Saturday, 26 March 2016


One of our frequently visited walks this week as we are on a tighter than usual time schedule, and Stanage fits the bill perfectly. 

We meet up in the car park at Burbage Bridge and spend a while in the car catching up with important news and eating chocolates (a pre-Easter present from Mollie). We also bemoan the chill here, which neither of us felt when we left our respective homes. So it is on with the layers against the chill.

Suitably fortified with chocolates we set off up the road a little distance then cross over onto the path leading to Stanage Edge.

The weather isn't brilliant, but it isn't raining and there is the odd glimmer of sunshine. There are also a lot of people out. Yes, this is a popular spot, but it is maybe also an indication of the looming Easter holidays. Some people are clearly already enjoying the break.
The one thing you can guarantee on Stanage is the view in all directions. Of course, Mollie isn't interested in the view, only in the dog biscuits in my pocket!
It's a short stroll up to the trig point and surprisingly there is no one else there - at the moment, anyway. So we walk over to it to enjoy even more views.
We are on the very tip of the Edge here and although we have walked its entire length in the past we won't be doing that today.
Today is an easy day; lots of talking and no need to even bother with the map. 
As usual, it is very windy up here (when isn't it?) so we hunt for somewhere to sit that is reasonably sheltered. Eventually we find some rocks that are close to the edge but away from the main path. We enjoy a nip from the secret flask, then a superb coffee before eating our lunch.

Just before we are about to start our pudding course we are joined by a climber who has had a bit of a scary ascent of the rocks (or so he informs us as he stands at the rocks just behind us). We don't feel it would be fair to start pudding yet, so we wait until he has finished talking and moved away.

Out come the puddings; pots of profiteroles - choux pastry, fresh cream, caramel sauce and chocolate sauce. So yummy. And they must look good to Mollie too as she is drooling, until she is allow an almost empty pot to lick clean.

Suitably replete we walk on, continuing a little further along the length of the Edge.
There are so many people about now, though. And Mollie makes a fuss of everyone, thoroughly enjoying the attention she is getting.

Eventually though, with our eye on the time, we turn back the way we came, retracing our steps until we find the path before the trig point that leads down.
Within a few paces we are on a level again, with no one else on this path being a bonus.

On the Edge to our left, and on the ground too, we find abandoned mill stones all cut and ready to move when the market for them dried up. A sign of the industrial past in this area.

 We continue along the path until it meets the road, then cross over and through a very tight kissing gate (difficult with a rucksack on) which leads us across the land between this road and the next. We are very close to the roadside edge of Higger Tor now.

Once again we go through one gate, cross the road, then back onto moorland through another. Now it is a straightforward walk following the contours of the roadside fence until we are back at the car park. 

We have timed it perfectly, we are back with 10 minutes to spare.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Something a bit different this week, another trip around a route we haven't done before. It shouldn't be too much of a strain but we are keen to avoid the wet ground and slippery limestone given the amount of rain we have had lately.

We park at out usual spot on the road leading down to Great Longstone. There's a couple of other cars there, but not many, and the main car parks are deserted.

We go across to the toilets at the back of the pub before walking past the bar with its enticing foodie smells and stand overlooking the Monsal Head Viaduct. No matter how many times we see it we don't tire of the view.

It is a bit grim today, though. Any hope of sunshine seems to be lost in the damp. Still, we go through the wall and take the path to the left, then turn left again on a narrower path that regains the height we have just lost.
We climb up and find we are only a few yards away from the pub car park, but there isn't a short cut and this is the only way through.

And, we are beginning to discover, the ground underfoot is slick with mud. This could turn out to be an interesting walk.
The path is heads between a couple of stone walls but where we have to walk is slippery along its length, and boggy in places. It is fairly level, which is a bonus, as we wouldn't fancy our chances having to climb in this.
Even the fields are boggy. We meet a few people on this walk too, a sure sign that it is easily accessible and not too strenuous.

Until I am chatting away and suddenly realise that there is no PC answering. She has succumbed to the mud and has slid (gracefully, she informs me) onto the grass verge. With the slow descent she was able to avoid landing in the mud, and fortunately she hasn't hurt herself. Once on her feet we are on our way again, but a little more cautiously.
The paths are fairly easy to follow, and it is only when we come to a 'junction' that we have to consult the map. Our route is straight ahead onto Pennyunk Lane.
It is only a rough track to begin with, though thankfully not as slippy, but that soon gives way to a firmer track - and we have to stand out of the way as a LandRover comes out of the adjacent farm.

The lane leads us down to the very edge of Ashford in the Water, a part of the village that we have never seen before, but we are no sooner there than turning left onto a tarmac road, then hopping over a stile  (with a lot of breathing in) to cut the corner off by going through a field, then another stile onto the next road which we cross to reach the next footpath.

We are surprised as we are almost in sight of the Monsal Trail here, and have completed the bulk of our walk in double quick time. Sadly there isn't anywhere to sit for lunch, everywhere is too soggy, and it has started to drizzle. So we press on.

