Thursday, 30 December 2010

Loose Ends

I've walked most of the paths round Redmires many times but there is one path that goes off from the upper reservoir, close to the start of the track up to Stanage Pole, that I've known about for quite a  while now (like a few years) but never walked.  I had planned to explore it yesterday but got sucked into Sheffield for the sales (I know, yuk).  I managed to get out this afternoon for a couple of hours.  It was noticeably warmer than two days ago, when I'd circumnavigated the top reservoir in near arctic conditions, and there was some very atmospheric cloud just hanging around.

End of Redmires Road

Redmires Top Reservoir from the road

The track heads southwest (ish) over some open access land on the area of the OS 1:50k map marked as White Stones.  After a bit of ascent, it branches.  East would have taken me back to the path which runs above the reservoirs on the flank of Rud Hill.  I've walked over there before so I took the western branch which after only a short distance turned down hill, back to where I had come from.  However, there are a series of sheep tracks continuing south and west, which are easy enough to follow for a while before they degenerate into alternate regions of tussocks and heather.  I suspect the open access agreement doesn't extend this far but I took advantage of the low light levels, the mist and my black 'stealth' goretex and pressed on, throwing caution and responsible hill walking to the winds. 

Redmires Top and Middle reservoirs from open access path

The open access path with the plantation and Stanage Pole in the distance

It was a truly fabulous bit of wild walking over open moorland.  I aimed for the Cowper Stone on the southern end of Stanage, which I estimated would take me 5 to 10 minutes to reach and probably took nearer 15 or 20.  Usually when it's misty I find things are often closer than they appear but I guess the tussocky terrain and the two streams I had to cross slowed me down.

Walking over tussocks towards Cowper Stone and the back side of Stanage Edge in the distance

Most of the snow had gone - such a contrast to two days ago but there was still quite a bit of ice around.

Interesting speckled ice pattern in natural (?) cup in rock on top of Stanage Edge

At the Cowper Stone, a sign dated 2005 says there is a Ring Ouzel's nest.  I guessed that even if they had returned in subsequent years, they probably wouldn't be in residence just now.  So I climbed up past the stone and headed for the trig point.

As I walked along the top of the Edge, I passed one or two folk who appeared out of the gloom and saw a couple of climbers topping out - they must have been desperate to climb as the rock could hardly be described by any sane person as 'in condition'.  I made my way along to Robin Hoods Cave area, where a track cuts over normally boggy moorland directly to Stanage Pole.  It appeared boggy today but I found that instead of sinking in, I  was walking on water - well a very thin layer of water covering a thicker layer of ice.  The mist lifted a little as I dropped down from the Pole and the clouds parted enough to show a ribbon of blue sky, which I completely failed to capture with the camera phone.

3.5 miles and about 500' of up.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the office...

Actually I just made that up.  I moved my office out to a new business centre in Hathersage last week.  In doing so I have swapped a 30-40 minute drive into Sheffield city centre every morning for a 15-20 minute drive over the moors.

This was the view from the down road into the Hope Valley this morning.

Now if only BT could get the broadband working, life would be complete.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Derwent Edge

Christine and I went out into Derbyshire yesterday.  Getting there was easy enough, the main roads are pretty clear now.  The problem is finding somewhere to park.  We gave up the idea of walking over Stanage and left the car near Cutthroat Bridge on the A57 to walk up onto Derwent Edge.  Not much to say really: lots of snow, blue skies, warmer lower down, nithering on the tops.  We hadn't gone far before we were passed by a runner and his dog, who Christine knew from years gone by (the runner, not the dog).  Just after that a couple of mountain bikers passed us.  It had taken them a long time to catch us up.  It's a lot slower when you have to push the bike.  Anyway, they eventually managed to pedal a a couple of hundred meters and then we overtook them again.  They rolled up at Whinstone Lee Tor and proceeded to throw themselves over a snow bank.  We enjoyed the spectacle.

We bimbled along through the snow as far as the Hurkling Stones and then hung a left at the Moscar-Derwent path, of which there was no evidence save for a solitary set of foot prints in the deep snow, which petered out after a few hundred meters.  I expect the body will be found in the spring.

Looking towards Mam Tor and Kinder Scout

The scene was positively alpine and I wished I'd had some skis.  We met a couple of skiers later in the day and actually it looked more trouble than it was worth.  On the other hand, we both agreed that snow shoes would have been useful.

There were stunning views across to Mam Tor and Kinder Scout and down to Derwent Reservoir

Just below the gate on the track down to High House Farm is a stone bus shelter.  Well it looks like a bus shelter but the service is rubbish and so the National Trust converted it to a place to eat yer butties on a rainy day.  I'd been sat on the seat for, well quite a long time, before I noticed the arms (must have been snow blindness)

How cool is that? 

The shelter also offers the visitor an absolute treat in the form of small ceramics, designed by kids from a local school, set into the stone.  Here's a few but you need to go and see them for yourself really.

The track leads steeply down to a gate onto the road and an idyll...

Isn't that just the stuff of Christmas cards?

Reflections above and the bridge over Ladybower Reservoir below

6 miles and 1300' ascent.  Not far and not fast but just a splendid day's walking. 

(We went to a burlesque show in the evening but that's another story and this is a walking blog after all)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow in South Yorkshire

I came back from Rotterdam on the ferry this morning.  Left Hull docks at 7:30 am and eventually got back home tto Sheffield at 2:30 this afternoon having sat for a few hours on the M18 because of a jack-knifed wagon on the M1, as far as I can tell.  I'm sure it was harrowing for the driver but surely if he had left enough space in front of him he would have had time to react and all the hours of disruption could all have been avoided.  Why can't folk just drive more carefully in the snow?  I had a number of cars tailgating me on the M62.  It's madness.  One chap in a sports car overtook me, then had to brake quickly when he hit deeper snow in the outside lane, causing the snow on his roof to cover his windscreen, so he had to stop completely while he got out and cleared it.  Then he overtook me a scond time.

Unlike the halloween misadventure, I set off on this trip prepared with food, water, sleeping bag and warm clothes in the car.  I also had a boot full of duty free wine and chocolate, which would have help the night pass, had it come to that - not that I'm suggesting I would have consumed alcohol on the Queens highway!

When the traffic eventually started to move again, I pulled off at junction 3 and stopped at the retail park just outside Doncaster.  Everywhere was shut except for MacDonalds but xmas music was playing over the speakers and there were just three other people walking around.  It was quite surreal.  A bit like being in Second Life (that's a virtual world on the internet, for all you non-geeky types)

Anyway, this was all quite a bit of a contrast to yesterday afternoon, when I spent a couple of hours in the Mauritshuis, in the centre of The Hague and home to the Girl with a Pearl Earring.  She's quite nice looking but must have dry skin as it's very cracked!

Mauritshuis, The Hague

The Girl with the Pearl - in need of some expensive skin care product for xmas.  (This image scanned from a postcard I bought at Mauritshuis but probably subject to some copyright law)