Wednesday, October 19, 2016

High Bradfield, Low Bradfield, Rails, and Malin Bridge

I got off the bus at High Bradfield, took some photographs and then walked down a short footpath from the church to the steep road that goes down to Low Bradfield. According to the map there's another footpath a little further down the road which then would have taken me across the fields to Low Bradfield: I couldn't find it, so the road had to do.

I followed the southern shore of Damflask Reservoir for a few hundred yards until I took one of several paths up to the road. I was hoping to locate the path that would lead me uphill to Oaks Lane. This turned out to be the second footpath I missed and so had to do about an extra quarter of a mile walking along the road until I reached Low Woodhouse. Low Woodhouse is just a farm, but it's quite interesting; the footpath goes through a couple of homemade gates and then you're in the orchard where you have to make your own way towards the back garden and then up the drive and away from the property. The reason why I state that this part of the walk is interesting is because the owner of the property has positioned several interesting displays of old agricultural equipment and implements in the garden; for people to look at I presume - there must be at least a dozen, all painted in bright colours.

The next few miles until I reached Rivelin Valley required me to regularly consult the map. There's a complicated network of footpaths, byways, green lanes, tracks and minor roads to be navigated. In places there are some nice views though, my particular favourites are the views towards Hillsborough.

When I started walking down the Rivelin Valley I noticed that some new information points had been installed.

I was ready for a pot of tea when I reached the cafe, which is run by the 'Pudding Ladies.' There were a lot of delicious [I should imagine] and very well presented cakes, but since my diabetes diagnosis I have to forego this little pleasure. As I was sitting at my table I had an excellent view of one of the young women who works there, she was very lithe and petite and was sitting in the lotus position on a high, narrow shelf and occasionally moving her hands when she was writing all the different types of coffee that the cafe sells, on a large blackboard. I was intrigued as to how she would get down; I thought it would be rude to stay when I'd finished my tea...and anyhow I wanted to get back to Sheffield before the rush hour.

A few minutes later I arrived at a chair that I wouldn't be able to sit on, a piece of outdoor art positioned on an inaccessible rock in the middle of the river.

I got a seat on the tram to Sheffield Railway Station, but I had to stand for most of the way on the train back to Doncaster.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gringley-on-the-Hill, Clayworth, Hayton, Tiln, and Retford

A local North Nottinghamshire walk today; the weather forecast for areas further east was slightly better than it was for the Peak District.

I've never been to Gringley-on-the-Hill before; it's one of the nearest villages to Doncaster that I hadn't set foot in until today. I've travelled through a couple of times on the bus though and taken the bypass which skirts the village quite a few times when I've been in a car. It's certainly worth spending a bit of time there, it's lovely and the views from the summit of Beacon Hill are far reaching.

Here's a link to a short video panorama I filmed on the summit.

When I got off the bus it was still quite misty and murky so I decided to walk over to an area where some conker trees [horse chestnut] were growing and sit down on the bench and eat some of my sandwiches. There were hundreds of large conkers on the ground everywhere, not just here but in several other places throughout the village. 

There were still a few conkers on the trees though.

Fifteen minutes later, when I had finished eating and got up to go and explore, the sun was shining.

It was a bit boring following a farmer's track and then walking alongside the edges of fields as I left Gringley and headed for Clayworth, there were some woodland stretches though.

I was hoping to see the Traquair Murals at Clayworth, but the church was closed, as were all the other churches I visited today apart from St. Swithun's in Retford...and I didn't go inside there.

I then crossed over the canal and walked along the towpath on the other side; there were a lot of boats moored today - some of them had come a long way.

It had been cloudy at Clayworth, and it was cloudy when I reached Hayton too; there had been a pleasant spell of warm sunshine as I walked along the Chesterfield Canal though.

The old gravestones at the back of the churchyard were having a party; irrespective of their ages they were all dancing, giving it their all and having a right old shindig.

Another boring stretch across the fields to Tiln, where I couldn't find my intended footpath; so I just continued walking towards Retford.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Peak District Videos...And Meeting Mountain Bikers

I watch a lot of videos online which are filmed in the Peak District. The main types I watch are the commercially produced ones featuring specific locations or attractions, hiking videos, family days out...and my favourites, mountain biking videos, especially those featuring fast and dangerous steep downhill sections. To be honest, some of the walking videos are a bit boring.

I frequently see and meet mountain bikers when I'm walking, and apart from a couple of thoughtless idiots racing down a hillside above Ladybower Reservoir, the vast majority of them have been pleasant, courteous, and thoughtful, and of course very good at what they do. I'm a ballet fan, and a lot of their moves are very balletic, and interesting and beautiful to watch; not just the technicalities of the riding, but also precariously balancing on rocks, jumping from one rock to the next and how quickly, efficiently, and elegantly they are able to lift their bikes over stiles or get off and open, and then close, a gate. At times it looks as though it's all been choreographed.

If I see them approaching and I'm able to reach a gate I'll hold it open for them, staying a few seconds to watch, encouraging them to keep up their speed and maybe even put in a spectacular leap for's all part of the fun of a day out on the moors for me.

