Today, we managed to get away a little earlier than of late, and were walking by 11:30. It was given as 'changeable' today, but the sky looked good and settled as we parked up at Monsal head to take a few pictures of the rape fields, absolutely perfect right now.
We then drove down Monsal dale to Cressbrook mill, where we left the car to start the walk.
The mill was derelict for years, but is now fully occupied. I have heard stories that the rooms are notoriously bad to heat, being so high. Also, they get precious little sunshine, especially in winter. Judging by the raft of 'for sale/to let' signs, a lot of people wanted out!
You can read up on it HERE
The quirky building next to the mill, a 'brew stop' which is only open at weekends.
Plenty of water coming over the weir today.
We'll be returning by the path under those limestone walls later today.
We climbed out of water cum jolly dale, and started up on the 'alpine path' above, so called because it's very like the ones in Europe that traverse mountains.
Maybe a bit of a grand title, but you DO have to take great care, as the drop down into the dale from the path is steep and only ends at the river!
Bluebells growing out in the open is more unusual than seeing them in their natural habitat - woods - but these were plentiful on the slopes.
This is the part where you DON'T take your eyes off the path!
Looking back, you can trace the alpine path on the flanks of that hillside (and see your fate, should you slip). The track below is the bed of the old Monsal trail, now re-opened. This bit is a very small section of only a couple of hundred yards between two tunnels.
Lots of orchids too, and some really good bunches.
Iffy part done, we could now relax and continue.
Our second mill of the day - Litton mill.
You can read up on it HERE
It was time to drop down into Millers dale to get across the river and make our way to our next dale - Tideswell. The walk down through the dappled light and VERY green path was a joy.
When we reached the bottom, the sun was really strong, with no breeze to cool us down here. We stopped to look at the trout lazily swimming at a standstill, waiting for food to come to them. Also, LOTS of butterflies. There were all the usual ones, but we also saw many orange tips (I love these), and a yellow brimstone. Butterflies are really hard to photograph in flight. This is the best I could do (if you click on it, you'll see a larger version). I got them both in the frame, but they are blurred in flight :-(
After a short amble along Millers dale, we turned up Tideswell dale and started to climb again, with the babbling sound of the stream on our left.
Last time we were here, there were HUGE amounts of snow. If you missed those pictures, and would like to see them, they are HERE
Today, it was all sunshine and flowers!
What's this? A HUGE mouse, or vole?
One of the sculptures done in wood in the dale.
We climbed out of Tideswell dale and, just before Tideswell, turned right and climbed up and out of Litton dale to go over the top fields, skirting Litton village, to make our way towards Tansley dale.
We dropped down that dale, into the huge Cressbrook dale, then followed the river.
The wild garlic was (again) not out for us yet, but you can see just how carpeted this dale bottom is with the plant.
Just the odd bunch was flowering.
Bluebells here too, obvious by their wonderful perfume.
At a small bridge, just before Ravenstor, we climbed again up and out of the lower dale.
We reached the road to Cressbrook village, and passed through. It just remained for us to drop back down into Millers dale bottom, to walk along water cum jolly dale to return to the car.
Looking across to where we were this morning, you can just see the Monsal head hotel through the gap in the trees.
Sue, on the grassy track down to Millers dale.
....and yours truly.
More orchids, with the buildings of Litton mill behind.
A stone chimney, a remnant of the mill, still stands on the hillside.
Absolutely CHAMPION campion!
A moorhen sits patiently on her eggs in water cum jolly dale..
The limestone buttresses of water cum jolly dale- a magnet for climbers.
The peaceful slack above the mill weir.
Then it was back to the car, with a stop at Monsal head to take this final shot of the evening sky over Longstone moors.