Thursday, 30 April 2015

An evening 'stroll' - 7 1/2 miles

After having no choice but to go to Chesterfield during the day, we felt cheated of a walk on our day off. However, with the nights now drawing out, we decided to go out locally for the last three hours of daylight. I'd seen a picture posted on facebook of bluebells in Cumbria. 'That's strange', I thought, 'they're usually at least two weeks behind us'! So, I needed to see if the bluebells were out in our local woods.
We left our cottage and dropped down into Bakewell town.
This is looking downstream on the river Wye, from the famous Bakewell stone bridge.

We wandered along the river, enjoying the cool but bright evening. It wasn't long before we saw them - a sea of blue! So - we HAD got our own show.

It was a joy to see them dancing in the breeze - LOADS of them, all around us.

It was also exciting to see this huge badger sett, at least twenty holes in it.

The smell, oh, the smell, simply divine!

We left the woods and crossed the fields towards Haddon hall. On the way, we saw this fine pair of horns.

This fallen tree shows the power involved - a strong, steel fence, crushed & flattened like so much matchwood.

Next, it was 'up and over' to Lathkill dale. We passed this fine barn on the way.

Looking back, a zoomed picture of Haddon hall.

Looking south from the path over the top, wonderful views this evening.

Then, after crossing a couple of more fields, we dropped down through the woods towards Lathkill dale. The evening sun creating long shadows.

Raper bridge, and a smiling Sue

The bridge and weir.

Then, after walking through trees and crossing Conksbury bridge, we entered the dale proper. 
This is one beautiful dale, especially so on a night like this.

Marsh marigold in profusion here.

A Pen, on her nest, incubating the next generation, is guarded by the Cob.

 The church at Over Haddon

We called into the local pub, the Lathkil hotel, and I just can't get to the bottom of WHY it only has one 'l' in its name?
The beer was nice though :-)
A short walk in the now evening chill brought us home for a well-deserved dinner.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Manifold valley walk.

Way back in 1970 is when it all started - I was taken to the Manifold valley on a school field trip, and fell in love! Some pals and I had a week camping and walking there after the school trip whetted our appetite, (and generally making nuisances of ourselves, getting lost, etc etc). As naughty teenagers do, I carved my initials in a barn door - and they are STILL there today (although painted over several times).

Ecton hall, where we parked the car to start the walk. This hall is striking in the fact it has a copper roof, and over time, this has oxidised so it's now green. If you click on the picture, you'll get a larger version, and can see this.

Simple starkness like this always takes my eye.

Early spring sees the blossom blooming.

Huge, blue skies was the order of the day, great for views and pictures.
A lot of the high walking in the Manifold valley is rewarding, as views are particularly good on a clear day,

The lovely little village of Butterton, sleepy today, with its ford across the road.

Sue debates whether to walk through a slippery-looking ford, or go via the footpath above.

The spire of Butterton church.

After Butterton, we dropped into a wooded grove. The path was difficult to find.
Sue tries to suss out if we are where we're supposed to be.

Me? I got my sandwiches out!

At Upper Elkstone, we saw this impressive bell on a private house that used to be a school, but this other one was on the small chapel.

Elkstone chapel and graveyard.

We were soon up high again, and the views were superb.

Two slight wisps were all the cloud we saw all day.

One of many Manifold barns, roofless and in need of some TLC.

Lots of sheep, but no sign of lambs here yet.

We dropped back into the valley as the evening sun was casting an orange glow over the hillside.

Wetton mill, where it all began back in 1970.

The ford at Wetton mill.

We walked along the valley floor in the dying light of the day, passing through an old tunnel from the days of the Manifold light railway.
You can read about it by clicking HERE

We reached the car shortly after the tunnel, and looked back on a sometimes 'challenging' walk, navigation-wise.

Here are a couple of well-hidden stiles on the route!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Crowden brook, towers & Kinder Scout.

On our first day off for two weeks, we hoped for good weather, and we got exactly that! It was just perfect for a bit of a grunt, not too warm, and with a light breeze. We decided to do Mount Famine and South head, via Jacobs ladder and Kinders' southern edge. However, due to not paying attention, we accidentally went up Crowden clough. We soon realised our mistake, but hey - we were in paradise, so getting a bit 'lost' was no problem. We set off to climb up to Kinder, then I'd re-assess the walk route and time available.

Highfield farm.

With it being the season, there were LOADS of new lambs about. This pair were lazing in the sun on the path. It was all they could do to stand up and move as we approached them.
You can click on any of the pictures for a larger version, or a slide show.

Wisps of cloud were clearing fast to reveal a vivid blue sky as we headed upwards.

The tantalizing view ahead drew us - it's always exciting to see the way ahead like this.

A wave from Sue as she crosses Crowden brook.

The last stile before the wild country begins.

This bizarre sight greeted us on the way up - a bunch of balloons trapped under a rock in the brook? Click on the picture to see them.

Crowden towers.
The path follows the brook to the top, but we decided to test our fitness and head straight up the severe climb directly to them.

Sue presses on up

We hit the top, and turned left, passing Crowden tower rocks, and the woolpacks rocks.
This really is weird and lunar up here. The wind and weather has shaped the rocks over the millenia, and I never tire of looking at the strange shapes.

This one really looks like a little dog!

Others like teeth.

Easter island?

A fallen rock forms a bridge.

We sat on the edge, near Noe stool rocks on our way to Swines back, and gave the route some thought.
The mount Famine thing was dead in the water now. We had added a tidy chunk onto our day, so I took the decision to cross the wild moor of Brown Knoll, making for the base of South head (where we would have come down, had we done the original route).

The walk across Brown Knoll was glorious, serenaded by our first skylarks, and lots of Curlew too.

Ahead, we saw the flanks of South head.

Instead of going up it, our path went left across the moor, heading south east towards quiet tracks.

Sue puts south head behind her as we tramped the tracks. We didn't see one other person here on this fabulous day.

Chapel-en-le-Frith to our right.

A lovely old, run down barn.

Although late evening, around six o'clock, the sun was probably at its strongest now, and we were feeling it. The hard shadows and great light made for perfect views and pictures. The stone walls like a black and white skeleton across the green fields.

We changed course at the road, and headed along another track, this time north east, crossed the brow of brown knoll, and saw this stunning view of Kinder ahead. Curlews still calling, we crested the last climb of the day.

It's just wow!, Isn't it?

We dropped back down to Barber Booth car park, arriving at the car at seven o'clock, with the sun still warm on our backs.
We both really needed this day, and it felt SO therapeutic to have had it.
Ten and a half miles, and over 2,200 feet of ascent made us tired but very happy.

A video of the final mile and descent on the track back down to Barber Booth.

A panorama