I can't be this positive about all the different groups that I come across in the countryside though, maybe I'll write about them in future blog posts. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tideswell To Bradwell

Because of some poorly laid out roadworks at Fox House the bus arrived at Tideswell nearly ten minutes late. After going to the toilets [which were immaculately clean] I made my way to the southern end of the village where I located the footpath I would be using. 

I took a few photographs.

The last of these three photographs was taken as I was looking back at the village after having climbed over a stile when I was walking across the fields. It shows the council houses in the foreground; each of the larger villages in the Peak District has a similar estate, usually hidden away on the edge of the village.

After alternating sections of walking along well-maintained grass lanes and then across more fields I arrived at the road which tumbles down in to the entrance to Peter Dale.

Peter Dale can be a bit difficult underfoot along certain stretches and walking along here was the most challenging part of the walk; at times I had to concentrate hard and watch where I was putting every step.

Next up was Hay Dale; you could jog along most of this dale; it's grassy and a very even surface, I then took the steep track which leads uphill towards a minor road which I walked along until I reached the junction with the A623 trunk road.

As I'd expected, there were some lovely views of the White Peak countryside.

I then followed the route of the Limestone Way for a few minutes and then turned to the east across the fields and along the road to arrive at Bradwell Moor; a featureless grassy expanse with lots of old mineshafts. Although the land isn't fenced off it's not Access Land; for your safety you do need to stick to the footpaths.

I walked along a short stretch of road, marked as 'Batham Gate', a Roman road, on the map, and then made my way down to Bradwell. By the time I reached the bus stop the bus to Sheffield had already departed, but I didn't have to wait long for the 'school bus,' an extra service laid on at this time during term time for the school children. It only goes to Hathersage though, but there's more to do in Hathersage than there is at Bradwell...and I only had twenty minutes to kill until the Sheffield bus showed up.

I had a couple of quite long conversations today; with a man out walking his dog near Tideswell, a local man who has recently moved up from London, and then later down in Peter Dale when I got talking to a fellow hiker. When this happens it's the icing on the cake for me, a bit of human interaction makes a day out walking much more pleasurable.

I'm very lonely and socially isolated, I've never had a job or a relationship, and I don't have much family around or have many friends: most people probably go walking in the Peak District to escape from their busy and stressful lives for a few hours...I go there seeking companionship, challenge, and stimulation.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fairholmes To Hope

I travelled to Fairholmes, as far up the Derwent Valley as the bus goes before turning round and then continuing to Castleton.

After visiting the toilets at the Information Centre I walked up to the Derwent Dam; there are several information boards both here and at the Information Centre explaining all about the Dambusters Squadron, the construction of the dams, the water supply to the major cities of the East Midlands, the temporary prefabricated town built for the construction workers, and the temporary railway laid to transport stone quarried at Grindleford. There are also some nice views.

I then took a footpath that leads up through the woods to Lockerbrook Farm Outdoor Centre. There were some lovely views of the reservoir as I climbed higher; unfortunately the sun was at the wrong angle for any decent pictures. There are many paths in this area that I haven't explored yet and I will have to return, the infrequent bus service tends to put me off though.

In one location I walked past a feature which might have been natural, or it might have been an embankment; I couldn't tell - I'm neither a geologist nor an archaeologist. It looked like a Roman wall to me, but obviously isn't.

I turned right before reaching Hagg Farm and came out further along the Snake Pass road. When I reached a ruined barn I stopped to finish off my sandwiches, and also to make sure that my trousers wouldn't end up around my ankles. Since being prescribed both vitamin D and metformin tablets I've been steadily losing weight, it seems to drop off me with every step I take and by now I really had to do something about my trousers. My belt really needs an extra hole cutting, but for the time being I did an emergency repair job by tying a length of string tightly around my waist...the string is an item that's always buried somewhere at the bottom of my rucksack. Since I started taking the tablets I've lost nearly a stone and a half in weight and my 46ins waist trousers are now too big; I can now even get into a couple of 42ins pairs that I didn't throw away several years ago as I started to put on the weight.

There are some lovely views along here, looking up the Snake Pass.

I crossed the road and continued down into the valley of the River Ashop and then climbed up the path to Hope Cross; there are more lovely views looking from this direction.

It seemed to be especially busy in the Peak District today, by the time I reached Hope Cross I had already passed dozens of mountainbikers, but I now encountered a large group of horseriders...I'm very wary of horses...they're a lot bigger than me.

When I reached Hope I enjoyed a pot of tea and a chocolate chip cookie at The Old Hall Tearooms. The cookie contained 13 grams of sugar; at the moment my daily allowance is 100g; fortunately my diabetes is only very marginal and so an occasional treat shouldn't do me any harm.

I had a few minutes  to spare before the bus was due and so took a few photographs in the village.

As I was sitting in the bus shelter waiting for the bus an eccentric woman, a widow from Tideswell, came and sat next to me and started talking. She had put all of her things into a blue laundry basket and was carrying it with both hands in front of her; she explained that she went to Sheffield once and was mugged. I didn't follow the logic but thought it better not to ask.

As I was travelling on the bus back to Sheffield a woman, her young son, and their dog got on at Fox House - together with about thirty other people. The three of them sat in the seats behind me; she was very chuffed that the dog had been issued with its own ticket, something that hadn't happened before. I couldn't work out whether her son, or the dog, was called Harry.