Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Limestone Way Circular – (White) Peak District – Derbyshire – 24/03/09 – 8 miles – Helen.

Having thought it a good idea to have a cup of coffee in the car just before starting off on our walk, my flask decided to drip a fair trade measure of coffee onto the crotch of my trousers. So my first thought was I hope we don’t meet anyone coming the other way, who may not accept the explanation for my visible trousers embarrassment. Yet having set off uphill, past a local farm, and onto the Limestone Way, we immediately encountered an elderly walker (or village idiot), who was insistent that we retrace our steps in order to visit the ‘Hermits Cave’. Taking him at his word, and being grateful in my case that my trousers weren’t commented on, we did what he said and came across a minor indention in a rockface, with a pointless iron grilled railing across it. Having retraced our steps once more, he had thankfully pissed off before he could give us some more ‘interesting’ recommendations.

However whilst admiring the actually interesting Mockbeggars Hall rockface (also known as Robin Hoods Stride) at the same location, we then noticed we had been joined by a small dog whom we had seen earlier when we were climbing up onto the Limestone Way. He proceeded to both follow and alternately lead us for some while, until such times as we had reached a road. Thus with another walker about to retrace our steps, said dog shot off again in the opposite direction (no doubt looking to recommend the Hermits Cave to him as well, once he had turned back into human form).

We continued down the road (lane actually) admiring the four standing stones we could see in the distance, and for my part being ever more impressed by Helens local knowledge as she pointed out Stanton Moor (home to Bronze Age burial chambers) and Stanton in the Peak (home to Post Industrial Age sewing circles). As interesting as all that was however, I was far more interested in how long it would be before we stopped for lunch. In fact just like last time out with IVC the Sunday week before, I was feeling very heavy legged from the start and at a low energy ebb. The problem however was that we had to trek on for a bit in order to get some shelter from the biting wind, before eventually finding a good spot behind a wall. However once I had got my Derbyshire cob down my gob, along with crisps and orange juice, my energy levels picked up once more.

Presently we linked up with the River Bradford, which for the first part continued as part of the Limestone Way. More photography ensued, as well as Helen sharing with me how her dog Molly had once got her body stuck in a stile along here (and then forgetting to show me which one). At one point we came across an interesting little stone enclosed watery diversion, which Helen seemed to think was a type of sheep dip. However as my imagination is vastly superior to hers, I of course knew that it was actually a (still functioning) Roman bathouse. To be fair though I could afford to put more thought into this sort of thing, as I was not being burdened at the time with having to make sense of the map. So with it being decided that we ought to be still following the river, we actually ended up giving it the widest of berths, and instead had our final coffee break in a farm cum caravan site. Following which we had a very sharp climb, during which I had to reassure Helen that, despite the sign, there wasn’t any Bulls in the field for her to be afraid of (just checking you’re reading this sweetie).

From here on in it really was the Derbyshire version of the ‘Big Country’ as we walked through a series of sweeping panoramas, even if the light levels were quite poor at this point, skirting by Grattondale in the distance. Eventually though we had to rejoin the road by some horse troughs (and location of some famous Derbyshire photographs). We then took another diversion off that road and headed towards the small village of Elton, where we admired some very old gravestones and crossed through a field where the sign promised we would meet three pigs (we didn’t). That being virtually it, before we found our way back to where the car was parked. Thus although it was only 8 miles, it turned out to be quite a challenging little walk.

Rucksack walks since my last blog entry (2 x Four milers).

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