which runs along the length of the Dale.
It seems very murky and gloomy in the Dale, although the recent rain has meant that the river is high. We have been here in the past when there has been no water at all, but not today. There are hardly any people about, not surprising since the weather has turned damp again. It doesn't encourage people to get out and we suspect many people will have hung up their boots for the winter. 

It is a pleasant enough walk along Lathkill Dale, even if the weather is grim, and we are able to talk about all sorts of things. One thing we do notice, though, is the amount of broken and shattered timber left over from last week's gales. Glad we weren't here then.
We are getting peckish but there aren't very many stopping points to eat a picnic, especially in the rain. The one place we were hoping to stop (opposite the path we will need later) is already occupied so we walk a little further until we find a comfortable ledge of limestone on which to sit.
We need a small drink of Ramblers first, and this is the last of the batch. Good job I have another bottle at home ready for straining. From the Ramblers we move onto coffee to warm us up before we start on the sandwiches. There's not a lot to say about sandwiches (other than they are very welcome) as it is the bun that excites our interest. Today they are muffins, with cream and a 'spiced fruit compote'. The compote has a few small lumps of fruit it in, not much, but it does make a nice change, and muffins always go down well. A second coffee sets us up ready for the next part of the walk.
We retrace our steps and once again we cross the river, climbing up the limestone path into Calling Low Dale. Thank goodness we chose to do the walk this way around as the slippery limestone requires care and the risk of falling always seems greater when going downhill.

Calling Low Dale is very quiet even though it leads to the Limestone Way, although most walkers in Lathkill Dale probably tend to go 'end to end'. The narrow path forks and we take the left hand, downward path which takes us to a wooden stile and a signpost. Yes, we're going in the right direction, although the sight ahead is not appealing. Steep limestone steps climbing seemingly straight up a very steep hillside. Once again we are reminded of the stairs of Cirith Ungol (Lord of the Rings) and hope that Shelob isn't at the top waiting for us!

We keep our eyes on where we are putting our feet, it is drizzling with rain again and we don't want to slip, but despite the climb we ascend with more ease that we had expected, although it may have been better to have walked up before the muffins (although PC is adamant that she needed the energy from the muffins to get up here). The views are pretty good, but spoiled by the poor weather. We'll have to revisit on a clear day.
We are on the Limestone Way now, and the path is very clearly signposted which is a rare bonus. We pass Calling Low Farm, skirting the buildings via fields and a small copse, then come out to another field. Here an eager horse trots up to greet us, clearly not thrilled with staying out in the cold and wind, and trying its hardest to persuade us to either feed it or take it in. Eventually it leaves us and goes to look over the field gate to the farm, hoping to attract attention.


The path across the field is diagonal, with an interesting waterlogged section in the centre, but we're soon over it and into the edge of another small wood before emerging back onto farmland. Here again the signposting is very clear and we are soon within sight of the blue P sign for our car park. Not far to go, and only one final stretch of a stile for us to negotiate.

From here we don't have far to walk before we are back at the cars in the otherwise empty car park. Despite the weather, and the initial problems finding our starting point, the walk has been very good. We've managed to go on paths we've never ventured on before, and we'll be taking a slightly different route home!

Since this is to be our last post of 2013 we wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and an excellent New Year.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013



Our best laid plans have been scuppered by the weather. Gale force winds have meant that, for safety's sake, we are abandoning our higher level walk and retreating to the safety of Bakewell and the Monsal Trail. Not exactly exciting but it should be pleasant enough, if we can avoid being blown over.

Since this is a last minute decision (we were both at opposite ends of the country yesterday when the weather was fine) we meet in Bakewell and sit in the car whilst perusing the map, which is when we decide on the Monsal Trail. So, after nipping to the loos, we drive up to the old station where we find a parking space. There isn't a lot of space up here but the parking charges are less than down in the town, although clearly a lot of people avoid paying by parking on the road.

We spend some time dressing up warm, already the wind is gusting very strongly and we congratulate ourselves on our change of plan. Then we set off, back down the road we've just driven up, and into Bakewell. Before we reach the famous bridge, though, we pass through the narrow gate into the field at the side of the River Wye.

As we walk alongside the river path it starts to rain, only quite fine though, and we hope it will pass even though the clouds seem ominous. We pass through the second gate and almost straight away we have we hear a crack followed by a splash. The top part of a tree has snapped off and crashed into the water amidst a flurry of dead leaves and splinters. The log, which appears to be about 8 feet long, floats downriver. PC and I exchange a look, then carry on walking.

At the far end of the field we go through a gate and up onto the minor road, turn left and then take the right hand track (a bridleway) close to Holme Hall. As we climb up the track the rain intensifies but then eases off as we walk under the shelter of trees. Looking back we can see dark clouds but it has turned clear above us so we press on.

Emerging from the trees, the bridleway leads us gently upwards past an old quarry site, and the rain comes back again. This time we decide that it will be prudent to put on our waterproof trousers, so we balance at the side of a stone wall (away from trees!) to rummage in our rucksacks. Not a moment too soon, either, as the rainfall turns into a deluge. We fortify ourselves with a nip of Ramblers from the secret flask (Mollie has her biscuits) and continue.

The next gate leads us onto a distinct track and we climb up to what will be the highest point on this walk. It is very windy but we're partly sheltered by the stone walls and there are few trees. Sadly, though, the rain means that the views are less than spectacular.

We walk along this easy track for a while until it drops down to join the Monsal Trail. It hasn't taken us very long but we are damp and a little chilly. We could do with finding somewhere to stop for a warming coffee but there is nowhere terribly appealing. A covered shelter would be nice, with a bench, but all the benches/picnic tables are in the open exposed to the wind and the rain. There is the cafe and bookshop at Hassop Station but that isn't an option with a soggy dog.

Pressing on we find that we are approaching Bakewell Station, and our cars, far sooner than we had anticipated. Since the rain has stopped, for now, we decide that we will walk on further in an attempt to find a suitable place to stop for our late lunch.

The sun comes out - such a surprise - and the walk is in danger of becoming pleasant! Alas, the wind begins to pick up strength and the trees around us are rattling. There is a lot of fallen old wood on the floor which Mollie thinks is a wonderful treat, but she doesn't seem to realise that whilst sticks are OK, logs are not.

Eventually we see a bench ahead, close to the end of this part of the trail, and it is in a clearing with fine views towards Bakewell and no overhanging trees. With a considerable amount of effort - some of these gusts of wind have tremendous force - we manage two half cups of coffee each (only half a cup at a time as the wind is making waves in our drinks and threatening to pour it away!) and our sandwiches. But we give up on the buns and second coffee as we decide that it really is too much effort eating and keeping our balance at the same time.

We pack up and head back towards the cars where we will be able to finish lunch in peace. And what a good choice that turns out to be. Firstly we see two broken trees; one on the Trail and one in the field at the side, which have recently toppled (surely not while we were eating, although we didn't notice them on the way out) and then the rain sweeps back down on us.

We make good time back to the cars, but take a while removing our waterproof layers. At last we are able to sit in relative comfort and eat our buns.

Mince pies this week, two each. One has the inclusion of a cream cheese filling, a strange combination we thought before trying it, but it did seem to work. Not very 'cheesy' but it did impart a slightly creamy texture to the pies. The second had a brandy butter swirl on top. You could certainly taste the brandy, but perhaps there was a little too much icing sugar to make the brandy butter into butter-cream icing. No complaints though. They went down very well, especially with the last of the coffee.

The short walk means we have time to sit and chat (we are extremely good at that) until it is time to go. The wind is still howling and the rain looks to be set in for the rest of the night. We've probably done well to achieve what we have.