Friday, 25 January 2013

Monsal snow walk

Although we'd had a walk the previous day, this was Tuesday, our official day off, so we geared up for another, longer snowy walk, this time around Monsal dale, Water cum Jolly dale, and Tideswell dale.
We parked up at Monsal head, and cast our eyes over this very wintry scene, looking up to Longstone moors. We can see these moors from our cottage, and it often acts as a weather forecaster to us.
I've just looked out of the window as I write this, and it’s still a blanket of white.

Oh no - the ice cream man has gone home!

This shot is ALWAYS a good one, the iconic view of the Monsal viaduct.

Not for the faint-hearted, the snowy and slippery path down to the bottom of the dale. Actually, as the snow wasn't frozen, but still a little powdery, it wasn't too bad.

Sue has a breather before continuing down.

Monsal dale, with a white skirt and a fair sky. The cold, blue river cuts through the white picture.

We dropped down onto the Monsal trail and viaduct, walked to the tunnel and, just as we were about to drop into Water cum Jolly dale, a woman told us there were some really good icicles in the tunnel. 

Cressbrook mill looked very good today.

This mill gets FAR more sunshine than its neighbour, Litton mill. There, they don't see the direct sun for three months of the year.

Now then, these icicles. Of course, we HAD to investigate, and I’m glad we did. It was incredible. Not just normal icicles, but ones that looked like curtains. 
That's one BIG icicle, Susie!

Looking back to the entrance with the initial icicle field.

This is what I mean by 'curtain icicle'.

We left the tunnel and stepped back into the bright sunshine. We followed the steep path down to the mill race & weir in Water cum Jolly dale.

Teasels doing an impression of an ice cream (vanilla, of course).

The robins were out in force today, and this one posed nicely on a branch for me.

The huge bowl of Water cum Jolly dale weir pool. You can see where the water has carved curves in the limestone walls over the millenia.

Walking up Water cum Jolly.

A smaller weir higher up, with icicles above it.

Berry nice.

Litton mill, now, like Cressbrook, private apartments.

Crab apples with crowns.

This looked amazing! I've never seen anything like this before. 

Even this plant which was up the wall vertically had an icy dressing. Click on it to see a larger picture.

We left the confines of the mill, walked up the dale a little before turning right up Tideswell dale.

A cold perch for this robin.

We saw more robins too, this one was in a hurry, and I JUST got the shot as he was leaving.

We sat in Tideswell dale in a surprisingly warm sun and had our lunch on that bench you can see on the right (after clearing the deep snow off it). It really could be described as ‘balmy’ sitting there.
We didn't cool off at all. It was really quiet and serene, just what we needed.

You can see a video of this peaceful scene here; PEACEFUL

It was hard to tell these were bracket fungi, they too had a topping of snow.

Deep snow all around.

Even the mineworkings were softened into pleasing mounds by the snow.

This avenue leads out of Tideswell dale to the road. We stayed in the fields, and headed for Litton but turned into the fields just before the village.

Now we were seeing some serious drifting on the exposed ground around us.

When I say deep, I mean DEEP!!

A panorama in the fields above Litton.
Click on it for full effect.

The scene from here onwards was very wintery and bleak-looking. This tree stood stark against the almost sepia backdrop.

Some of the stiles were made easier by this new 'snow step'.

A tractor had left beautiful imprints in the deep snow.

You can see a short video HERE

We made our way over the top of Cressbrook dale, with only one other set of footprints to guide us. The going was hard, as the path was at 45 degrees, so there was a lot of slipping and sliding going on. We ended up in Cressbrook village, and we then made our way back up to Monsal Head, with the dying rays of daylight picking out the viaduct.

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