Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A bimble around Baslow, Bakewell, Bradford and Birchover

As part of the CWT preps, which have now warmed up to something quite frenetic, we decided to test the gear and the process with a little backpacking weekend in Derbyshire.  We had originally thought of the lakes but the cost of diesel don't you know and the hours of sitting in motorway queues were not enticing.

I plotted a route which just happened to go though a lot of places beginning with B plus one beginning with A and one with C.  It also went through a lot of places with tea shops.  This wasn't to be on the scale of a daunder in the style of messers Sloman and Lor d'Elpus but it was perhaps going to be a little more relaxed than usual, for we both have dodgy knees and don't want to dodge them any more than necessary before the big event. 

We drove to North Lees campsite below Stanage on friday night, in an attempt to get the early start we wouldn't have got if we'd started out from our respective homes on Saturday morning.  It was midgey and the site was full but the warden lady, who was called Bobby, said she had a cancellation.  It cost twelve quid and there were no lights in the toilets, which was a problem as someone had forgotten to bring a torch.  We should have just camped in Burbage woods.  Anyway a stroll down to the Scotsman's in Hathersage was followed by some consumption of alcohol and a misdirected stroll back up to the campsite in the dark and which involved traversing a beck on a wire fence and thrashing through a patch of nettles.  I really don't remember any of those on the way down.  Oh yes, we had pitched the new tent the wrong way round and had a choice of sleeping with head below feet (no thanks) or nose touching the inner tent (never again).

Saturday dawned midge free and after a really quite poor night of little sleep, Coleman's Deli beckoned for coffee and a bacon sarnie.  However, Colemans Deli was not open at 9, nor was Outside, not was Outside at Carver, so we drove straight to Baslow and abandoned the car outside the village hall.  A tea shack by the car park did a passable brew and sausage roll and with that we headed east to Hassop, where we passed the first two DoE groups for the weekend and then south to Bakewell, where we called in the Austrian tea shop and had the most outrageously expensive caffetiere of coffee and a tea cake. 

At  the cafe in Bakewell where no mis-behaving was experienced.

Then after a steep climb out of Bakewell, we headed south over Haddon Fields to Alport and Bradford Dale where we looked at a scary bit of limestone and decided that climbing on this sort of rock was best left to other people.  The sound of a brass band drifted across the valley from Youlgreave where the annual well dressing was in progress.

Cow paddling in Bradford Dale

We picked up the Limestone Way to Robin Hood's Stride and The Hermit's Cave under Cratcliffe Tor.  Here we watched some climbers struggle on a gritstone HVS and decided that this sort of rock was also best climbed by somebody else. 

Robin Hood's Stride

Inside the Hermit's Cave

Descending to the road we showed a group of DoEers where they were on the map (about 8km from where they should have been) and gained a sneaky look at their 1:25000 to confirm where our path went off.  Two short climbs got us to Birchover and the campsite, which was awash with DoE groups who obviously hadn't got lost.

Tent, tea and pub followed in leisurely succession along with a better and correctly oriented night's sleep.

The too small tent at Birchover

Over breakfast the next morning, we pondered the question of the tent for CWT.  It's a Vango Banshee 200 I bought for my daughter last month for her DoE.  In the event, she used something else because her friend said it made her claustrophobic.  It has to be said it is very small - it weighs in at an impressive 2kgs.  For one night it's ok but we couldn't help thinking about the misery of trying to deal with rain or midges in something so small over a week - and I started to pine for the Akto.  So two tents it will be.

Setting off from Birchover, we crossed Stanton Moor which had a large encampment at the Nine Ladies stone circle, poised for the Summer Solstice and then bimbled to Rowsley for tea and cake at Caudwells Mill.  This set us up for the long, long (long) climb though Manners Wood and across to the Chatsworth Estate. 

Chatsworth House

We lunched at the top on soup and left over cake (for they had been very large pieces) and observed a DoE girls group head off in the wrong direction to Edensor.  The one that said they had to aim between two groups of trees was correct, she just had the wrong two groups of trees.  We on the other hand, took the obvious worn track between the correct groups of trees and witnessed a stampede of Fallow deer before crossing the river and plodding down a very hot and dusty path back to Baslow for a celebratory ice cream.

