Countryside Wanderings

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out of doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

Category: Derbyshire

A day spent sauntering from dale to dale in many weathers

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

After the preceding post about walking from Tideswell to Hathersage during May 2016, this one leaps over several other walking trips and moves forward nearly twelve months into 2017 because of another saunter taken in the same area. That happened during an an unpaid springtime sabbatical taken in an effort rekindle my energy levels after a run of family bereavements and the need to deal with such an aftermath; my preferred method of recuperation was to be rest and relaxation.

Given that the five week break in question happened in April and May, it should come as little surprise that there were some trips away from home. In fact, there were two getaways on successive weekends in spite of a matter in Ireland bringing its share of upset around this time. That happened after a pleasant long weekend spent on the Isle of Man and intruded on an Easter stay in Edinburgh for a spot of hill country exploration around Peebles.

For whatever reason, doubts entered my mind as to whether my spell away from work was going to be enough to achieve my desired aim. In hindsight, more than rest and recuperation was in order. The emotional heavy lifting of recent months is a reminder of that I move towards the next stage of my working life. Learning to deal with unwanted intrusive thoughts and rethinking my career has been part of this, work that takes its share of time.

While I was seeking a way of (temporarily) dealing with what was weighing on my mind, there were some short trips away from home.Two took me to Manchester in search of maps but others had more of an outdoor flavour. There was an evening visit to Buxton in bright sunshine where I got as far as Grinlow Tower and savoured the panoramic views that lay about the eminence while trying out a then newly acquired used Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Tansley Dale, Litton, Derbyshire, England

Another Derbyshire trip followed and that is the subject of this trip report. My starting point was Litton and my final destination for the day was Buxton. Given what was on my mind, I was seeking a quiet stroll but was amazed to see a large party of ramblers out for a walk and I leaving Litton. Any sense of intrusion was assuaged somewhat by breaking cloud cover allowing some sunshine to light up Tansley Dale as I walked through it. By this stage, the rambling group was left behind me and I was keen to keep it that way.

Thankfully, their route either diverged from mine or I diverged from theirs as I followed the concessionary path along the floor of Cressbrook Dale. Until this point, I had been revisiting parts encountered the year before. My southbound lot this time around was to be passage through woodland under greying skies. A public footpath was joined before Ravenstonedale Cottages and I encountered some resting ladies asking where Tansley Dale was. Thinking back to the episode, my directions may have been terse but I hope that they sufficed.

After the cottages, I was following a byway before cutting out some distance using a public footpath and reaching the lane that would take me into Monsal Dale. Another rambling group was spotted about this point but I left them go on their way and stayed on the road until I spotted a right of way that would carrying me across the River Wye to the Monsal Trail. Wintry weather had arrived while all this was happening so I stopped a while in a tunnel under the former railway alignment to see if the precipitation would pass; this also was a chance for lunch stop.

Monsal Dale as seen from Monsal Head, Derbyshire, England

As with all of these things, it took a good while for the shower to leave and then for any sunshine to appear. When it finally did just that, I could not help loitering to see if I could make any photos. After all, this is a beauty that attracts many a day tripper though I had it largely to myself at this time. A midweek visit coincident with wintry weather could have helped my cause.

Cressbrook Mill as seen from the Monsal Trail, Derbyshire, England

Throughout this dallying, I was making up my mind about what direction to take next. The choice was between heading towards Bakwell or going towards Buxton with possible exit points later in the walk. In the event, I chose the latter and the route was to take me past places that I had not seen since an afternoon in July 2001. Back then, all the railway tunnels were closed to us so there were necessary diversions that made cycling the route an impossibility. Within the last decade, that has changed with lights turned on during daytime hours.

Water-cum-Jolly Dale, Cressbrook, Derbyshire, England

Still, I had reservations about spending large sections of my walk inside in tunnels and hardcore surfaces can give feet a batter so I dropped of the current trail to Cressbrook Mill where I picked up the concessionary path that I followed when I last went this way. That had the advantage that it went along by where the River Wye cuts its way through limestone-clad surroundings. The sun may have been playing hide and seek on me at this point but it did not matter and I largely had the place to myself as far as Litton Mill.

