We're back in action. After being hampered by holidays and illness we are staging a comeback, and aren't about to be put off by the presence of a few inches of snow. However, given that some roads still have a lethal amount of ice on their untreated surfaces we are opting for the safe option of Chatsworth.
We pull into Baslow car park only to find it covered in ice and with a lot of cars arriving for an organised walk. At PC's suggestion we move out and decide to try the main house car park at Chatsworth, hopefully avoiding the high probability of one of the very worried looking drivers running into us!
It takes us a while to gear up, pulling on sufficient layers to keep out the chill and wet.
We amble up towards the Stables area, find it virtually empty apart from some workmen at the toilets and ducks on the frozen water feature. Then we take one of the well-cleared paths down the car park towards the main house entrance and park.
There are plenty of photo opportunities today, the whole landscape is transformed and the structure of Capability Brown's design really seems to come to the fore.
The River Derwent winding along the front of the House is iron grey providing stark contrast to the white blanket of snow punctuated by the near-black silhouettes of the trees.
We pause to have a look at Queen Mary's Bower, constructed in the 1550s by Bess of Hardwick and reputedly named for Mary Queen of Scots who was briefly held prisoner at Chatsworth in 1569 with the Bower being one of her favourite spots.
We come to the bridge where two Japanese tourists are taking dozens of photographs. We take a couple before moving on. In the distance we spot a herd of deer but they are too far away to see clearly.
As we trudge higher - walking in deep snow isn't the easiest surface - we are getting better views behind us to the house and the majestic Emperor Fountain which is reaching straight up into the wind-free sky.
Leaving the bench behind - ready cleared for the next walker wanting to pause - we head towards Edensor village. The slope down to it looks very inviting, if potentially lethal, and a couple are sledging. What a shame we don't have a sledge, it looks such fun!
When we arrive at the snow covered path we turn left back towards the house, then deviate through the trees, cross the road and start walking through what we consider to be the main part of the park in front of the house. Ahead are another herd of deer and as PC waits with Mollie I decide to try to get a little closer to them.
It is hard to stay hidden in snow and the deer watch me suspiciously as I slowly walk towards them - hiding behind conveniently placed trees doesn't fool them one bit. But I do manage to get quite close even though I am being constantly watched. They obviously decide that I'm not much of a threat, armed only with a rucksack and a camera.
On the bench we fetch out the fresh cream eclairs which are, as PC momentously points out, the perfect shape for eating when on a walk. No fiddling, messing or crumbling. Just total, unfussy indulgence. We finish the coffee then set off again towards the Mill. Before we reach it, though, we spot a heron on top of the weir and manage a photo before it flies away.
The Old Corn Mill, built in 1760 and in use until 1950, still has the old rusty remains of its last wheel in situ. Today we can hear, and see, the water rushing through it.
We aren't long, though, before we're walking over the bridge and back up the drive towards the car park. Activity is slowing here as people are heading away and we soon follow them.
It has been a good day; PC can still feel the effects of her virus but the walk has been just enough for her without over-exerting herself, and it has been worth the effort to see the snow in the park.