Sunday, 20 May 2012

Somersall to Lineacre Reservoirs (Circular) – Chesterfield - (Derbyshire) – 19/05/12 – 8.75 Miles – Helen (Molly)

So it’s Summer next week then is it ? Because for mid-May this barely counts as Spring. All of which left me making a quick change of jacket at the start of this walk, when it looked like a cloudburst was imminent. In the event it was a damp dull atmosphere of a day, but never actually chucked it down.
Anyway we have been round Lineacre reservoirs many times before, as a short drive-in dog walking circuit, but this time we were setting out from much further afield. Our target point being Brampton church, where we came across some very old and abandoned gates just before crossing the graveyard.
So presently we found ourselves in Lineacre where we stopped for Coffee and biscuits, which Helen had the presence of mind to bring with us. After various encounters for Molly with the other canine patrons who do this circuit, and with us admiring the combination of bluebells and totem poles around us, we gradually left Lineacre behind.
Having eventually found a brook to cross, we began a climb but ended taking the wrong path option, requiring a bit of step retracing. Eventually we got back on track but not before being perplexed by our footpath sign on a wooden garden gateway, with three small yappy dogs on the other side. This footpath then took us briefly through a field with some skittish horses, and thankfully not through a field where two bulls seemed anxious to make our acquaintance. With the map being consulted at this point once too often for my liking, given that we were still nearly half way from home, I pointed out to Helen that it was now 5.00pm and the Champions League final (coverage) was starting at 7.00pm. This was well received as you might expect, but I put all of this pontificating down to her still being sluggish having spent most of the morning in bed. From here however the pace soon quickened up with some nice wide, even and downhill bridleways for us to get a quick March on, save for the occasional riders coming in the other direction. Thus before one knew it we were coming back down the familiar Chander Hill, reaching our start point just after 6.15pm (panic over).

Friday, 11 May 2012

Fulwood (shops) to Low Bradfield – (South Yorkshire) – 09/05/12 – 12 Miles – R’blers

My first surprise of the day was how clogged up with traffic Sheffield was at a quarter to ten in the morning (although a broken down Stagecoach bus, may have had something to do with it). So another large 20+ group set off on a day where rain was promised, but except for one small interlude in the afternoon (see later photo) it never really materialised.
Anyway for the first half of this walk, this was as remote and wild an area as I can ever recall walking in, as we made our way via Porter Clough and Rud Hill. The ground was also very boggy/springy as we traversed Hallam Moors, and mindful of Monday’s mishap, I took as much care as I could with my footing. Our initial objective being Redmires Reservoirs which we eventually circumnavigated. Then following a very steep climb which spread the group out somewhat, we stopped for lunch in a carved out quarry (where I received a text asking me whether I had got out of bed).
The second half began on much flatter ground as we made our way through Hollow Meadows. Shortly afterwards the rain started to threaten, and in the process of having my rucksack in one hand, trying to get my waterproof out and chinwagging all at the same time, I managed to fall backwards/downwards from a stile (fortunately no damage done). When the rain did come it was all very brief and having immediately overheated in the mac, I took that off and resorted to my brolly.
We continued on via Cranshaw Lodge passing an interesting pumping station (1887) to eventually reach Dale Dyke Dam, the location of the Great Sheffield Flood in 1864 (see photo). From there the pace was upped somewhat to catch the bus in Low Bradfield (missed) although something eventually came which took us to Hillsborough interchange (where everyone dispersed) and from where I took a bus to Sheffield interchange.
This was a really excellent walk, in stunning wild countryside, done at a really good pace, with a friendly group. So what’s the problem ? Well the first thing I have to admit, is that I am really missing walking with IVC. The other thing with group walking (which often applied to IVC as well) is that you often just want to be silent and enjoy the walk scenery, yet find yourselves being forced to be more sociable than you really want to be (i.e. I prefer to be all walked out, not talked out). What also applies to walking groups as a whole, is that you wished there was more of a mixed demographic, so that you weren’t getting constantly battered by one perspective on the life cycle (anyway rant over). IVC really expended my walking horizons, and also gave me the confidence to walk further afield on my own, with a view to leading walks for them as a group. Therefore I am sure I will get over it, and in due course appreciate the undoubted benefits of this group as well.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Robin Hood Stride (Circular) – (White Peak District) - (Derbyshire) – 07/05/12 – 7.23 Miles – Helen, Ally & Grant

Whilst our numbers were swelled for this bank holiday jaunt by young people Ally and Grant, we also had to leave behind Molly currently nursing a dodgy paw. Now as May day bank holiday weather goes this one was distinctly below average, with a sharp chill in the air and a constant mizzly threat of rain.
So having parked in a layby we made our way up a short incline to pick up the Limestone way with Robin Hoods Stride (mock Beggars Hall) ahead of us (see pic). Our first stop being the hermits cave (not much to see there then) before carrying on over the hills towards Bradford Dale. Here we found ourselves running the gauntlet of one field after another of killer cattle, before eventually having lunch under a rocky incline outside Youlgrave. During the course of the day I became something of a quartermaster, handing around assorted: hats, gloves, plasters and binoculars. Unfortunately I had run out of forks for the consumption of tuna.
Following an inconclusive post lunch diversion for coffee and cakes (never happened), we then found ourselves negotiating some boggy ground. This was every man (woman) for themselves, best illustrated when I put my foot down on a ‘dry’ part only to sink straight down to my knees. My frantic cries for help, as I then fell forward sinking both arms in as well, went unheeded as the others fell around laughing. Realising I was on my own in this survival situation, I heroically managed to get myself out. However the laughter around me soon began to die out, when I pointed out that two of our party were going to have to eventually take me home in their cars.
We continued on with me scraping bits of mud off as I went, whilst the two people with maps faffed around so much, I felt like jumping back into the mud to relieve the boredom. Anyway we did find some Lama’s and young lambs to gawp at, all the while keeping a wary eye out for more of the killer cattle.
Eventually we came out by a series of troughs on Cliff Lane on the way to Elton. Here we were greatly amused by some passer by’s chocolate lab who thought he could swim from one trough to the other. We later came across this group again by a churchyard in Elton having negotiated another climb up to that point. Our descent down again from the church yard found the two youngest members taking their turns at falling over. Eventually however we made our way back to the car, before making our way home for lashings of cake and ginger beer. Alright I made that bit up as given the state of my boots/trousers, invites for tea were a bit in short supply. Anyway a fun day, although given how long it took us to do, we should have completed seventeen miles not seven.