Tuesday, 23 February 2016


Again we opt for a familiar parking spot which is quite busy, although it is the school holidays and looking like it is going to be a good day.

With the sun shining we set off down the main road; a bit of a trial with only a narrow path at the side of the A57 to keep us out of the path of the hurtling traffic, but we soon make it to the crossing place at Cutthroat Bridge.

We go through the gate at the side of the bridge and the first thing we notice is the amount of rubbish dumped next to Ladybower Brook. Plastic boxes, bags, all sorts. Some people don't deserve to come into the countryside.

We go up the rocky path then drop down to the so-called ford over the fast flowing water of Highshaw Clough. Mollie leaps back and forth a few times before we find some stones to cross over dry-shod, then we climb up the short slope and onto the path that runs parallel with the main road.

There is an old waymarker stone on this path (mentioned on a previous post), just after the rather high ladder stile, that indicates that this was once the main route from Sheffield.
Now there are just fields and sheep, and a few walkers like ourselves and the couple behind us with their two dogs. The sheep are not impressed.
Before the path meets Moscar House we turn left (fortunately through the gate, the stone stile looks a bit too intimidating) and start the long but fairly gentle climb up onto the moor and the access land.

There are wonderful far-reaching views here, and we are making such good time that we decide to find a boulder and stop for a coffee. And a nip from the secret flask. Today's treat: vanilla vodka.

We debate staying around for lunch, we are in a lovely spot with the sun shining down on us, but we decide to move on and lunch later.
It's a steady walk up the hill and there are quite a few people about though, fortunately, not too many. There are grouse aplenty though, clearly the shooters haven't had them all. The grouse butts are fenced off which is a shame, in poor weather they do provide a handy refuge for walkers.

We reach the top south of the Wheel Stones where there is a signpost and a choice of routes. Instead we step forward a little way to enjoy the splendid views of the Derwent Valley and Ladybower.
Even as we walk along the ridge the views are still superb, although the weather is starting to close in a little.
Lunch beckons so we take a narrow track off towards the Hurkling Stones. There's quite a brisk breeze blowing now and it will be good to eat out of the wind.
We settle down with sandwiches, coffee and today's bun: apple and cinnamon muffins. They are very big and one of my favourites, but I bought them yesterday and they are better fresh. But they still go down well, and Mollie enjoys finishing off the crumbs.

By the time we have finished it is starting to look a bit grim and we suspect the odd flake of snow to be blowing on the wind. We descend down to Whinstone Lee Tor and take the left hand path back along the moor.
 This always tends to get muddy, especially down nearer its bottom reaches, and today is no exception. We meet a small group who make a great fuss of Mollie, which she loves, then we are off again, glad not to be just setting out as they are.

We retrace our steps down to Cutthroat Bridge and across the road as the clouds gather. By the time we get to the cars there is a very fine drizzle falling, not enough to soak you through but enough to make it unpleasant, especially when coupled with the wind. So we are feeling pretty smug that we have missed it and enjoyed a largely clear and sunny walk.


Sunday, 14 February 2016


We're keeping to roughly the same area this week, but parking up on the road that runs from Grindleford to Fox House at a roadside space next to the stile leading to Burbage Brook at Lawrence Field. There is a bus stop across the road, and a barn which may or may not be a shelter.

Once again we have failed to make any detailed plans, other than where to park and meet, so we're pretty much making it up as we go along.

Mollie doesn't like the road very much, some of the traffic really whizzes past, so we make haste to get our gear on and cross the road. The gate is next to the bus stop and we walk up the slight slope to the barn. A couple of ladies are trying to get into it; we don't bother.

We're on a path in Longshaw and despite the confusion of paths on the ground and on the map we find we are successfully heading towards the pond (or Lake as it is grandly termed) at the top of Granby Wood. An information point shows an old photo of WW1 soldiers boating on the lake. As PC pointed out, they wouldn't be rowing very far! The lake is built up, it is higher than the path, but that doesn't seem to bother the ducks.

Instead of following the path around which leads to the house we veer off on the right hand path, which isn't actually visible on the ground, and head through the sparse plantation on the springy grass. Before long we reach a 'proper' path and follow that a little way, forking right when we have an option.

