Thursday, 29 January 2009

Baslow (circular) – (White) Peak District – Derbyshire – 27/01/09 – 10 miles approx – Helen, Luther and Molly.

This particular walk was planned and conceived by Helen, courtesy of her OS map, and began (and of course finished) at a car park in Baslow town centre. Also along for proceedings were Lab dogs Luther and Molly.

Once away from the traffic we started up a lane with a steepish climb, where having got so far up, it was decided that we really needed to have taken a stile on our left, that we had just passed. Thus having called the dogs back, they shot past us and headed straight for the aforementioned stile, as if to say “we wondered what you were doing”. As we carried on there was some impressive views of the valley below, with Helen at one point showing me a great big E and a great big R in corresponding fields far away in the distance. Now of course these can be open to any number of interpretations, but Helen seemed to think they were connected to some sort of Royal anniversary, so for want of a better explanation, I deferred to her local knowledge.

Not much further on though and we had hit a bit of a problem, with a stepladder that Luther couldn’t climb, combined with a gate he couldn’t get under. After a certain amount of chin scratching, I decided to lift the gate a couple of inches, and we were once more on our way. So cock a hoop were the dogs at this point, that it wasn’t long before they had found an elderly walker having a rest, and decided to help him share his sandwiches. Unfortunately he didn’t come across as the sharing type, so it was decided to stop for a tea break of our own, well away from him, at the Wellington Monument. Well I’m sure I don’t know what a monument to Wellington is doing up there in the middle of nowhere (a Celtic cross, not a stature by the way), but apparently there is a Nelson monument nearby as well (someone forgot to tell the tourists though). Far more interesting/unusual though was the Eagle Stone Rock a short distance away (see photo). This seemed peculiarly out of place in a such a flat and barren part of the landscape, and actually resembled some sort of unfinished stone like effort, that had come off a gigantic potters wheel. My own theory however is that it is actually a UFO, that is using a type of stone based camouflage. Unfortunately such theories are notoriously hard to prove and given that I have yet to fully formulate this one, we will leave it for now.

As we made our way along the rock and boulder strewn Baslow edge, Curbar Edge and Froggatt Edge, the weather began to slightly deteriorate. Thus not only were the views below becoming ever more misted, but the sudden chill forced me to put on my gloves and woolly hat. It was decided therefore to find a rock and have a quickie lunch consisting of: a ham and chicken cob (that’s a roll to everyone outside Derbyshire), crisps, coffee and biscuit. However it was also time we were going downwards before the mist/clouds came up/down to meet us, and with Helens expert map reading it wasn’t long before we had picked up the river Derwent, via Hay Wood, to retrace our way back to Baslow. This by virtue of skirting through my old stomping grounds at Grindleford. By this time however it had started to rain in a too heavy to go without waterproofs, but too light to wear them either sort of way. More irritating however was the grippy/slippy mud we were having to trudge along. On one side of us on this muddy trail ran the Derwent, and on the other was the back gardens of houses you probably couldn’t afford even if you won the lottery.

Having briefly left the riverbank, we decided to have our final tea break at the far end of a pub car park, sitting in the rain. Unfortunately my flask had run out of hot water at this point and I had to make do with my last biscuit. From there it was more mud, more river, some farmland and a few landmarks personal to Helen, before we found our way onto the road heading back to the car park in Baslow, via Bubnell. After a long day of running around both doggies seemed subdued and worn for the rest of the evening, Molly especially who was good enough to avoid being car sick, until she had actually got home and out of the car.

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