Hammerton Hill, Litton, Derbyshire, England

Former railway viaducts, Miller's Dale, Derbyshire, England

After that, I made my way back onto the Monsal Trail again and was noting nature reserve after nature reserve as I shortened the distance to Miller’s Dale station. There was a possibility of ending my walk there but I opted to continue on my way. It was to be a decision in favour of added adventure, especially when I again decided against tunnel travel though skies clouded after Miller’s Dale.

What I had chosen to do is to drop down to the River Wye to try my look along steps and stepping stones made of limestone. This is a slippery rock when wet so resulting thoughts meant that I took extra care on any descents. All of this slowed progress a little though the rock did not deter climbing enthusiasts as found when I encountered a group with a seemingly nonchalant member who apparently did not want to notice my presence. One of the others did apologise so that eased any sense of irritation as I continued on my way. It helped that there were pleasant stretches in between those other more testing sections.

For some reason lost to me now, I decided against rejoining the Monsal Trail in favouring of stay by the riverside and continuing through the narrow Chee Dale; maybe, it looked less testing and avoided some ascent. Wye Dale took a while to reach and that brought the end of the Monsal Trail itself because a still active freight railway and the presiding topography prevents any continuation. Taking me to the A6 was a narrow access road that passed under several railway viaducts, necessitating care in case of on oncoming vehicle. My journey had gone under a few of these and there were a few more to pass in hope of catching a bus.

Seeing the last bus to Buxton for the day pass before I got to using it was not a source of annoyance though. Having to extend the walk all the way to Buxton was no source of tribulation. Crossing the A6, I picked up a public footpath that rounded Topley Pike Quarry with all of its warnings of quicksand. Entering Deep Dale got me away from any proximity to such industrial facilities and a feeling of entering pleasingly more rural surroundings again.

While on the lookout for the Midshires Way that would lead me in Buxton, I encountered a group of tired teenagers and one asked me where they were on the map. Then as much as now, I wondered if they of Duke of Edinburgh challengers. If so, it might have been better if I did not point out their location but I suppose that you can be too officious about these things. In any case, I climbed the side of Deep Dale to commence crossings of fields as I passed King Sterndale and passed through Cowdale and Staden. As I did so, another quarry lurked almost unseen but that was quickly passed with reaching Buxton uppermost in my mind.

At Staden, I passed a lady trying to coax a horse into its stable for the night. Knowing that strangers can disrupt such things, I did not delay and made my way towards and past a caravan park before going under the freight railway leading to Hindlow Quarry. The A515 was near at hand and I was soon to reach it and drop downhill into Buxton where some refreshments were sought before starting my way home. The day had been satisfying and was just the sort of momentary escape from more weighty matters that I needed.

Travel Arrangements

Outbound bus journey from Macclesfield to Litton with a change in Buxton followed by return train journey from Buxton to Macclesfield with a change in Stockport.

A much needed walk from Tideswell to Hathersage

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

It is amazing what lingers in your memory and what gets lost. In the case of 2016, it has been how heavily life weighed on me. Pleasant escapades such as a January afternoon stroll along by the Macclesfield Canal or its equivalents during February, a day spent around Tatton Park and weekend spent in Stirling, and an April weekend in London somehow become lost to recollection. It is as someone erected a barrier that only a photographic archive can dismantle.

It also might have been that times were different before the global political upheavals of 2016 revealed themselves. Thus, life might have been less loaded with such consequent concerns. What also lay ahead was the full extent of the ongoing legal works pertaining to my late father’s estate that I was to blame for leaving me feeling exhausted. There was another factor that became more obvious later: what I saw as my day job.

A new role was not going as I would have liked.The hoped for transition was disrupted by unexpected occurrences like invites to senior management meetings and a work colleague taking over part of my brief without asking me beforehand. This was the poor start from which I hardy would recover and people I knew were to leave the company too, including my own manager. The unsuitable situation eventually would lead to my leaving the company myself in 2017 to take a lengthy career break. It only is now that I am contemplating next steps in my career in light of changed circumstances after an inheritance that brings its own continuing responsibilities.

