Monday, August 14, 2017

Creswell, Creswell Crags, Holbeck, Holbeck Woodhouse, Norton, Clumber Park, and Worksop

The weather forecast mentioned better weather the further east I go today, so it was Nottinghamshire rather than the Peak District I chose...even though Creswell, where I started the walk, is actually just inside Derbyshire. This was my second visit to Creswell Crags, the first time I walked along the road past the main pedestrian entrance and missed most of the caves; I didn't make that mistake today though.

I caught the bus to Worksop and got off at the top end of the town and walked to the shops to buy a sandwich and then to visit the toilets. The lights in the public toilets weren't working and because they're located inside  converted shop premises there aren't any external windows to let any light in at all. It was pitch black inside; I had to use my headtorch - but at least there was plenty of room inside the cubicle...I needed it today.

The passengers had to wait a few minutes at the bus station before we were able to get on the number 77 bus because the ticket machine wasn't working. After the driver had fixed this we were delayed for even longer because he then couldn't close the doors and so had to phone up the depot for instructions...he was able to kick the correct panel in exactly the right place to pull off an excellent temporary repair job.

It was raining quite heavily when I reached Creswell Crags, but it did clear up later - becoming quite sunny and warm when I was at Clumber Park. I went inside the visitor centre, but there's not a lot to see for free. There aren't any urinals in the gents' toilets, that's something I've not experienced before...just the three cubicles.











I left the Crags and followed the Robin Hood Way most of the way to Clumber Park. There were some quite nice views as I climbed up to the fields above the crags, but it was too misty for me even to try to take any photographs.

Along this stretch of the walk, for about a couple of miles I kept noticing small red or blue flags planted in the corners of fields I was walking by, and later along the side of the path as I walked through woodland. These must have been waymarkers for some sort of organised event.

I walked along a gated road to reach Holbeck and then passed what I thought might be a private chapel since I couldn't gain access to the grounds which were surrounded by a high wall and large heavy wooden doors at the lychgate, which were locked and bolted. When I reached Holbeck Woodhouse I saw a sign which informed me that, in fact, it was the parish church...the most unwelcoming church I've ever come across on my walks.





This lodge was quite pretty; the best maintained of several similar lodges I saw today.



I ate my sandwiches at Norton, taking advantage of  the improving weather and then continued along the road, passing the monument built to commemorate the life of Lord George Bentinck, a nineteenth century politician.





After a few minutes walking along the footpath which started just beyond the monument I passed the third solar farm of the day. The only good thing I can say about them is that they're a useful navigation aid since the panels always point in an approximately southerly direction.



The next three miles were mainly through woods, until I reached Clumber Park. By now the sun was out and I spent a few minutes taking photographs of the chapel and the stables block.











I'd forgotten to check as I was approaching Clumber Park, but as I was leaving I kept regularly looking at my mobile phone to see if it was registering a signal. No mobile phones work in Clumber Park: I'm sure American conspiracy theorists would have a lot of fun trying to explain why this might be the case. There was no signal until I was only about a quater of a mile from the outskirts of Worksop.

I got lost in a large housing estate at Worksop and had to ask for directions twice. I ended up approaching the bus station from the east and so took some photographs of the priory and its gatehouse.














Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bradwell Open Gardens 2017

Another day out with Siobhan, my support worker; we both enjoyed ourselves as usual, but I think she was struggling a bit walking up and down all the hills in the village...and the steps in the gardens.

Apart from when we went to Bonsall last year, at every other Open Gardens I've attended there's been organised parking facilities for visitors, usually in an adjacent field. I knew this wouldn't be the case today and so did some online research using Google Street View. We managed to find a suitable spot next to the playing fields at the northern end of the village and then walked down to Town Bottom where the tickets were being sold.

The weather forecast was for sunny intervals with the possibility of an occasional shower; well, there were more showers than expected - but still plenty of sunshine for me to take some good photographs. I was prepared; I was wearing my anorak and took my woolly hat too.
































Today was also the final day of the welldressing week, therefore by now the displays were not looking their best though.







I obviously enjoyed my day out but it was probably the worst of my visits to an Open Gardens event; obviously the weather didn't help, but neither did the crazy local woman who kept following people around the village and harassing them [she doesn't like people from Sheffield who have moved into the village]...and the map we were provided with wasn't very good - it was difficult to find some of the gardens.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bakewell; and then Middleton-by-Youlgreave, Elton, Birchover, Darley Bridge, and Darley Dale

I arrived at Bakewell with nearly an hour to kill before catching the bus to Middleton. The weather was still a bit murky and so I spent most of the time looking for interesting architectural features and close up subjects to photograph - the lighting conditions aren't as important...especially when the final images are converted to black and white.

















