Monday, August 29, 2016

Fox House, Hathersage, and Bamford

It's been a Bank Holiday today and with the combination of pretty much a regular weekday service on the trains and a Sunday service on the buses it meant that I was able to be up on the moors very early; I arrived at Fox House at 08:45.

I got off the bus and immediately headed towards Burbage Rocks across the heather.

 I walked along the top of the rocks, frequently stopping to admire the view and take photographs.

As I approached Upper Burbage Bridge I could see many dozens of cars in the car park and parked on the side of the road, in laybys, on grass verges, and even on the moors themselves...I have never seen so many cars here - this was to be a portend as to what would come later.

I found a comfortable rock to sit on and eat my sandwiches and then studied the map before I decided where to go next. I headed off down to Hathersage.

Just after I took this next photograph I discovered something quite shocking, disturbing, puzzling, and upsetting.

I was, and still am, a bit unsure about even posting this online, and might subsequently delete it.

As I was walking down towards Hathersage I found a dead rabbit at the side of the path. Two neat holes had been cut in its side, one circular and the other oval shaped; I thought it prudent not to take any photographs, and certainly not to post any on the blog...I even hid my camera away deep in my rucksack and didn't get it out again until I reached Hathersage.  The wounds to the rabbit were done in a very professional manner, they certainly weren't done by wild animals or caused by crude butchery; my best guess is that some sort of machine surgically removed the organs.

I put all of this to the back of my mind and made quick time to Hathersage, only stopping briefly to photograph Scraperlow, an unusual large house, making sure there was no-one around to see me with my camera.

On the approach to the main part of the village I needed to cross the main Sheffield road in order to reach the pavement on the other side; it was dangerous to walk along the grass verge at this location. In both directions there was a non-stop flow of traffic and it took me five minutes to reach the other side.

I popped in to The Scotsman's Pack for a pint of Diet Coke on my way to visit the church; the drink was very refreshing and the patio where I sat outside is quite pleasant.

There are some nice views on the way to Bamford.

As I was walking down a steep narrow lane my day got even stranger. I had to step aside to let a large tractor pass; bizarrely it was pulling a large cage with about a dozen loud, raucous, probably drunk, well-dressed woman sitting on make-shift wooden benches...they might have even been shackled. When they saw me they all waved and yelled; I waved back - maybe they'd never seen a sweaty hiker before.

I arrived at the bus stop at Bamford fifteen minutes before the bus was due but one arrived almost immediately; it was the earlier bus that was forty five minutes late due to the heavy traffic.

I got on, of course.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ladybower Reservoir In The Rain

I was walking with Maureen and Chris from Leeds today; normally Jonathan would have been joining us, but his mum's in hospital at the moment and he's been visiting her.

This was my first walk since my diabetes diagnosis and needing to take tablets to lower my blood sugar level and I was glad not to be walking on my own...just in case I might have felt a bit unwell.

Fortunately I felt fine today. I wasn't happy about the weather though; it was forecast to stay bright until teatime - but by midday the rain had started and seemed to be set for the day.

It was actually quite bright when I got off the bus at Fox House. It wasn't long until Maureen and Chris arrived in the car and we drove past Bamford and up the Derwent Valley until we reached one of the free car parking areas with a vacant space.

We walked around the reservoir in a clockwise direction, keeping as close to the shoreline as possible.

Something very rare for the blog; a photograph of me, looking miserable in the rain, taken by Maureen.

As we were walking back along the road, only a few hundred yards from the car, the 273 bus passed us on its way to Yorkshire Bridge. I knew it would only be about twenty minutes until it would be returning up the valley on its way back to Sheffield and so bade goodbye to my friends and waited for my ride in a nice warm bus.

When I got on the bus I was a little bit surprised to see many walkers on it so early in the afternoon. Like me, they must have given up on the weather and decided to go home, at least a couple of them complaining about the weather forecast.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


A few hours in Nottingham today. I went in the car with Siobhan; we visited the Lace Market district, a part of the city I haven't previously visited. I usually go to the area where the castle is.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I've Been Diagnosed With Diabetes

I went to see the doctor this morning and was informed that I've got type II diabetes. Fortunately, at the moment anyhow, it can be kept in check with tablets, taking exercise, and watching what I eat.

I feel good, far too good for anyone with diabetes, so I might end up in even better health if my diabetes is kept under control. Appointments with the specialist diabetes nurse, at the eye clinic at the hospital, and with the dietitian need to be arranged...oh, and the chemist is going to call me next week because I'm newly diagnosed. 

I was told by the doctor to continue with my regular walking activities...well, except for the cake and the cream teas. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Foolow, Grindlow, Great Hucklow, Windmill, and Castleton

It's only been a couple of days since my last walk in the Peak District, but the weather has been good today...and I'm feeling good too. I'm really enjoying my extra stamina and increased level of fitness since I started taking the vitamin D supplement...and I've lost 9lbs and at least an inch round my waistline. I'm on fire!

As usual, when I got off the bus at Foolow there were several cars parked close to the duck pond, spoiling the view of the church and the nearby buildings. I did my best though to get some decent angles.

For the first time I managed to look inside the tiny church, a converted blacksmith's shop.

I walked across the fields to Grindlow where I sat on this bench and ate my sandwiches. It was a bit early, but it saves carrying them I guess.

It was only a short walk along the road to Great Hucklow, where I took photographs of The Manse and giant spiders scuttling across the gable end of an old farmhouse.

Just beyond the village I discovered a lovely grassy footpath which runs parallel to the road; previously I've walked along the road, which is quite narrow in places. Sometimes the path opened up to reveal larger spaces of grassland with fantastic views to the north. An information panel explained that all these areas are the remains of old mine workings.

I quickley passed through the hamlet of Windmill and then went down the lane which leads to High Rake Mine. There are quite substantial ruins here; unfortunately the underground passages are fenced off though.

Tideslow Rake is quite an interesting landscape, and is the largest in the Peak District; it's a bit of a climb to get to the top, near to the transmitter mast.

The final few miles to Castleton were along stretches of road, across high limestone grassland and tracks constructed using limestone chippings...which can be painful to walk on after a while.

I caught the three o'clock bus back to Sheffield. About thirty minutes later, as it was climbing up the hill from Hathersage, three separate alarms sounded...they were very loud. The driver got out of the bus at the top of the hill at Fox House and checked everything he could on the vehicle - the alarms were still sounding even with the engine switched off.

He tried to contact the depot by radio, but he couldn't reach them. A rather rude passenger waiting to be let on asked what the problem was; it turned out to be an overheating engine and brakes.

The driver decided to let the waiting passengers on and proceed with caution down the hill to Sheffield. The journey was slow and the engine was misfiring and backfiring as we juddered forward; this uncomfortable motion probably compensating for the fact that the brakes might not be working.

A few miles later at Whirlow, we came into radio range and the driver was able to contact the depot; the highlight of the conversation was, 'there's a flame lit up and flashing on the dashboard...I'm not sure what it means.'