Monthly Archives: February 2012

Alport Castles

The weather had improved a little, so today I decided to do the walk postponed from Day 1. It was a lumpy 9 miles with 2300ft of ascent which tested my stamina to the limit, particularly a climb of 450ft at the back end of the walk.

There was a steady climb of 800ft to start with and at the summit the visibility diminished in the mist where I met the friendly ram. I had hoped that I would be able to look down on Alport Castles (a landslide which resembles a motte and bailey castle). However, the visibility was so poor all that I could see was grey cloud & mist. I descended a few hundred feet for a better lower level view of the Castle and as sods law would have it the mist then cleared. There is one lone walker on the ridge looking down on the Castle – this is the view I should have had!

I then walked along the Alport valley before crossing the River Ashop at a ford where, thankfully, the water was only about 2” deep. The second steep climb of the day (400ft) then followed after which I was in need of a rest and some lunch. I hadn’t realised that there was a 3rd and even steeper climb towards the end of the walk and enjoyed the brief respite as I descended to the Haggwater Bridge.

The final killer climb soon followed as I ascended to Woodcock Coppice. The last mile or so was all downhill back to the Fairholmes visitor centre. The was perhaps the most challenging walk that I’ve ever done in the Peak District but I wouldn’t mind doing it again on a clearer day as the views would be fantastic. In view of the restricted visibility, I seem to have gathered a collection of pictures of National Trust signs which were close to hand.



Chatsworth Estate

I had thought that my first walk of this holiday might be a little more challenging but the early morning weather made me have a change of mind. There was a strong wind blowing and low cloud, so, instead of heading for the hills, I opted for something less high. My drive to the Carlton Lees car park on the edge of the Chatsworth Estate wasn’t very promising with even more low cloud and rain. However, my alternative plan began to take shape as Carlton Lees had better weather – dry but still overcast.

The 6?? mile walk started with a 600ft climb which soon warmed me up and had me removing my coat before reaching the summit at just less than 1,000ft. At this point the wind was still quite cool so it was back on with the coat. My route took me through the woods and past the lakes at the back of Chatsworth House where I came across the local fox hunt. Oddly, this was near to the Hunting Tower which stands on the hillside just above Chatsworth House. The house seemed to be closed for external repairs so it was quickly on to the banks of the River Derwent and back to the car. On the drive back, I could see that Mam Tor and Lose Hill were still shrouded in low cloud reinforcing my choice of a lower level walk.


Wicken Fen and area AGM

On a beautiful sunny day a group of 30 ramblers from the area met at Wicken Fen for a short walk with a talk about the history of Wicken Fen followed by the area AGM.

Fenland were represented by four members.

On the walk we saw the grazing cattle and horses and saw a herd of deer running across the field. As we walked back towards the visitors centre we also saw geese in flight.


At the beach?

Today’s walk was an 8 miler starting from Ashwicken church with a circuit of Bawsey pits. Despite the clear blue sky, there was a chill wind blowing as 19 of us set out on the walk. Judy, Joe & Helen took a diversion back to the start to make the walk a little shorter whilst the rest of us made our way past the ruins of St Mary’s church; built in 1130. Lunch was on what looked like a beach but was in fact the sandy shore of one of the lakes at Bawsey pits. From here it was only a mile or so back to the cars.


Winter Wonderland

Some people might think me mad when they learn that I went for a walk with the temperature at -13c. Well, I think these pictures will prove them wrong as it turned out to be one of the best walks that I’ve done for quite some while. I joined the Huntingdon group today for their 6½ mile walk from Broughton. Whilst the thermometer might have indicated extreme cold, it really wasn’t that bad and I spent most of the walks not wearing gloves as I was too warm. The early morning mist soon lifted and it became a beautiful day. The blue sky and sunshine only served to enhance the wonderfully snowy scenery. The big surprise of the walk was a huge sculpture of a fox made from straw and chicken wire. That’s me stood at its feet in order to give some idea of scale. We think that it was created as party of the Secret Garden Party music festival held last summer at Abbott’s Ripton. The good news was that the temperature had risen to the dizzy heights of -5c when we finished the walk at about 13:30.



I have only been as far as the garden but have :

1 persuaded the cat it needed to go out

2 My son grounded the car trying to get in the driveway late last night

3 digging the car out this morning.