Sunday, 7 September 2008

Tideswell and Chee dale

Although the forecast wasn't great, we set off on a lovely morning. We parked at Tideswell, walked west up the hill and over to Monks dale. Here we turned left and dropped into the Dale. Monks dale is not a really popular dale, mainly because it's very hard going and treacherous underfoot. It's overgrown and damp. This makes for lots of moss and greenery, but also like walking on ice, so you have to be careful. After Monks dale we reached Millers dale. The we went into Chee dale where the first of the rain came. We had lunch under the viaduct, which I have abseiled off in the past, and walked past Wormhill springs and into the dale proper. We had good access across the stepping stones (which can become submerged and impassable in very wet conditions). At the end of the dale, we reached Great rocks dale, but turned North and over the tops towards Tunstead. Before this village, we then turned east and passed through Wormhill. We were disappointed to find the stocks locked, so we couldn't get a picture of us in them. Shame! The rain came again as we climbed out of the village and over again to Monks dale head, where we simply re-traced our steps back to the car. A good and tiring day, with a lot of good photo opportunities, I hope you'll agree. Don#t forget, click on any of the photo's to see a larger version.

Here we go then, as we left Tideswell, we got this lovely view of the church, known as 'the cathedral of the peak'

As you can see, there were a LOT of large cumulus clouds about, but benign at this point. However, we realised that could all change in a moment.
These are particularly good field patterns.

I just love this photo....................

Here are a few pics of the fauna and flora we saw.
Sue knows more than me on the names, but I take the pictures :-)

I'm not sure what this grass is called, I just thought it was lovely with subtle pinks and greens.

This is easy - a buttercup!
Two studies of scabia - new.........

......and old.

A nice Cranesbill geranium (Sue tells me).

Again, no idea what berries these are, but they are fabulous in colour and intensity.

I saw a log COMPLETELY covered in dozens of different greenery. Mosses, lichens, ferns, etc etc, so I just lay down with the camera and shot this. I'm really pleased with this one.

These small, black fungi were on the next log.
They look somehow alien, don't you think?

A managed to shoot this Red Admiral as it landed on a scabia.

Always a favourite of mine - a lightning tree against a blue sky.

The entrance to Monks dale. Look fairly innocuous, doesn't it?

Then you see the conditions underfoot.

This spider was busy trying to catch a few flies in the dale.

At last we left the heavy undergrowth and started to climb up the side of Monk dale.

The path became more passable as we got to Millers dale. It was really pleasant to walk beside the Wye with the babbling water for company.
As we turned the corner, we saw the huge viaduct, one of many on the Monsal trail. This was a train line from Buxton to Rowsley, so the people of Buxton could get to Bakewell, Haddon hall, Chatsworth etc. It cut right through the heart of the peak district, with no obstacle too great to surpass. It leapt great valleys, and bored through great hills. Now, most of the tunnels are closed for safety reasons, and the line is now a Mecca for bikers and walkers. The viaducts attract abseilers, and I have 'done' this particular viaduct myself a few years ago. Exhilarating stuff, I can tell you.

At this point, the rain came again. We just had time to eat lunch under the arch of the viaduct though. We then set off for Chee dale, our next dale. Chee dale can flood quite badly, and stepping stones have been laid to try to increase the chances of getting through. The going underfoot in Chee dale is, again, very difficult and slippery. It's really rocky and muddy in places, but it is also one of the most beautiful dales in Derbyshire, especially in a morning mist.

Sue negotiates the first set of stepping stones.

Then my turn........

This dale is also very good for birdlife, with many dipper there. I've seen HUNDREDS of these birds, but today, for the first time, I heard TWO singing, one after another. Their song is nothing special, it's a sort of chattering, twittering sound, but very pleasant all the same and Sue & I stood and listened for ages. I recorded one of them, and the video will be on my 'peakwalks' blog later this week.
Here is a picture of a dipper.
The towering 'Ravens tor' limestone buttresses. Some of the highest in the country. I've stood right on the top of these, and the view is stunning. looking up to them isn't bad either!

I ask you - what more could you want out of life? This was what Sue and I call a 'good to be alive day'. The rain had stopped (for now) and we were in heaven!
Does anyone know the number of a good roofer?
This character wanted a word as we passed by.
We dropped into the valley, back to the head of Monks dale, before retracing our steps of this morning and heading back to Tideswell. The same view as this morning, but in a different light. A great day, despite a bit of rain, and hardly anyone about. That's the advantage of walking mid-week, we can park easily, and NO crowds.
Hope you've enjoyed the pics and text, sorry that there's a lot but I SO love taking them and recording the walks we do. I hope to get a new, even better, camera soon (it's my birthday), so will be even more eager to 'shoot'.

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