Sure enough, we are soon mounting the stone stile onto the trail where we decide to walk towards Bakewell in the hope of finding somewhere to sit.

As it is we are at the far side of the Great Lonstone bridge over the trail before we decide that we had better sit on the mossy wall for our lunch. We are tucked away just enough from the main foot traffic and the rain has stopped.

Coffee, sloe vodka, sandwiches and bun - this time an exceeedingly indulgent double chocolate cheesecake slice each. Very very yummy but it even feels fattening! 

We definitely need to walk off the buns so we set off back down the trail ignoring the path over the fields towards Little Longstone but keeping straight on towards the tunnels. As we approach the tunnel there is a spectacular sight of water running through the moss on the walls of the cutting.

Eventually PC manages to capture a picture to her satisfaction before we go into the tunnel. The wind is certainly whistling through here today and we (I) are being dripped on from the roof.
We reach the far side of the tunnel and turn right up the slope leading towards the head again.
And really, the views haven't changed at all!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Yes, the title of the post gives away our destination this week, but also our surprise. I don't think we have ever walked on or near Eyam Moor without a hint of rain; and to be honest, it is usually torrential! So sunshine is a bonus.

As is the heavy frost that lies like a thin covering of snow all around here. So yes, it is chilly, time for plenty of layers.

We park on the rough track on Sir William Hill Road and by the time we are out of the cars the only other vehicle, a huge lorry almost blocking the entrance to the track, has moved on.

Already the views are splendid and we are so looking forward to the walk. We climb over the stile - they never seem to get any smaller! - and take the path straight ahead that skirts the drystone wall. Looking over the wall we can see for miles.
It is a good job that it is so frost as the boggy patches on the path, of which there are many, have a crispy surface which prevents us being mired in mud. We still have to employ some nifty footwork in places though as there are deeper puddles that are ready to embrace the unwary.
We continue along the wall-line even though in places the path is a deep hollow where rainfall has eroded the soil and rock, but at least the potential for mud is behind us. There are a few more walkers about today, but that is hardly surprising given what a glorious day it is.

At the end of the path we turn right and clamber over another very high stile. We have views straight ahead of Bretton Clough with Abney on our right. We turn right along the wide path with a steep drop down to Bretton Clough on our left.
This is an easy, fairly linear path that has yet another stile before taking us down by easy steps towards Highlow Brook. The last stretch, on a steep muddy path that has frozen over, is a bit tricky but we manage it without mishaps.

At the bottom we reach the wider path that runs alongside Bretton Brook/Highlow Brook but rather than taking the right hand turn towards Stoke Ford we turn left instead in the general direction of Bretton.

We are under the trees here, but the sunlight is filtering through and it is lovely. The path is rising slowly and the stream is getting lower and further away from us. Soon we are out in the open again, brown scrub and lingering frost.
Once we turn a descending corner though we know we have found the right spot for lunch. We are in Bretton Clough, the sun is shining, there is Bretton Brook, there are trees, and there is also a very conveniently placed drystone wall to sit on.

We have a drop out of the secret flask first, the remains of the vanilla vodka, then out comes coffee, sandwiches and bun. PC's buns - chocolate muffins with fresh cream - are greeted with great anticipation. Until she says they have cherry in them. I hate cherry, so we follow the pantomime of dissecting the muffins to remove the cherry conserve (which Mollie devours with relish - are dogs supposed to like fruit jams?) because I am determined to enjoy the chocolate and cream bit. I won't give up on the buns without a fight!

It is tempting to linger in this spot, we have the sun on us and it is lovely, but the odd cloud keeps passing over and with it a chill, so we pack up our things. As we are about to head off we see some hang-gliders floating silently in the sky above us, and then a buzzard soaring with much less effort and more grace. We watch the bird until it spirals higher and out of sight. 

From here the path is pretty straight forward but clearly not that well used. On the map there are a number of side paths with only a hint of them on the ground. We continue ahead until we cross a small bridge then turn left through a gate and up through the woods.

It is a bit steep but soon we are out above the trees and over another stile onto a path that runs behind a farm and fields. Pretty soon we are out onto a lane and we are at Nether Bretton. We are briefly tempted by the eggs for sale at the house but instead, after a quick consultation of the map, turn left onto the rutted byway skirting Bretton Moor and leading back towards Sir William Hill Road.

There is still ice on the puddles here, and in places it is deeply rutted where it has been used by 4x4 vehicles. Also there is more cloud cover passing over so the temperature has dropped.

When we reach the 'crossroads' we debate briefly whether to go on the path past Stanage House which leads back onto Eyam Moor, but decide against it. We'll stick to this track which runs onto the Sir William Hill Road with only a few steps on the tarmac road to negotiate.

The stroll along the last part of the track is easy and pleasant. We're still getting bursts of sunshine which has taken most of the frost from the surrounding fields and moors although a little still lingers under the shady wall bases.

A great walk, possibly more so because we haven't been subjected to the weather Eyam Moor usually throws at us. It is a surprise to get back to the cars dry!