Baslow to Bakewell

Tuesday 18 July 2017. I took the opportunity of a local bus service for today’s linear walk from Baslow to Bakewell. There is an hourly service. I could have used my bus pass on the 10:10 from Bakewell but this was a little too late for me so I paid the £2 fare for the earlier 09:10 bus to Baslow. The initial stage of the walk was through the parklands of Chatsworth House before making a very steep 350ft climb up to the Hunting Tower overlooking the House. From here I could see across to Edensor whilst I sat having a coffee and recovering my composure.

The next section was in the welcome cover of the woodlands behind the House before descending down to cross the River Derwent on the road bridge at Carlton Lees. Soon after I was walking past the Chatsworth garden centre and, as it was almost lunchtime, I made an unplanned refreshment stop. I had a pot of tea and a bacon, brie & cranberry panini. I thought about adding a picture of my meal but I know that one of my readers thinks that this is pretty naff.

It was just after noon when I left the garden centre and the sun was at its hottest making it a tiring and thirsty couple of miles. I ran out of water along the way so the first thing that I did on reaching Bakewell was to visit a pub for a much-needed pint of lime & lemonade. The walk was 7.5 miles with almost 1,300ft of ascent.

Aerial View

Baslow to Bakewell – walk route

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Three Shires Head

Monday 17 July 2017. It was full summer attire today; short shorts, short sleeve shirt, sun hat and glasses. Ideal weather for walking; blue sky, a light breeze and not too hot. To make the most of this good fortune I took myself off to Wildboarclough for a walk to Three Shires Head. As the name implies, this is the meeting point of the county boundaries of Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

The walk started with a 500ft gentle climb up the side of Cumberland Brook. Once at the top I should have turned north but headed south, by mistake. I say by mistake as I had it in my mind that I needed to cross the A54 and thought that I had correctly memorised the route. A lesson learned, but not in a hard way: always consult the map! This mistake cut about a mile and a half from the walk but it didn’t really matter as all paths seemed to lead to Three Shires Head. The paths that I walked are shown in blue on the linked map and the paths that I should have taken are shown in red.

Three Shires Head is an idyllic spot and I stopped here for my coffee/early lunch break. The River Dane cascades below a picturesque arched bridge and is joined by a small stream flowing in from the east to form Panniers Pool. This is one of those beauty spots that are the preserve of “walkers” as the nearest road is more than half a mile away.

The route back was fairly easy crossing open moorland and was only spoiled by one very boggy and muddy section. The walk was only 5 miles but had a total ascent of almost 1,200ft.

Aerial View

Three Shires Head – walk route

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Lyme Park

Sunday 16 July 2017. The weather wasn’t too bad when I left my caravan site this morning but it deteriorated rapidly as I skirted around Buxton on my 30 mile drive to Lyme Park. There was a heavy drizzle and low cloud. Normally, I would have been tempted to turn around and go back but I had arranged to meet Jacqui for the walk today. I had given myself plenty of time for the drive which was just as well as the A6 was closed at Disley just 2 miles from Lyme Park. This meant that I had to find an alternative route. My first attempt failed miserably taking me through Whaley Bridge. This was entirely the wrong direction. Eventually I found my way through New Mills and Marple adding 8 miles or more to my journey and making me late for my meeting with Jacqui.

Diversion Route

Things could only get better from here and, as forecast, the weather steadily improved and it turned out to be a warm and sunny afternoon. Our route headed south-westerly to Harrop Brow before turning east for a steady 600ft climb to Dale Top. Thankfully, the climb was broken for a much-needed coffee break on Moorside Lane. I really am out of shape as the sweat was pouring off me by now. When I say that Jacqui seemed “unperturbed”, it wasn’t that she didn’t sympathise with my condition but her recent Park Runs seem to have given a level of fitness that I can only dream about.

Much of the walk was level or downhill from here, stopping for lunch near Dissop Head before heading back into the grounds of Lyme Park. We looked in for a post walk cup of tea but, as with most NT properties, the queues were far too long. All that remained for me now was to find my way around my diversion for the drive home. The walk was just 7 miles with a total ascent of 1,000ft.

Aerial View

Lyme Park – walk route

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Giddy Edge

Friday 14 July 2017. I made the 10 mile drive to Matlock for a walk which should have taken me high above the valley that carries the River Derwent between Matlock and Matlock Bath. The main reason for choosing this walk, recommended by Karen, was to see if “Giddy Edge” lived up to its vertigo inducing reputation.

Leaving Matlock I climbed to the war memorial on Pic Tor before descending back to the valley floor, only to climb again to the top of High Tor. This leads to Giddy Edge. As can be seen from my picture it is a narrow ledge with a long drop off the side. There was a metal hand rail beside the narrowest part and crossing wasn’t really a problem. I’ve been on worse paths with a greater degree of exposure such a parts of Red Screes above the Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District.