A damned fine bimble of 20 miles and 3000 ft of upness.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Another Golden Plover Sighting

Went for a walk up at Redmires last night and saw one of the Golden Plovers again.  Here's a very grainy blown up pic of the chap.

And some less grainy pics across the top reservoir at Redmires.

Redmires towards Stanage

Redmires top dam

Moors above the Head Stone

Monday, 14 June 2010

More CWT Preparations

I'm starting to get quite excited about this upcoming Cape Wrath Trail trip.  We're only doing the first 70 miles this time, cos we is wage slaves, innit.  And really it's the North to the Cape route, cos the other way looked less exciting.  Oh and we're starting from Glenfinnan to miss out a day of road walking and get into that wilderness experience right off but the plan is to try and avoid as much road as possible and maybe take in the Forchan* Ridge and The Saddle.

*I'm sure this will get called another name on the day.

My bottle of Avon Skin So Soft has just been delivered, which I have been reliably informed by one or two folk from north of the border is the best thing for warding off the midgies.  It's certainly very smelly and my skin is, well, oh so soft.  And there isn't a midge in sight - but then I am sitting in the office.

Also and even more exciting, was the arrival of my Ultra-Light titanium pot from Backpacking Light, accompanied of course by the usual bag of sweeties (jelly babies this time - thanks guys!).  It's soooo light.  If it were any lighter it would just float off.  Anyway, I can't wait to have my first meal out of that.

Took the rucksack and my son for a short walk round Burbage on Saturday afternoon, where we did a bit of geocaching and a bit of ice cream eating.  Both surprisingly good fun, don't you know. 

Geocache site somewhere at Burbage - not telling you any more than that!

As one further bit of preparation for this walk I've started running again.  I don't gain any real pleasure from this activity.  I'm worknig on the premise that pain now may mean less pain later.  Anyway, I mention this because I've just been out on a track up near Redmires and as well as seeing Lapwing and Curlew, I also got sight of a couple of Golden Plover, which I've never seen here before.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Derwent Edge and Strines

As preparations for Cape Wrath Trail in July (more of which later) I packed up the rucksack, drove to Cutthroat Bridge on the A57 and took it for a walk over Derwent Edge as far as Back Tor.

Ladybower Reservoir from Whinstone Lee Tor

The Wheel Stones, Derwent Edge

Then down the bridleway to the Strines road.  The car park at the road end of this track has been gated shut for over a year now because of logging.  Coming down the track I saw for the first time the extent of forest that had been cleared. 

Hollingdale Plantation (cleared) from the Strines track

Bluebell woods below Strines Reservoir

Across and up the road a bit is a track which winds its way down to a point between Strines and Dale Dike reservoirs.  The latter was the cause of the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 when the newly built dam burst.

The track climbs steeply (well for Derbyshire) up to a tower, now used as an empty tower, which is visible from the A57 when you come back into Sheffield from the Peak District.  It's one of those places that you see for years and never go to.  Funnily enough I'd seen it for almost 30 years and never visited it.

Whilst googling for the name for this tower I learnt of a mass murder in a house in the area, where the husband killed his wife and children and the nanny, and then ran off to France finally to be captured on top of the Notre Dame in Paris (by Quasimodo) or it may have been Rouen Cathedral (by Quasi's little known cousin).  Anyway, the tower is called Boot's Folly and was built in 1927 by Charles Boot.  Apparently there was a bit of stone left over from building a nearby house.  I guess this was in the days before Lego.

After the tower, there was some pleasant strolling through upland pasture with gambolling lambs and peewits getting a bit narky because I was a few hundred yards from its nest.  And then it was back down the A57 to the car, the tedium of which was broken by a short conversation with a Curlew who walk beside me, well about 50 yds away, which went something along the lines of

peewit peewit...currrrrlew
curl curl curl curl curleeeeeew
peewit peewit peewit curleeeeeew

You'll note it contained a bit of Lapwing and roughly translates as

curlew: hello
me: it's quite warm today
curlew: yes but looks like heavy rain later on
me: oh right. see ya

which was surprisingly accurate. They know a thing or two about the weather do these curlew.

9.5 miles and 1800 ft of upness.