Today is the second consecutive day that I've been out in the Peak District. I went on the train to Manchester yesterday, along the Hope Valley Line; seeing some familiar locations from a slightly different perspective.
Here's a photograph I took when the train was stopped at Hope station.
I decided to use my free travel voucher for Northern Rail, which I got several months ago when I was delayed for nearly two hours at Wakefield Westgate station.
I've recently joined English Heritage and so thought I'd visit Peveril Castle at Castleton today; an English Heritage property. Several stops after leaving the bus station, some passengers, students most likely, got on the bus and said, "Surprise please" to the driver - this isn't as strange as it may sound; it's just that one of the locations along the route is known as 'Surprise View.' It does make me smile though when someone says this; and maybe one day the driver will actually surprise someone.
The castle opens at ten o'clock, and I was the first visitor of the day. Peveril Castle is everything a ruined castle should be; stark, austere, threatening, perched precariously on the top of precipitous crags and the only access being up a steep zig-zagging path.
I took plenty of photographs on the way up to the keep, and from inside the building looking out towards the stunning countryside, but it was quite hazy and I'm not happy with the results. I have decided to include a shot of one of the garderobes, the castle's toilets. Interestingly, the word has the same origins as 'wardrobe.'
Whilst I was inside the keep I let my imagination run away with me. The building is very atmospheric; ghostly shadows were poking their way through the haze as the noise of ravens flapping and cawing, planning some unimaginable atrocity, echoed around the hollow shell of the keep, as, down in the village the church bell tolled its foreboding rhythm, summoning the dead to rise, or the living to enter through the gates of Hell. It certainly reminded me of a Hitchcock film, or a Hammer House of Horror production.
My visit to the castle lasted about forty minutes. I returned to the village and then walked along the road towards the hamlet of Pindale. Before leaving Castleton I managed to stroke three cats, none of them seemed particularly sinister though: as I said "Good morning" to the final one a woman in a cottage garden across the road responded - I responded to the cat.
I passed Pindale, then walked by Hope Cement Works and down into Bradwell, where I was way too early for an ice cream from Bradwell's of Bradwell ice cream shop. I had to make do with a sandwich and a carton of milk from the Co-op shop.
Next I climbed up to Brough Lane, a track popular with mountain bikers. As I walked near to a farm I learned something new; that moles use shovels to make their molehills - I took a photograph to prove it.
The next section, across fields towards Shatton had a surprise in store for me, and I didn't ask for one on the bus; patches of deep snow I had to walk through - there was no obvious way to walk around.
I had timed things well for a brief visit to the coffee shop at High Peak Garden Centre where I had a pot of tea and a warmed scone served with butter and jam. I've not tried a warm scone before; it seemed to make it more moist though.
My day was slightly ruined when the bus was over half an hour late. This is a rare occurrence though: the bus services in the Peak District are usually very reliable.
Today's walk was a short one, maybe only five miles. I was a bit tired after going to Manchester yesterday and walking what I should think was quite a distance exploring the city centre.