Soon after leaving Giddy Edge it began to rain quite heavily. I made my way down through the tree cover to the bottom of the cable car that runs up to the top of the Heights of Abraham. It costs £16 for the ride which seems a lot but there are some amusements, a cafe and show caves at the top. My walk would have taken a more circuitous route on the other side of the valley to the top. It was still raining and as I was only a few hundred yards from Matlock Baths railway station, I decided to cut the walk short and let the train take the strain for the one mile and 70p ride back to Matlock.

Aerial View

Matlock – walk route

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Two Dales

Thursday 13 July 2017. I had a short drive to Litton, just north of Bakewell, for today’s 4.2 mile walk with almost 800ft of ascent. I was following a route taken from Country Walking magazine but a few detours and some off-piste walking meant that I made it up the further that I went. The start from Litton to northern most point was fairly straightforward as I skirted around the top of Tansley Dale and then Cressbrook Dale.

I descended to the valley bottom only to climb on an unmarked path to the foot of Peter’s Stone. I had expected the path to descend back to the valley bottom once again but, instead, it took me higher up to the eastern rim of Cressbrook Dale. The path disappeared and the ground became steeper and uneven to the point of being unsafe. So, I hopped over a broken stone wall to walk along an adjacent flat field. My plan was to pick up the Cressbrook Dale path a little further along but there was a number of fields bounded by stone walls in my way. Not wanting to climb the walls with the risk of damaging them or myself, the only sensible option was to head to the main road in Wardlow. From here I could pick up the bridleway that led back to the top of Cressbrook Dale. This seemed familiar and by the time that I reached Cressbrook Dale I remembered that I had walked this path before on an away trip with the Fenland Ramblers in 2004. I’ve added a picture from then. There’s a prize for anyone who can name them all!

From the top of Cressbrook Dale I could see my route back, unfortunately this meant descending steeply once again to the valley bottom with a climb up through Tansley Dale and back to Litton.

Aerial View

Two Dales – walk route

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A difficult start

Wednesday 12 July 2017. This latest caravanning/walking holiday got off to a difficult start when, on Monday morning, my caravan mover wasn’t working properly with the roller, which drives the wheels, only rotating on the off-side. In this condition my caravan wasn’t going anywhere other than in circles and I couldn’t move it forward to hitch-up to my car. It seemed as if there was an electrical problem so I scrambled under  the side of the caravan and jiggled the wires that connected the near-side drive motor to the caravan battery. This seemed to do the trick and both rollers sprang into life.

My concern was whether or not they would work again when I arrived at the Youlgreave caravan site and needed them to manoeuvre my caravan onto the pitch. My worst fears were confirmed with the near-side roller still refusing to function. More jiggling did the trick and I was able to reverse my caravan up a steepish hill onto my pitch after which it stopped working again. The mover had long since past its 5 years guarantee so any repairs would be at my own cost. I rang the manufacturer, Powertouch, for some technical support and to call out an engineer. They suggested that I might be able to fix it myself and save on the £70 call-out fee but I felt that it was beyond my capabilities and I needed the reassurance of a professional repair and the peace of mind that this would bring that the mover would work when needed. The engineer called this morning and replaced the connectors to both motors and in doing so resolved the problem. The mover is an essential piece of kit without which it would be impossible to manoeuvre onto caravan site pitches and to park outside my house.

The weather yesterday wasn’t conducive to walking being showery in the morning with more persistent rain in the afternoon. It was therefore a good opportunity to drive across to Hathersage and visit Alpkit’s new shop. It would have been rude to leave without buying something so I came away with a couple of technical tee shirts.

It was a nice day today so, after the mover engineer had left, I decided to go on a short 2.4 mile exploratory walk directly from my caravan. This took me into Bradford Dale and the bottom end of Youlgreave. It gave me an opportunity to try out a couple of new Apps, Strava and Relive which track my route and then produce and aerial view of the walk. This is the “new feature” that I mentioned in an earlier post.

Caravan Site – walk route

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Cold Overton

Sunday 2 July 2017. There were just 6 of us for today’s walk including Gee from the Peterborough Group who was walking with us for the first time. Setting off from Gates Garden Centre we headed across fields towards Knossington where we stopped for coffee at the village playing field. Soon after we came across an extremely small pony which is pictured taking an interest in Linda’s boots.

I hadn’t done this walk since October and was worried that some of the cross-field paths might be overgrown by crops. This wasn’t the case and we were able to walk down the tractor lines in some wheat fields and directly on the line of the footpath in others. We walked through the village of Somerby on the way to our lunch stop at Pickwell church where a Swallow had made its nest in the eaves of the porch. From here, it wasn’t too far back to the cars although the last mile or so was all uphill. Perhaps we should have done it the other way around.

The walk was just 7 miles with a total ascent of 600ft. My knee stood up well with only minor discomfort. After the walk we all went for tea on the verandah of the garden centre cafe.

Cold Overton – walk route

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