In light of all this, it may come as little surprise that my outdoors wanderings became less frequent over the course of the year. The effect was there to see around Easter 2016 though with only an Easter Monday afternoon trip to Tideswell and nearby Litton. The weather might had something to do with it too since there was much cloud around during that circular stroll. A subsequent bus ride to Sheffield took me by places like Foolow and Eyam that I was to visit within a month. Earlier in the year, there had been a journey to Chesterfield that took me by those places too and there was an ongoing consultation about the future of Derbyshire’s subsidised bus services that thankfully ended with most of them retained.

Returning to that Sunday in May 2016, my objective had been to follow part of the White to Dark Way after a fashion between Tideswell and Hathersage. Because of the mixture of weather that accompanied the preceding Easter Monday encounter with Tideswell, I fancied seeing it again. Handily, I had the right day for doing just that.

Bath Gardens, Bakewell, Derbyshire, England

Unusually for me, I took a roundabout way to get to Tideswell. The main cause was the Sunday bus network in Cheshire and Derbyshire that forced a journey via Bakewell. Having some time between buses mean that I could relish the way that the sun fell upon a pretty place. That was not all since I was to pass Monsal Head and see down the throat of Cressbrook Dale. The latter sighting was set to alter my walking route after I saw it. The mix of a narrow green valley having steep sides studded with limestone outcrops is one that I find hard to resist.

Church of St. John the Baptist, Tideswell, Derbyshire, England

In fact, I could have avoided Tideswell if it had not taken my fancy because the bus passed through the village of Litton where I could have alighted. Tideswell’s allure held and I spent a spot of time there before returning to Litton on foot via a quiet lane. The sunshine was to hold all day so there was little need for focus on a single objective. There was plenty of time to savour more than one and many would present themselves.

Tansley Dale, Litton, Derbyshire, England

Looking south along Cressbrook Dale, Litton, Derbyshire, England

Looking north along Cressbrook Dale, Litton, Derbyshire, England

The stroll from Tideswell to Litton reprised that followed on the preceding Easter Monday visit. There may be a nagging doubt that I did not follow Church Lane all the way but I now reckon that I must have done in spite of a fading recollection. What is not lost to memory is what I did next. The White to Dark Way continues along Mires Lane for a while but I wanted to savour both Tansley Dale and Cressbrook Dale after what I saw from the bus so I went around by those. Though clouds blocked sunshine at times, surrounding visions were heavenly as I continued down Tansley Dale and then northbound along Cressbrook Dale; April 2017 would see me go south along the latter of these. For a sunny Sunday, everywhere was strangely unpeopled and any sign of humanity was to thin out more as I went on my way. For a spot of undistracted mellowing of mind, this was just what was needed.

Church of St. Lawrence, Eyam, Derbyshire, England

At the northern end of Cressbrook Dale, I met again with the A623 again near Wardlow Mires. This is where I spotted the enticing sight along the dale from the bus taking me from Bakewell to Tideswell. After passing through a farmyard, crossings of multiple fields were my lot as I passed Stanley House and Silly Dale on my way to the village of Foolow. The names may arouse predictable thoughts in anyone with a command of English but they did nothing to stop me pausing in Foolow to partake of some refreshment before more field crossings conveyed me to Eyam where I again stopped a while.

The reason this time was different for this is a pretty place famed for what happened here during the Black Death when Bubonic Plague visited by way of cloth bought in from London. The whole unhappy episode has not been forgotten as you will find if you pay the village a visit of your own; it acts as a reminder that life can bring bigger problems, something that can keep life’s challenges in their proper perspective. Other folk had gathered around the village in the sunshine and I indulged in an ice cream before continuing on my way.

