Archive for the ‘Peak District’ Tag

Roaches and Mud   12 comments

We try to arrange a group meet up for a walk around early October. This year it was a select band who gathered at the excellent Roaches Tea Rooms and Restaurants for a slap up breakfast that included my very first Staffordshire Oatcake, and very nice it was too.

A lot nicer than the weather that had let us down badly. The forecast was good but were in the grip of what my weather obsessed friend Uncle Fester called “The Cheshire Gap Effect”. In short, a bank of dreary cloud and drizzle hangs over the eastern Peak District while everywhere else was dry with some sunshine. Ho hum. Still, good company was a more than adequate replacement for sunshine and blue sky.

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I used to love the walks around the Roaches when I lived near Derby. It was always a go to place when I was short for an idea (rare in the Peak as there is so much varied walking to be had). Hen Cloud was as steep as I remember. Sadly little in way of views as it was in the cloud when we got to the top. No sign of the fabled wallabies either (I think they died out in a cold winter about 20 years ago)

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One thing the walk did deliver was a couple of new hills to climb as they were on private land when I lived up here but are now on access land. Firstly Ramshaw Rocks. They were extremely impressive but the weather was at its dreary worst while we were up there

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Second was Gradbach Hill. Here we had the best weather of the day with some fleeting sunshine and blue sky

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We stopped for a bite to eat and to enjoy the interlude before it rained again which it surely did

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We paid a visit to Luds Church. Despite the fact I must have walked this area a dozen times and must have been through it, I don’t remember it. It’s a memorable spot so either I genuinely haven’t or I’m losing/have lost the plot

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I was nearly lost for good in here. The mud in the photo above was about a foot deep. And I stepped in it. In trail shoes. In shorts. Nasty. In fact every inch of path we walked on the whole walk was slick with mud. Either it rained non-stop while we on holiday in Europe or there has been no sun to dry anything out. I don’t think I’ve ever walked in the UK and seen so much mud (as opposed to squelchy bog). That I slurped into deep mud was immaterial seeing as my feet were soaked anyway. I was still washing dirt off my feet several days later

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Anyway, Luds Church was another highlight of a damp day

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We finished our walk along the main Roaches edge.

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A fine walk and we had some half decent views between the drizzle interludes

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Hard to take decent photos on such a gloomy day but it gives the impression. Uncle Fester confirmed what we already knew, that a few minutes drive away on his way home the skies were clear and the sun was out.

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Still a pretty good walk though and a long one at 11 miles. Trail shoes had to go through the washing machine to recover though 🙂

Roaches

 

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Cycling with the Hardman   20 comments

When I told people about this they were concerned for my welfare. Going cycling with the Hardman is like saying I’m off for a short stroll with John Muir. The Hardman is very serious about his cycling and despite his older years is seriously fit. He’s thin and wiry and in short everything I’m not. This is man who cycled from the coast to the highest road on Tenerife, a relentless unbroken climb of 2400m, in less than 3 hours. I’d agreed to go cycling in the Peak District with him. I sent him several “go easy on me” and “I’m really quite unfit” e-mails in the hope that I might stand a slim chance of returning directly home afterwards rather than via an oxygen tent in a lonely casualty department.

In the event he was a very considerate cycling partner, reducing his speed down to “middle aged mortal” level and allowing me and TBF to survive the experience intact 🙂

In truth the route was an easy one. North along the Tissington Trail, south on the High Peak Trail and back along the roads to the start. After an excellent breakfast at a garden centre (I had to wait for it to open, how sad is that at my age) we parked up the stunning village of Tissington ready for the off.

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It was a cracker of a day. A clear blue sky is the perfect day for a visit to the White Peak. The green fields and the white stone walls seems to radiate light and warmth

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The Tissington Trail is a wonderful vantage point (or stretch to be precise) to view it from on a bike as its elevated. More importantly the ascent is barely noticeable, in effect a flat ride. Perfect for us less fit types

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We made easy and swift progress to Parsley Hay where the views were superb and we celebrated with a cuppa. The White Peak was my local hiking/stomping ground around 15 years ago when I lived near Derby and I used to love it. The mix of open grassy fields and deep limestone dales and gorges was always one of my favourite landscapes and its a real shame I don’t get back there often enough

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Such was the quality of the day we headed up to the far end of the trail to see what it was like

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This section was especially fine and the easy cycling in such wonderful surroundings was a joy. There is plan in motion to link the ends of the Tissington, Monsal and High Peak cycle ways. When complete it will be a quite superb 2 day circuit through some of the finest scenery in the UK

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We headed south and back along the High Peak Trail. Another stop for a snack and a cuppa was in order but this section was exposed to the cold wind. We eventually found a really well sheltered spot just after this man-made causeway, itself really rather impressive

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We left the trail at Brassington and had a rather excellent sweeping fast descent down the road. The price to pay was a short steep hill preceded by a ford (which the Hardman disappointingly refused to cycle through). Me and TBF were well chuffed to make it to the top without needing to push although a couple of stops to admire the scenery were required

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The Hardman, being a more serious cycling type has a disturbing tendency to dress like a MAMIL!

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A final lazy roll back down to Tissington finished a memorable ride of 30 miles. I may at some point start to enjoy cycling (don’t tell anyone)

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Best way to finish off a great day and a superb weekend? A family meal at Wagamamas when we got home. Sorted!

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