Winter is coming and the weather to match it; cold, windy, damp and murky. We have decided on an old familiar route today, one we haven't done for a while, but when we meet up at the Upper Burbage Bridge car park we are quite surprised to find very little company. This is usually extremely popular at all times of year so it is most unusual for there to be only two or three cars there.
We pull on plenty of layers this morning, the wind is distinctly chilly, the sky is very overcast and rain is a constant threat, so we add our water proofs on top to make sure we aren't caught out. Mollie is eager to walk, this is her first with us for a while.
Braving the road we cross over the bridge and onto the path choosing to go up onto the lesser used Burbage Moor track. There are plenty of puddles and boggy bits from the overnight rain, and we meet a few walkers too. The path down below Burbage rocks seems to be unused (it is usually the 'busy' path) and we soon discover why. Diggers, workmen and even a helicopter are down by Burbage Brook clearing the conifers and making 'improvements'. The path will be closed - in the week only - for quite some time.
We are untroubled for now by the closed path and continue on our way admiring the view and (no surprise here) talking. We decide not to stop to eat until we are on the far side of the brook, but that doesn't stop us pausing for a warming nip from the secret flask. Today PC attempts to guess the contents, without success. It is Sloe and Apple Vodka made with apples from the garden and some sloes left over from the gin making. It has turned out well, and I certainly prefer it to the Sloe Gin.
Suitably warmed we press on to the end of the trail, out of the gate and onto the road for a short stretch. We cross over the brook at Burbage Bridge and take the stile at the other side, clamber uphill at the side of Toad's Mouth then find ourselves a sheltering rock face where we can sit and eat lunch.
The rain is making more of an effort now so we don't linger too long. Spiced vanilla latte makes a change from ordinary coffee, then sandwiches, followed by lovely custard Danish pastries. The pastry is so light we feel as though we have hardly indulged, but we don't inspect the calorie count!
From here we continue up to the top of the small ridge then follow a path along Hathersage Moor, picking our way carefully and reflecting on how easy it would be to become lost. We walk up onto Carl Wark and admire the huge boulder-like stones on its northern side. Then it is a straight path to Higger Tor which, as usual, defies a straight and easy ascent as we make our own route and scramble through the rocks.