Eyam Moor, Eyam, Derbyshire, England

High Low, Hathersage, Derbyshire, England

If the accumulation of humanity around Eyam had been intrusive, there was a cure at hand in the form of a steep sweaty ascent. Such things are adept at dissuading any such throngs from dispersion throughout the countryside. In the event, there was no such feeling of crowding after the largely solo traipsing that had been my lot until then. There was more to follow on the way to Hathersage train station. Late afternoon sunshine delighted as I went around by Highcliffe, Bole Hill (two of these are marked on OS maps), Sir William Hill, Eyam Moor and Highlow Bank. Peculiar names continued to accompany my saunter and High Low actually would mean “High Mound” rather than the tautological curiosity that it suggests.

Millstone Edge, Hathersage, Derbyshire, England

After losing height, I reached Highlow Brook and saw some folk pottering along tracks but I left them after me to continue towards Hazelford where I again reached tarmac. As I did so, some muddy conditions were encountered in woodland prior to some more field crossings. Once on a metalled lane, my mind was focussed on reaching the train station so as avoid a lengthy wait for  the next train to Manchester. Thus, I was happy to reach the B6001 that would convey me to my destination. Leadmill and a bridge over the River Derwent acted as indicators of progress as I strode along, willing the sight of a railway bridge to appear sooner rather than later. The sun remained and the required sight rewarded my patience. Others were found waiting too so a train was due and I had not so long until I was on my way back home again.

It was the start of a run of walking excursions that continued throughout that May. The following evening saw me head out around Tegg’s Nose Country Park near Macclesfield. An added impetus for that may have been my getting a late night phone call about some events in Ireland that affected my affairs over there. That intrusion may have been unwanted but the incident itself was a passing one that so far has seen no repeat. Nowadays, it scarcely registers in my emotional memory; time really can heal when given a chance to do so.

Travel Arrangements

Bus journey from Macclesfield to Tideswell with a change at Bakewell. Train journey from Hathersage to Macclesfield with a change at Manchester Piccadilly.

A trot over Kinder Scout

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Last autumn, I got my hill wandering enthusiasm back and there were several trips to the Dark Peak around the Hope Valley (a tautological eccentricity if you know what Hope means in Old English but that’s what people call the place these days), Ladybower Reservoir and Stanage Edge. Other possibilities remain in mind and the Longshaw Estate may feature yet while there even is a thought of walking from Hathersage to Sheffield brewing. Though other walking destinations tempt me, this is a part of the world with which I have not finished yet. After all, I have not been around Kinder Scout since September 2015 in spite of a direct bus route linking Macclesfield and Hayfield. My last hike around there is the subject of this account.

The route that I followed was not so dissimilar to that which I followed in April 2013 but there were differences too and there are times when you get to pondering things like that. Aside from the deviation over the top of Kinder Scout, there were other contrasts such as the time of year and my personal situation. Winter 2012/3 continued late into the year so there were banks of snow still lying in April for me to cross. September 2015 still had its hangover from the preceding season as often happens in that month for my walk took me out on a warm sunny Sunday not untypical of a summer’s day apart from the more restricted hours of daylight.

Both hikes enjoyed bright sunlight and there was a difference in my mood too. Both 2013 and 2015 were marked by family bereavements but my reaction to these differed. The first left me feeling raw inside and unsure of the future while the second offered a sense of release before the bulk of the legal work of inheritance got going. 2016 proved to be both busy and tiring while 2017 was spent dealing with the aftermath of this and the reality of a day job that felt less fulfilling and less enjoyable than I would have liked. Those developments lay ahead of me so there was energy to use for happier things after a few months that saw me enjoy trips to Iceland and Switzerland. Work then was more suited to that sort of thing, a thought to retain for 2018.

Oaken Clough, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

After an arrival in Hayfield under blue skies, I set off to pick up part of the Pennine Bridleway. The kind weather understandably had drawn out others and I was keen to have my own sense of space as I always do. Getting away from the village helped with that as did leaving the long distance trail for a track leading through Coldwell Clough and Oakwell Clough. All the while, height was gained and the views open out more and more. The location was familiar and the sights a little new.

