Sunday 23 July 2017. I was joined by Jacqui for my last walk of this holiday. We met at the Pym Chair car park high up on the ridge that separates the Lamaload and Errwood Reservoirs. We had started previous walks from the shore of both reservoirs so it made a change to start from on up high. The only drawback was that there would be a steep uphill finish.
Our route took us in a southerly direction along the ridgeline, over Cats Tor and on to Shining Tor where we stopped for coffee. We then descended into the valley to the west of Shining Tor and then turned north to just beyond Howlersknowl where we stopped for lunch. The picture of the aeroplane, in a clear blue sky, on final approach to Manchester airport was taken whilst we ate lunch. Ten minutes later it started to rain quite heavily so we cut the walk short with a steep 250ft climb up the road back to the Pym Chair car park. Had the rain not intervened then the walk would have been 8.5 miles. Our shorter route was just 4.8 miles but still had a total ascent of 1,000ft.
Shining Tor – walk route
Saturday 22 July 2017. The weather has been unsettled for the last few days so it was good to get out walking again. Heavy rain and thunderstorms were forecast for Wednesday but it didn’t rain until tea time and it was only a shower; a wasted day. There was heavy rain on both Thursday and Friday so time was spent in the caravan watching the Tour de France on TV.
Today I drove to the car park at White Lodge for a walk up Deep Dale to the outskirts of Monyash and then on to Sheldon. My coffee/lunch stop was taken on top of a stile through a wall. There were about 30 young cows on the other side and they all came to say hello. Perhaps they thought that I’d share my egg & bacon sandwich with them. Some loud shooing and waving of arms soon had them retreating so I could pass safely through their field.
The next landmark was the Magpie lead mine just outside Sheldon. I visited this site many many years ago on a HF holiday. From here I walked through the village of Sheldon where preparations were well underway for their Village Day. I called into the village pub for another pint of lime & lemonade.
The last leg of the walk was mainly in the shade of Great Shacklow Wood. The walk was 8 miles with a total ascent of 1,200ft.
Deep Dale – walk route
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.
Baslow to Bakewell – walk route
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.
Three Shires Head – walk route
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.
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.
Lyme Park – walk route
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.
Matlock – walk route
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.
Two Dales – walk route