Soon we are in woods again and quite high up. We can see Padley below us. It is rather muddy in the woods, hardly surprising given the amount of rain we have had, so when it looks as though our way is down on a very slippery slope we look around for an alternative. Luckily we see a gate to our left in a stone wall and we head towards it. It brings us out above Oak's Wood on some rough scrub. There are some soggy patches, and a fast running stream to traverse. 

We look around for somewhere to stop that isn't heavily waterlogged, and in the end we manage to find a large boulder. Out comes the coffee and sandwiches and the buns. Oh yes, the buns. PC's turn to choose them today and she has excelled herself. They are fresh cream chocolate muffins - with spiced orange. Delicious and worth every calorie!

There is a light rain falling, the kind of drizzle that you barely notice until you are soaked through, so we pack up, recross the stream and head downhill. This looks as though it could be a bit precarious with all the mud, so Mollie is let off the lead so she doesn't drag me downhill faster than I want to travel.

Eventually we reach the bottom (we have done this in reverse some time ago and it was a lot easier going uphill than down) and the road, the last few 'steps' being a bit on the steep side. We're at Nether Padley now (more or less) and a short distance from Grindleford railway station.

We cross the road with care, cars can take you by surprise on here, and go down the walkway towards the station. No trains just now, we pass the station platforms and reach Burbage Brook. We choose to cross rather than take the footpath up the eastern side, and admire the garden and properties on the other side.

From here the route is familiar. We turn right up the rough road, at the top of which an extremely impressive dwelling is being constructed. We go through the gate at the top and are back in woods.

The first bit is uphill but it eventually levels off. The water below us is running fast and there is an impressive waterfall running into the brook. It is surprising how quickly we reach the top of the rise and the boulder strewn moorland of Lawrence Field. We are tempted to linger, the sun is making a brief appearance for the first time today, but we decide to return to the cars instead.

It appears we made a good choice, once settled back at the cars the soft rain that has been on and off all day decides to come down a little heavier. 

We're missing next week, but hopeful that we'll be able to make it the week after.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Due in part to our lack of exploration last week, and also the prospect of a dodgy pay and display machine giving us cheap parking, we once again meet up in the Surprise View car park with a vague plan of action  to enjoy a more scenic route today.

We're still in luck, the parking machine will still only let us pay for one hour (card payments only!) which we duly do before preparing to set off. There are still remnants of snow and a heavy frost tucked into the tussocks of grass and shady side of rocks. The wind is a chill one too, but at least the sun is shining today - and it has brought out a fair few walkers too.

We head off on the path that rises up through the sparse woods at the back of the car park and climb carefully up the rocks. Fortunately millstone grit isn't slippery, unlike the White Peak's limestone.

Mollie finds a toy to play with and we head onwards on the path towards Mother Cap. We detour off to the right as a chatty family group start to catch up with us. They aren't well dressed for walking so we guess they won't be going too far, we move away to let them overtake us as we explore the stones on the right of the moor before winding back to the path.

Mother Cap is a very distinctive - and much climbed - natural monument of stone, visible for miles.

We walk around it and continue along the path heading towards Windyards Nick. Now we are on the same route as last week, only with a better view.

We can see for miles, and we have a brief debate on whether the birch wood (pictured) could, in certain atmospheric conditions, seem to appear near the enclosure/sheepfold on Hathersage Moor, which is still some way off. PC says Yes. I say No.

We reach the aforementioned sheepfold and take the route around its southern edge and head towards Higger Tor.

It's always a bit of a huff and puff climbing up here, but the views towards Carl Wark are worth it.
It is quite busy on the top of the Tor, and a bit too chilly too. We start to make our way down on the other side as PC declares that we need to head into the coniferous woodland through which Burbage Brook runs. It is, she says, a non-negotiable stopping place (for obvious reasons).

Fortunately we find a comfortable spot in the woods where we are out of the wind and out of sight (more or less) and although it would be nice to say it was peaceful the constant yelling and screaming of a school-group up on the Tor carries for miles. 

However, it is good spot for lunch and coffee, and the much anticipated buns (cinnamon swirls - more cinnamon next time, please).

With lunch over we have a brief debate as to where to head next and choose, to go down to the brook and cross over. This turns out to be one of our less successful ideas. Whereas there is a visible path on the other side reaching it is probably only possible for those possessing greater agility than ourselves.

To begin with we have to negotiate the lumber left over from the felling of swathes of the wood (either last year or the year before) then find that the brook is flowing fast and deep. Any stones that might prove useful for crossing are either submerged or covered in slippery moss. We decide, instead, to follow a sort-of path at the side of the brook - we clearly aren't the only ones who have trod this way.

