Monday, 30 May 2011

Monsal Head (circular) - (White Peak District) - (Derbyshire) - 28/05/11 - 5.25 Miles - Helen (Molly)

Four pounds for four hours at the Monsal Head car park, certainly made me glad that this was a five mile walk and not a ten mile one. Anyway this was a repeat of the one we had attempted from Country Walking magazine last November. Only on that occasion we had been forced to do a different walk after the high water levels meant we couldn't walk along the Limestone Walls at Water-cum-Jolly (just like Julia Bradbury). Then we had to later retrace our steps to recover Helen's hat.

So anyway having descended down from Monsal Head to pick up the Monsal Trail, our first surprise was the amount of cyclist's going up and down necessitating Molly having to be on a lead (Luther wasn't able to make it on this occasion). By the time we got to the point overlooking Cressbrook Mill our second surprise was that the tunnel there was now open.

In fact this was something of a special weekend for the Monsail Trail, as four tunnels that run from Bakewell to the edge of Buxton had been opened a few days prior, for the first time since they were sealed by the former Midland Railway's in 1968. All part of a large scale enginnering project to make this part of the trail more accesslble for walkers and cyclists. Oh yes cyclists, as apparently their numbers were explained not just by the special occasion, but also by the fact that two hire centres had been set up on the trail to take advantage of this opportunity.

Naturally being the sort of people who never hesitate to seize the moment, we got off the trail as our route cut out instructed and headed down to Water-Cum Jolly. Helen for her part was displaying what I thought was a 'Hungry and Homeless' placard, but actually turned out to be an OS map. Anyway no problems this time (like high water levels, or potentially drowned doggies), as we made our way along, passing rock climbers and leaping fish. Eventually however we left the track and after passing by Litton Mill we began another climb which eventually and briefly took us back onto the Monsal Trail, before beginning the steepest of climbs with magnificent views of Millers Dale behind us. We made a point of continually stopping to look as well as take pictures (nothing to do with gasping for air and waiting for the lactic acid to clear out of our legs).

Eventually we reached a crossroads (following some unneccesarry intimidation from my bovine friends), and then after passing some farm we carried on a long track which was slightly less scenic than all that had gone before. The weather was starting to close in at this point requiring jackets to be put on.

The scenery picked up somewhat as we started to make a descent with Monsal Head in the distance. Thus after a steep and stony descent we found ourselves on Monsal viaduct facing another of the newly opened tunnel's. That is to be left for another day however, and so after a swift stepped climb, we were back at the car park.

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