Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A break from Christmas preparations between Grindleford and Sheffield

27th December 2022

The lead up to Christmas this year was very gloomy. After all, economic fortunes were heading downward and many have been on strike. The weather did not help either, and I was feeling exhausted after a year of some emotional toil. The cause has been the initiation of significant changes to my affairs in Ireland. Some will be sold and a lot of preparation is needed, some of which is going slower than is ideal. All this has weighed on me because my life has not been here before now.

One result is that Christmas preparations did not happen as early as one would have liked. The other is that I did the bare minimum for a time of year whose meaning changed with the passing of my parents. It all crept up on my as well. Now, I am hoping for an extended period of rest so that my energy levels get recharged again.

2018 was different. There was a trip to Ireland at the end of November, which meant that I had a clear run at Christmas. Some dental treatment became necessary too, and there was to be a mid-winter break on Tenerife as well. All added a frisson of tension to that moment. In many ways, it was a time of hope.

All it took was a sunny interlude to allow me to make use of an idea from a previous trip. It was enough to get me to Grindleford for another station to station walk to Sheffield. The first part of the hike was to ascend through trees to the side of the B6521. After a little way around the road, it was time to drop down through Yarncliff wood to the banks of Burbage Brook. This descent was steep enough to warrant greater attention at times.

Following the brook took me out of the tree cover and towards Burbage Bridge. Reaching the A6187 meant going through more woodland, meaning that views were restricted and that my camera was mostly inactive. This being a Sunday, there were others around at times, though numbers were never oppressive and there was plenty of solitude as well.

A break from Christmas preparations between Grindleford and Sheffield

A break from Christmas preparations between Grindleford and Sheffield

Crossing the road got me onto the Sheffield Country Walk, with views of surrounding moors catching some of the available sunlight. Higger Tor was among these, and there was an antiquity too in the form of Carl Mark Fort. The idea of continuing north might have appealed by for my designs on reaching Sheffield in more daylight than my previous amble in that direction. Even now, it tickles my sensibilities to think of passing Burbage Rocks and to reach Stanage Edge, closing the chain as it were.

On the day, I picked up a path leading to Houndkirk Road. On reaching the intended byway open to all traffic, I was trading solitude for the bustle of multi-modal usage. Dealing with other walkers along with cyclists and runners is one thing, but I was somewhat aggrieved by the sight of off-roaders engaged in green landing. That caused some clutter as I made for Ringinglow.

All such annoyances were left behind me, though; it helps when there are some quiet stretches that soothe your spirit. From Ringinglow, I made as if to head directly towards the outskirts of Sheffield, only to leave the road for a public footpath dropping me onto Clough Lane. This was my return to the banks of Porter Brook, albeit omitting Porter Clough this time around.

While I do not seem to have the photos to prove it, daylight was to persist all the way to Endcliffe Park for me at the second time of asking. There was some ice underfoot too, but this was no intrusion on progress. Neither did it prematurely force me onto city streets, so a little more closure was my lot before I mustered my wearying limbs for a meandering course to Sheffield’s principal train station.

The general run of weather may explain the dearth of photos accompanying this piece. It so happened that the hike returned me to Sheffield for the second time in two days. The second encounter was drier than a preceding shopping excursion beset by rain. Rain was also to await my return to Macclesfield after the walk, proving a point about what I had snatched during an otherwise unsettled run of weather.

Getting better photos remains a motivating factor that adds an idea for a visit to Sheffield’s more natural surroundings when an opportunity allows. It is as if you never can say that you are done with anywhere. The same could be said for a Grindleford to Hathersage station to station hike. Some places just cannot but offer more and more ideas for walking trips.

Travel Arrangements

Outbound train journey from Macclesfield to Grindleford with a change at Manchester Piccadilly. Return train journey from Sheffield to Macclesfield, changing either at Stockport (faster train) or Manchester Piccadilly (slower one); the journey is lost to my recollection now, but my sense is that I would have gone via Stockport for sake of speed and convenience.

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