Monday, 31 May 2010

Chatsworth (Circular) – (Derbyshire) – 30/05/10 – 6 Miles – Helen (Luther & Molly)

Those of you looking for glorious pictures of Chatsworth House can forget it; I didn’t get to see it on this walk so neither do you. Which basically means this walk was in the grounds of Chatsworth and beyond, but with the house just that tantalising way out of sight (ask Helen she planned it). What wasn’t out of sight of the car park however was a group of some 40 to 50 Muslim youngsters (many in traditional dress + flags and banners) doing some sort of aerobic warm up. We thus speculated on whether they were a walking group or not, before they eventually disappeared in the direction of some sort of flower show at the house. Whilst one isn’t always pleased to encounter large groups of walkers or anyone for that matter, there is a school of thought that says ethnic minorities are under-represented in the countryside, and that it shouldn’t be just the preserve of the white middle class. However this tiny and humble blog is not the place for such a debate (just highlighting the issue doncha know).

Anyway our walk began with a long and steady climb, with the signs on gateposts telling us (for that part anyway) to keep Molly and Luther on a lead. The weather was bright and sunny, however there was a chilly and gusty breeze which at one point blew my hat off. When we finally reached the summit we found ourselves crossing the must luscious field of new grass (not readily apparent until one looked backwards). Thus the silver tips of each blade appeared to both flow and ripple down the gradient, as lab dogs Luther and Molly frequently disappeared in it. It is views like this that really makes Country Walking such a special activity. The picture of me above is at that exact spot (but without the movement of the grass, it loses much of its effect).

Having made a circular pass round some water we then came into a wood, where we stopped for some brief provisions among the bluebells. There was then a long descent through the wood, within earshot of some sort of dog show (didn’t have the time to enter Luther and Molly), before we picked up the Monsail Trail. Unfortunately you can’t completely follow the disused railway track, as most of the tunnels are sealed up, although the way to circumnavigate them is of course marked.

As we began our descent we spotted a Chicken in the hedgerow wearing a large elastic band round its middle. Meanwhile I managed to get one of the most vicious set of stings on my hand from some nettles, that I have ever had in my life (they really blistered up and fizzed away for the rest of the evening). Yet being the hero that I am I soldered on regardless. Having come onto the road my hero status was soon deflated when we had to come through a gate of a tunnel that was being blocked by three enormous cows. Now me and Helen will have to agree to differ on how much room and respect to give these creatures (the dogs don’t appear to like them much either). So lets just say I wisely hung onto Molly, not so much for protection, but rather to prevent Helen from buggering off and leaving me whilst I worked out a safe passage. To be fair she did come back to retrieve me (at least I hope it was for me).

From there it was back alongside the river and eventually the green wide open spaces of the grounds of Chatsworth, before finally relocating the car. So the cow issue aside this was a rather splendid little walk on yet another excellent Spring day.

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