By the time I started the walk at Middleton at 10:30 the weather was beginning to brighten up from the west, as it continued to do for the rest of the day, being quite sunny at times later on. I left the village by walking along the road that leads to the west and then headed off down Whitfield Lane, which is marked as just a bridleway, or maybe a green lane, on the map, but is actually a fairly well-maintained metalled single track road for the half a mile distance to Little Rookery Farm. I think the reason for this might be that there are no passing places because of the dry stone walls at either side.

After the metalled surface finishes my route continued, at first along a gravel track, and then across fields. Over to my left I could see that some sort of festival was taking place; I couldn't hear any music though.




I needed to walk along the road for a few hundred yards until I reached the footpath that eventually goes down in to Long Dale, at one point being asked by a group of women walkers if I minded taking a group photograph for them. Once down in the valley the walking was very easy, the scenery isn't anything out of the ordinary though. Once I'd turned in to Gratton Dale the scenery was much more interesting...but the walking conditions were much more difficult, muddy and stony underfoot in places.

It was a lovely undulating walk across the fields to Elton church. The church was just about all I saw in the village since the next footpath I took soon led towards open fields.






The countryside was possibly even more attractive as I headed towards Birchover.


I didn't enter Birchover, I just passed by some of the outlying houses to the south of the village before the long, gentle descent to Darley Bridge down Clough Lane, followed by the walk along the road to the bus stop at Darley Dale.

I reached the bus stop with fifteen minutes to wait for the bus back to Bakewell. It arrived on time and I arrived at Bakewell at four o'clock - just enough time to jog around the corner and catch the 16:05 bus to Sheffield. However; in my rush I stumbled and then tripped...it was very elegant though how I did it. When I realised that I wouldn't be able to regain my balance I put my hands out in front of me and dived forward as far as I could, landing on my hands and tiptoes in a sort of push-up position. I then continued with the push-up movement and ended up in a squatting position from which I could easily get up from and just calmly take the final few steps to the bus stop. No cuts, no bruises, no pulled muscles; I'm feeling really positive about how well I managed to deal with this minor accident, taking full control of the situation.

I needn't have bothered with hurrying to catch the bus though, the 218 does depart for Sheffield at five, and twenty five minutes past the hour, every hour during the day, except for 16:05...when there isn't one - instead it's replaced by the 215 which leaves at 16:20.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bradwell, Great Hucklow, Wardlow Mires, Ravensdale Cottages, Cressbrook, Upperdale, Monsal Head, Little Longstone, Great Longstone, and Bakewell

I needed to take both of my Ordnance Survey maps today, as I always do when walking in the Hope Valley. Last night I got thoroughly confused and frustrated trying to work out how to fold one of the map sheets so that I could look at the areas where I'd be going and gave up and went to bed, relying on my local geographic knowledge of the area today instead. Nothing went wrong; I didn't get lost...and even if I would have, with a bit of origami and maybe a couple of pulled muscles I'd be able to navigate myself out of trouble. Map folding is by far the most difficult part of mapreading and navigation skills for me - I know there are very good mapping apps available for mobile phones, but I don't have an internet enabled mobile phone.

It's the first day of the welldressing week at Bradwell, which culminates in the Open Gardens event next weekend...which I'm planning to attend.

I only saw this well, but there are at least another three in the village.



It looks like there's also going to be a scarecrow trail; I found this humorous one.


As usual, when visiting a village, I took some photographs of the church.



As I passed by Hazlebadge Hall on my way to Great Hucklow I noticed this old, rusting rocket engine.





When I reached Great Hucklow I noticed there'd been some preparation work done for next week's gala and welldressing - it seems strange that it's scheduled at the same time as Bradwell's open gardens and welldressing.





I walked along the road and then across the fields to Wardlow Mires and then took the footpath down into Cressbrookdale, briefly chatting with a local man who was going to climb up to the top of Peter's Stone, which is the prominent rock on the left in the photograph. I don't think the climb is that difficult, but I was pressed for time and so didn't join him, and his dog.




I didn't stop to take any pictures at Cressbrook, but tried to compose an arty image at Upperdale that didn't work out. 

I climbed up to Monsal Head without really getting out of breath.


I resisted the pull of the pub, the cafe, and the ice cream van. I did stop to have a drink of my orange squash though; I put my opened rucksack on the ground next to me and a crazy little terrier immediately tried to jump inside. His owner calmly bent down and scooped him up with one hand and explained that he does it all the time...he didn't explain why though.

It's a gentle descent down the road to Little Longstone, passing the quaint small church as you enter the village.





No time for the pub I'm afraid.





It's an easy and pleasant walk across the fields to Great Longstone. I didn't enter the main part of the village though. I mainly walked through a modern housing estate on my way to the Monsal Trail and a walk of about a couple of miles to the bus-stop at Pineapple Farm. The bus was ten minutes late.