Friday, 30 January 2009

Promises, promises............

We left Bakewell in the heavy mist, but with the glow of a blue sky slightly coming though. THIS was the sort of morning that showed promise! We planned to go up onto Kinder Scout, as we'd heard there was snow there last week, plus the weather man had said 'sunny all day'. I suppose we should know by now NOT to trust the weather man, but you like to believe, when it says what you want to hear, don't you? Anyway, as I said, these misty mornings usually burn off to leave that sunshine we wanted.
When we got to Castleton, it was MAGICAL! I couldn't stop up Winnats pass, so all I can do is tell you it was like a dream world, with mist rolling off edges like an ethereal waterfall. I was SO angry that there wasn't one place I could pull over, even though it wasn't busy. The best I could do was get a shot into the Hope valley when we got to the top of the climb.
As you can see, the blue sky was now really in evidence, and we just expected the mist to have all burned off, and be walking in the warm sunshine in no time at all.
We crested Mam Nick, and looked down into the Edale valley, which was surprisingly fairly mist-free, the only bit being at the far end of the valley?
There ahead was our goal for today - the Kinder Scout plateau, looking good.
A glance back to Lose hill still saw the 'misty water' flowing over the top, and into the Edale valley to dissipate in the warmer air.
We left the car park and set off in completely the opposite direction. Because of path layouts, you have to walk WEST for a mile or so, before you can turn EAST towards Edale. Upper Booth farm is where it turns East.
Looks like the winter store of cut wood has almost run out!

The path to Edale is good, and in some places paved, as this is a very popular path.
You can see Kinders' southern edge on the right, and the cut of Grindsbrook.

We also planned to go over Rushup edge at the end of the walk, but it didn't look too inviting yet, swathed as it was in mist.
Oh well, it would probably clear later (we hoped).
This is Mam Nick, where the road cuts through from the Hope valley, to the Edale valley.
As we walked the path to Edale, we saw this lovely poem on a bench.
To be honest, it didn't apply to us at ALL, but we thought it a nice sentiment.

A look left showed us 'Ringing Roger' (the lump on the right) and the southern edge of Kinder.

Here's the first thing people who walk the Pennine way see at the 'official' start - the Nags Head pub, closed this month.
And so the climb up Grindsbrook began. The birds were singing like spring, and we even heard a woodpecker tapping rhythmically in the woods to our left. It looks like we ALL have high hopes for today!
As usual, some interesting fungi on the fallen trees.
The first ones are the birch bracket, the second, gelatinous mass, I am not sure.
I think it's the 'Jews ear' family, judging by the colour.

So, it was coats off, and get stuck in lass!
Another shot of Ringing Roger, this time somehow more foreboding looking up at it.

We had only been climbing a short while, but a look back showed us we already had appreciable height under our belts.

There was quite a bit of water coming off the tops, and it made for some pretty waterfalls.

Now Sue was giving it some 'grunt'. This path is very steep and rocky in places, but she wasn't complaining.
We both LOVE this type of terrain, and can't wait to get up onto the top of Kinder Scout.

My happy bunny!
A lot of people would be worried by this kind of stuff, but if you take your time, you're soon up it.

The water makes some very strange and unusual shapes, as does the wind and erosion on the top.
These 'holes' have been worn over thousands of years, beginning with a pebble, or group of pebbles that are harder than the river bed rock, being washed around and around until they wear a hole. The result is a perfect hole in the bedrock.

And then there we were - atop Grindsbrook, and on Kinder Scout.
Now then, it's here that I should tell you about how Kinder can be a dangerous, unforgiving place.
The weather can change in an instant, and I mean an instant, so you MUST have a compass, and know how to use it, especially if you wander into the middle, where it is featureless and unrelenting peat hags. Only a fool would get lost here.
That sky is beginning to look a bit angry, don't you think?
Anyway, after getting lost and wandering about in the middle for about 45 minutes, we decided enough was enough, set the compass and followed it south, southwest for about 20 minutes and emerged, more by luck that judgment, just where we wanted to be, the outcrop of rocks known as 'the woolpacks'.
One 'comforting' fact about Kinder is, if you DO get lost, set the compass and walk direct on a bearing, and you WILL hit the edge in less than two miles, wherever you are on the top.
Note - Sue now has her 'serious' coat on! (So did I).

We sat down for lunch.......and THIS happened!

