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!

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