Monday, 3 April 2017


It's one of those beautiful spring mornings with sunshine and a clear sky. It's chilly, but great to be out. We are parked at one of our 'good' spots in a small parking bay next to the River Wye down from Monsal Head. Up there it is busy, but down here there's only one other car. There's enough to see already before we even get going. The daffodils are flowering and the views across the river are lovely.
We head, as usual, along the road towards the old mill which is now converted into an apartment complex. Here we veer right and start the steady climb up the road. It certainly starts to make us feel a bit warm, and PC pauses to remove a layer.
At the top of the lane where it hairpins we continue ahead on the rough track. Normally we would continue ahead through the gate, but this time we choose the steeply sloping right hand path up through the woods. It doesn't take us long to wonder if we've done the right thing.

Mollie may be finding the steep steps great fun, but for those of us with less bounce, they're a bit of a trial. PC removes another layer!
However, when we get to the top of the woods we are rewarded for our efforts. The fields are lush and green.

The views across to the cliffs over Ravensdale cottages are superb.
We skirt the wall and find our stile through, then we have a number of fields to cross. From the first we can see to Cressbrook dale, but I'm not in a mood to linger. There had been cows in these fields before and I want to get moving!

Fortunately, it's too early for them to be out yet, so we make it safely across this and the next few fields too before joining the track on the edge of Litton village. We walk along until we find our next path which leads us across more fields to the head of Tansley Dale.

Lunch beckons, but despite the sun it is rather chilly and we could do with some shelter. Ahead of us two ladies vacate what looks to be a perfect spot tucked under an outcrop, so we take their places.
We settle down with our sandwiches, coffee and buns, and a small warmer from the secret flask. That will need topping up soon.

With lunch over we walk down the valley to where it joins Cressbrook Dale, and we see the water. Yes, we've had a fair amount of rain recently but we hadn't quite expected there to be so much water. It's usually bone dry here, and we've only once seen it so inundated, and that was from the far end - and we hadn't been able to get through. We hope it doesn't block our way back.
The spread of water is quite extensive and we keep high up to avoid paddling.
There are ponds that look permanent, even though we know they aren't.
We head through the woods accompanied by the soothing sound of running water. The sunlight on the mossy green stones under the water is particularly stunning.
By the time we reach the narrow wooden footbridge there is quite a torrent, but at least it isn't flooded. But at the other side it is a quagmire. The farmer has clearly kept cattle on here through the bad weather, and they make full use of the footpath to access the water and shelter. Walking is really hard, and a couple of people go past us at a less cautious speed only for the man to slip down a few places in front. He gets up swiftly enough with seemingly little the worse for wear, other than muddy clothes and battered dignity.

We proceed with more caution and reach the safety of a solid track without mishap. From here we only need to walk up to join the lane at the hairpin bends then walk back along the road to the cars. It has been an excellent walk.

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