Tuesday, 23 February 2016
CUTTHROAT BRIDGE AND PAST THE GROUSE BUTTS
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.