As I said before, it came from nowhere, and happened in an instant! I was just glad this didn't happen when we were in the middle.
It then started to rain quite steadily, so we battened down the hatches, and decided to cut the walk short.
I had intended to take us over Brown knoll and then Rushup edge, but we dropped down Jacobs ladder as soon as we could.
The Peak park are doing some path repairs here, and it's a good opportunity to see how they helicopter in huge slabs of stone to be laid in a path to stop the serious erosion that so many boots are doing to the peat.

We were glad, looking up, that we had decided to come down, as the gloom never lifted off the tops for the rest of the day.
It was only slightly better down here, and at least the rain had now stopped.
That ridge in the murk in front is where we should have been by now.
And a look back showed the same story up on Kinder.

We got back to the car wet, but happy. We had 'stolen' the best part of the day, so no regrets.
Time to get home and into a warm bath.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Two out of three aint bad!

Two weeks ago, we had a PERFECT day for walking. This week, it was the same again. Dry, cold and clear, just the way we like it. We decided to walk around Chelmorton and the dales, simply because it was a long time since we'd done that area, and it was close to home, so we got to the start fairly quickly.

This is Chelmorton church.
Its claim to fame is the wind vane on the spire - it's a golden grasshopper, the only one I know of.
As we set off walking, I paused to take this picture. The sheep must be fed at this time of year, because as soon as they saw me, they came running towards me.
Lots of snow about, and that fabulous blue sky.
It was cold, but we were well wrapped up against it, so we could enjoy the day.
I always think that a tree, standing starkly against a clear, azure blue sky in winter, is really beautiful.
We walked along this long, frosty track, each of us giggling and cracking the frozen puddles.
Ours were the only set of prints this morning. Virgin snow!

Chelmorton low. A paradox, but in Derbyshire, 'low' means 'high'???
There is even a house I noticed in the village, called 'high low'.
On a good sunset night, this hill catches the red rays really well, and looks like Ayers rock (when viewed from a certain angle).

As you can see, the snow hadn't fallen as much lower down.
I really like this situation, when you can see the green fields, but are standing in snow.

LIFE!!!! Tractor marks showed the farmer had beaten us to it on cracking the puddles on this part of the track.
More trees against the sky, this time a small copse.......

....and Sue ( maybe she should change her name to 'Dot' - geddit???)

The entrance to Horseshoe dale. It would be quite tricky and messy in normal temp's, but with the ground frozen, no problem.

How strange, as we walked into the lower part of the dale - NO SNOW!

I'm not sure how long this has been there, as I've never noticed it before. I don't think it's ancient, but today the snow picked out its borders. I wonder who took the trouble to lay this, and why?
After Horseshoe dale, we met and walked down Deep dale. The terrain here is very difficult at the best of times, but today in the snow and ice, it was treacherous so we had to take great care. What did we see next? A RUNNER!!! However he kept his footing to run on this sort of stuff defies logic. Sue & I both commented, what if he slipped and broke a bone? He was in very light clothing, and there was no phone signal in the dale. In that situation, you would rapidly freeze to death.
Anyway, each to his own, and we were in no rush whatsoever to get away from this beauty.
This is the mouth of a huge, inominate cave in Deep dale. I'm told when it rains very heavily, water issues in a huge gushing torrent from the mouth of this cave.
It's one of my ambitions to photograph this phenomenon.
We emerged from Deep dale, crossed the A6 and dropped into Wye dale. We were only there briefly though, as we climbed out, onto the trail, and up onto the tops again to head for least, THAT was the PLAN!
Before we left though, I got a nice shot of a dipper on a rock.
Here's Sue, again, carefully negotiating an alpine-style path. If you look on the hillside in front of her, you can see how the path continues in a zig-zag up and over the top.

A nice view of the Monsal trail and Chee dale
Yes, the plan was to go through Blackwell, but shortly after we left Wye dale and climbed up onto the top, we got......errmmmm..... TEMPORARILY MISPLACED (oh, alright, I got us a bit lost!). We did eventually find the path, but not until we'd messed about for about 45 minutes, time we could ill afford at this time of year, as the sun goes very early! I blamed the snow - Sue just kept giggling!

The evening light was now fading, and the long, white track led to Chelmorton, and the car.

The sun began to set on our lovely day, so we watched it's last rays before going home to a nice, warm bath. The sky, which had been clear all day, now began to cloud over.
Another special day locked away.

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