South Head & Mount Famine, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

Even with the additional height, it felt as if I was in a pocket of wilder countryside away from more human influenced parts. Even looking west and south did nothing to dispel such a notion. Such eminences as South Head and Mount Famine lay about me to catch my eye. What I really need to do is trot those aforementioned hillocks so that could be enough motivation for a return journey sometime.

Kinder Reservoir as seen from Kinder Scout, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

In common with the previous encounter with these parts, views of Kinder Reservoir were to feature and I was to see plenty. This time around, it would overhead views rather a crossing over the reservoir dam with attendant viewpoints on approach and departure. The west facing vantage point of Kinder Scout that I used was to do nothing to obstruct photography so the challenge was to stop myself making too many photos.

The experience was reminiscent of another autumnal walk that took me this way while I still pursued film photography. If I remember correctly, I may have started from Edale before using a similar route over Kinder Scout and onto Glossop. However, the photographic results were not what I hoped so a return visit remained a possibility. Trying again with the added control of digital photography over the printing of negative film by a processing lab was another impetus. So long as you have confidence in your own competence and other like what you create, controlling things from start to finish cannot be beaten.

Mermaids Pool, Kinder Scout, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

Compared with 2013, I tried to avoid any early height loss that would add to what needed to be regained. All views of Kinder Reservoir needed no descent like that preceding hike and I even chose secondary paths for getting from Edale Cross to Kinder Scout. That made me need to trust my map reading and all the signs were that I was on the right track. With so many paths going here and there, you need to hike your own hike and route find as you see fit.

Gritstone Outcrops, Sandy Heys, Kinder Scout, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

Such is the route of the Pennine Way nowadays that following the western edge of the plateau offers enough guidance unless visibility is really poor. Previously, the trail went straight across the moor so your map and compass navigation skills needed to be up to scratch; rough terrain ensured its redirection because of its infamy. The sight of Kinder Low’s trig point adds reassurance too so I carried on happily towards Kinder Downfall, a relative trickle after the summer months. Beyond that, I continued along the plateau edge until I found the way off, a steep descent that needed some care and I also needed to be alert to the passage of others. All the while folk were pottering about but that was the change once I got down to Mill Hill.

Kinder Scout as seen from Glead Hill, Glossop, Derbyshire, England

The clear track off Kinder Scout adds a dogleg to the route of the Pennine Way so I needed to follow it east to get to the Snake Road (A57). What I also had forgotten was how passing over Glead Hill added height and obscured views of Kinder Scout once I was past it. The lack of folk made me wonder what routes around Kinder Scout people tend to take for not many continue to Glossop. Progress over the paved pathway was steady but it still meant that it took longer to reach the road than expected, something that appears to happen to me a lot on this stretch.

Shelf Moor, Glossop, Derbyshire, England

Once across the A57, it was the left turn for the Doctor’s Gate footpath that I sought. After following gravel tracks, peaty paths and paved walkways, this was to bring over rougher ground. If there ever is a “Fix the Moors” footpath project in the Peak District akin to the Lake District’s Fix the Fells, this would be a candidate for attention. Quite how this keeps its bridleway status never ceases to amaze me for I would not bring a horse down there. Still, there are pleasing views to be enjoyed whenever you can stop, for doing otherwise before crossing Shelf Brook could cause an unwanted tumble.

There was an added obstruction too in the form of a missing bridge; storms had washed away the pre-existing wooden one. In fact, there was a sign advising that the trail was closed because of this but I decided to chance it anyway because I reckoned that I could resort to a stream crossing if necessary. Whether you decide this adventurous act was courageous, foolish or just plain contrary, I will leave to you. In fact, it turned out that the descent took up most of the ardour with some naughty deviations for sake of added safety. The reward for all that was a fording point accompanied by a rope slung between two posts.

Parish Church Tower, Glossop, Derbyshire, England

After that last obstacle, gaining more height took me away from the sodden surroundings of the clough and a little patience on this stretch was rewarded by reaching a good track near Mossy Lea Farm with plenty of daylight left. Though legs were tiring, the rest of the way would easier with time to survey surroundings in the late afternoon sunshine. The walking surface was again easy to stroll and the way embedded in memory from numerous hikes since my first encounter here around Easter 2002. Reaching the familiar streets of Glossop added more encouragement and I arrived at its train station with time to spare before my journey home could begin.