It is a bit up and down, and a bit uncertain in places, but we never actually find a place to cross. And again we end up having to scramble over heaps of discarded branches. We end up letting Mollie off the lead to make her own way, there aren't any sheep about and she is much better left to her own devices.

Eventually, though we come in sight of the little footbridge that takes the main path off of Carl Wark. It is quite muddy in places as a young couple, not ideally dressed for a day out, discover when she slips down. Unharmed, though, they continue up towards Carl Wark as we cross the bridge.

A new bridge has been built here recently, looking quite stark against the muted hillside. 

We walk up to the  main path running under Burbage Rocks and aren't at all surprised that there are so many people walking here. It is an easy route, and we make good time to the end of the road and the path. 

Once over the road we go through a gate into the edge of the Longshaw Estate, turn right to follow the road then through another gateway and across a stone clapper-type bridge.

We follow the familiar route down and skirt the lower reaches of Burbage Brook, following it until we turn right on the high-banked path leading us back to the car park.

We have made pretty good time, and made so much more of the walk than last week. Fingers crossed we'll do as well next week.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


To say that the conditions aren't promising for our first walk of the New Year would be an understatement. But, then again, it could be worse. It is cold and murky, but at least it isn't raining - yet.

We meet in the Surprise View car park, and as a pleasant surprise the parking machine isn't working properly so we can only pay for an hour even though we intend to stay longer. We leave short missives on our windscreens just in case a warden comes by to check, although we have never seen one.

Mollie is keen to be off on a walk and even though we don't exactly have anything planned set off to the gate at the top of the car park and on the clear track through the heather. We have a lot of catching up to do so it is just as well that we don't have to worry about finding our way. And Mollie can go off the lead for a while as there are no sheep on this moor at the moment.

PC is happily taking some photos, although the views hardly merit it on this grim day, and we reach the Millstone Edge with the fence to stop anyone falling over! I believe ravens nest here during the spring/summer months.

We walk along the fence line, still intent with our catching up, then as the path levels out we strike off to our right on a less distinct path that leads up onto the Over Owler Tor rocks. We've been here many times before and know that we need to pick our way carefully down the steep slope as the rocks can quickly roll away under your feet, and we have the added bonus of ice as well today.

PC realises (with a curse) that the memory card from her camera has been removed (hands up the guilty party!) and not put back. Hoping the camera has an internal memory she nevertheless resorts to her camera phone.

Once on the level we resume our way heading towards Winyards Nick, a depression visible for some distance and the place where paths cross. We continue ahead and approach the only enclosed field on this stretch of moor (and where we once encountered the Woods That Were Not There - we must write that up sometime). Needless the say the ethereal woods were not making an appearance for us on this walk despite the mist starting to descend.

We decide to veer left here and stop under a small stand of trees for a quick nip from the flask. It's orange gin, and it takes me by surprise - I was expecting Ramblers!

Then PC discovers, to her dismay, that her phone battery is flat! Ah well, my phone is working so we have to use that as a last resort. Not that there is anything particularly scenic to photograph.

We take the path straight on (as seen in the photo) as we only have a limited amount of time today so a longer walk is out of the question. And, surprisingly, there are a lot of people out today. It can't be the weather that has attracted them!

We walk along with the Over Owler Tor ridge to our left as the misty clouds descend even further. However, we find some convenient boulders and decide to stop for coffee, which morphs into lunch. There is probably a good view here on a clear day. Today is not that day.
The buns, though, are definitely worth the wait and are perhaps the most picturesque item of the day. 

It is biting cold sitting here so we don't linger for too long. We continue along the path as visibility reduces even further. I'm glad we aren't out on an unfamiliar moor.
At one point the path forks, and we decide to take the 'high' road. It turns out to be a good choice. Athough both paths would undoubtedly take us back to our starting place, eventually, this one is by far the easiest and most direct.

Before long we are striding up the short rise and are soon above Millstone Edge again. The views behind us are most unimpressive.

It isn't far to walk back now but we are surprised at how foggy it has become. At least we are back at the car park in plenty of time - enough time to sit in the slightly warmer environment of the car to continue our conversation. And then it starts to rain. We have done well to miss that.
But it has had to be a short walk and it is time to go. We'll meet again next week (fingers crossed) when we might be able to venture a little further.