With one of our objectives for the walk being an ascent over Carl Wark, we were most perturbed to find the nearby car park only took credit cards (thus discriminating against people who just carry currency on walks). So that required a swift of change of route/plan by the map lady, which nonetheless produced an excellent walk (with Carl Wark excluded).
So with a new parking place at the top of Padley Gorge, we descended down into the Longshaw Estate, where ‘the red grouse calls’ (often mistaken by locals for pheasant). The weather was bright and crispy cold, with a fair smattering of thin ice on top of the puddles. None of this bothered superdogs Luther and Molly however who were of course in their element, and basically didn’t bother us either as there was no wind chill about to test our resilience. Thus we proceeded in a downwardly direction on the gorge, with a stream far below us to our left, and moss covered rocks and trees to our right, that conceal carefully disguised monsters (see photo). Presently we found a footpath to take us onto higher ground, passing a small dwelling as we did. There then followed a small amount of confusion as to how we were going to climb higher still onto the rocky outcrops around us. Whilst we were faffing about on this, all four of us were suddenly startled by an unkempt man and even more shaggy Old English Sheepdog running past us, and up onto the rocks. They turned out to be one half of a shepherding team rounding up the sheep far above us. The other half of the team shouted down for us not to follow them up with the dogs (like we could climb up there anyway). However there was no need as we discovered we were on the right path as it was.
So we continued on in what turned out to be Bolehill Quarry admiring the many millstones that are scattered about in these parts (again see photo), before eventually crossing the A625 onto Millstone Edge in the direction of Higger Tor. Lunch soon followed, which was in this instance fairly modest given the much larger meal planned for that evening. Also the fact that one could get fairly chilled fairly quickly when not moving, meant that neither of us insisted on our statutory hour.
When we reached Higger Tor, this involved a steep climb up some rocks which threw Luther into a momentarily panic, before he worked out the best way to get up. Following which we continued down to Upper Burbage Bridge crossing the two streams underneath (aka Burbage Brook), as I admired the strange coloured and smelling water, which Helen of course insisted was au naturelle for the area. As we continued along with Burbage Rocks to our left we spotted a guy running along the edge carrying some sort of strange rucksack (or something) on his back. Having dispensed with his load he then proceeded to scale the face of the rocks unassisted (save for his fingers and boots – most impressive). The light was starting to go by now and we continued on as Luther made the most of the brown moss all around, and I speculated on whether some of the more elaborately shaped boulders were really concealing alien spacecraft (just wait till there is a lightning storm round these parts).
Anyway we eventually crossed over the A625 again and into Longshaw Park, where I reacquainted myself with the wooden sheep that I met here with IVC M&M back in May 2008 (looking slightly the worse for wear). Helen for her part reacquainted herself with the pond that she used to go iceskating on as a girl, and we also noted the problems ducks have trying to contend with half frozen water. Not before time then given the failing light, we were back at the car ready to undertake our next adventure later that afternoon, which involved a game of hide and seek with a key.