Travel Arrangements

Bus service 58 from Macclesfield followed by bus service 61 from Buxton to Hayfield. Train journey from Glossop to Macclesfield with a change at Manchester Piccadilly.

Revisiting Lathkill Dale

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Currently, I have been catching up with quite a bit of reading. Between books bought with good intentions that were left unattended and magazines that have lain in wait for attention, there has been a backlog awaiting clearance. Among all this is a collection of writings by the renowned Scottish outdoorsman John Muir, a profound inspiration for the National Parks system that you find in the U.S.A. today. There have been others like Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and Fiona Reynolds’ Fight for Beauty. Some have proven easier to read than others with John Muir’s Picturesque California lying between these in difficulty. Such is the lucidity of his writing that it seems a shame to rush through it so taking it slowly is exactly what I am doing. The evocative descriptions need to be relished and allowed to soak into memory, especially in tumultuous times like what we have today.

Though I have yet to visit them myself, Muir’s detailed descriptions of the glaciated landscapes of the High Sierra strike a chord with me. In one sense, they remind me of the glens cut into the Cairngorms plateau in Scotland but there is another landscape that also comes to mind for similar reasons. It too feels like a sort of plateau with valleys cut into it though the outline is far less lofty and dramatic.

To give you a hint as to where these are to be found, the valleys themselves are called dales but this is not Yorkshire but Derbyshire. Recent years have seen me explore them more since they are not so far away from where I now call home. Some can be very narrow and their names include Dove, Wolfescote, Biggin, Monsal and Chee. All of those named have seen me explore them at some point or other with some reflecting the names of the rivers that flow though them while others don’t.

One of their number that I have not mentioned so far apart from its appearance in the title of this piece is Lathkill Dale. My first encounter was on a hike I did in December 2013 just before a Christmas visit to Ireland. Though limestone outcrops abounded on slopes around me, there was no winter sun to make them more photogenic. While sunshine did appear later in the walk, I always fancied the idea of a reprise on a brighter day.

That second visit followed a trip to Iceland whose account on here took a fair bit of time to write. It was not so much having to withdraw everything from an unwilling memory as has bedevilled other recent trip reports but the fact that there was so much to be recalled. The account here requires more effort but the previous Icelandic outing has its uses.

A hike around Landmannalaugar thrust me into countryside wilder than I had encountered before then so the chance of sampling something more familiar had its place. The contrast between dusty mountainsides and leafy valleys could not be more striking. It is the latter to which I am accustomed so I was happy to be among them again.

St. Leonard's Chuch, Monyash, Derbyshire, England

My walk began in Monyash and, following arrival there, I spent some time around its parish church before continuing onto Lathkill Dale. The way that I went is hazy to me now for it is a faint recollection that I followed part of the Limestone before dropping down through Fern Dale but that could be imaginary. It maybe that I followed the road towards Bakewell before picking up a public footpath that did the same, much as I did on that December Sunday in 2013.

Waterfall, Lathkill Dale, Monyash, Derbyshire, England

Limestone outcrop, Lathkill Dale, Monyash, Derbyshire, England

Tributary dale, Lathkill Dale, Monyash, Derbyshire, England

As I went down the dale, milky skies bubbled up with clouds that obstructed the sun at times. That limited chances for photos but did nothing to take away from the wonder of see the limestone outcrops that line the sides of the dale. When they were fully lit by the sun, any wait was more than well rewarded. It was sights like these that delighted me on walks around Dove Dale, Wolfescote Dale and Biggin Dale so I was little surprised that they did the same for me here.

River Lathkill near Over Haddon, Derbyshire, England

Woodland strolling was my lot for the next section of my stroll. Back in December 2013, the River Lathkill was swollen and barely kept within its banks. The dryer time of year meant that it was not as readily seen as on that previous visit and I was glad of the tree cover. Though I have something of a love/hate relationship with woodland, what it takes in views is given in shade from strong sunshine so I was resigned to my lot and I soon enough came to break where others were gathered by the riverside. The promising weather had drawn others out and about so I was happy to share in between interludes of solitude.

Looking down on Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire, England

After Conksbury Bridge, I went to the other side of the river and frequented quieter parts. The approach to Alport was where I enjoyed some winter sunshine the last time around but there was more in the cloud on this occasion. After Alport, I chose to follow Dark Lane and started to feel the summer hear as I rose above the surrounding dales. Beyond some farm buildings, a public bridleway conveyed me across Haddon-Fields and down to the banks of the River Wye. Views over Haddon Hall opened out before as did a curious sight of a field of what appeared like wheat, barley or oats being harvested like grass silage. It might have been a mistaken impression so I continued to enjoy other more familiar sights.

Weir on the River Wye near Bakewell, Derbyshire, England

To get to the banks of the River Wye, I needed to get across the A6 near the gates of Haddon Hall. Once past that difficulty, I strode along the footway beside the estate wall until a public footpath directed me to quieter surroundings again. Like the River Lathkill, the Wye was swollen on my winter visit but was quieter on this late summer outing. After a stretch of woodland, there were more fields to be crossed on the final approach to Bakewell. It was mid-afternoon so I was glad to be reaching my destination given the heat. After spending a little time pottering around there, I started on my way home and that offered a fleeting trot around Buxton too. There had been familiarity and that suited just fine after the unfamiliar sights of preceding weeks. There were more to come in the following ones but these were not to feel so alien.

Travel Arrangements

In tune with the general haziness prevailing throughout this post, my recollection of how I got to and from my walk is similarly afflicted. From photos, it appears that a return journey on service 58 between Macclesfield and Buxton was involved. Because this was a Saturday, getting to Monyash would have involved travel on service 177 (since withdrawn) while travel between Bakewell and Buxton most likely made use of the TransPeak service.

A springtime sabbatical

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Though the output on here may try to belie it, the month of March was one of exhaustion and a longed for sabbatical from work came not a moment too soon at the start of April. Mostly, it was time to rest at home though there were some escapes. My yearning for rest and recuperation had to be countered for these but it is good for anyone’s state of mind to get out and about too.

The second weekend saw me head to the Isle of Man for the first time since July 2011. Though it was a reluctant manoeuvre in the end, it repaid my efforts with sunshine on a circuit from Laxey that took in Snaefell and on an amble around Castletown. Before I started my return, I took in Douglas Head and Summerhill Glen along with some other sights around the island’s capital.

Strife with insuring a car in Ireland partly ruined any peace of mind around Easter such that I shortened a stay in Edinburgh. In truth, I spent more time around Peebles with a rain-soaked walk around Glen Sax on Easter Sunday preceding a trot along the John Buchan Way between Peebles and Broughton in much better weather on Easter Monday. Thankfully, that Irish obstacle was overcome to allow a few more days of quiet rest before it hit me just how fast time was going.

While it felt as if my time away from work was too short, there still was time for walk from Litton to Buxton that took in several of Derbyshire’s dales. The list included Tansley Dale, Cressbrook Dale, Monsal Dale, Miller’s Dale, Wye Dale and Deep Dale. Wintry weather intruded at times and Chee Dale offered plenty of adventure. Still, it was a good day out with my partly making up the route as I went along.

There was a trip to Ireland too and this allowed more time for myself in between visiting family and neighbours as well as attending to business that I have over there. Evening walks took me on circuits around by Springfield and Kilmeedy village. Though the walking was along roads for the most part, it was a case of revisiting haunts that I have not frequented for a few years now.

On returning to work, I have decided to do things differently and that is allowing me more rest time. My mind is turning to future excursion ideas as a sort of tonic though such flights of fancy are tempered my aunt’s health for now. Still, there is no harm in dreaming a little as I assess how things are going for me after all that has happened during the past five years.

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