Tuesday, November 14, 2006


These walks are posted in such a way that to follow on from one part to the next you just need to keep scrolling down the page. If anyone local to the area or visiting wants details of any of the walks I feature I will only be too happy to give what advice I can. Under the right circumstances you may even be welcome to join us.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Autumn Storms Over Cakes Of Bread (Part 1)

Last Saturday me and Tommy drove over to the Derwent Valley where we were to embark on another hike in the hills. Tommy was very excited and never settled down all the way there in the car. When we arrived we had the car parking area to ourselves but before I got my boots laced up and Tommy sorted out another car arrived and even though there was a completely empty car park apart from us they decided they wanted to park right where my rucksack was lying next to my car so I hopped over with one boot on and the other half off and dragged my sack out of the way. I think even Tommy was impressed by the enormous sigh of disbelief I gave and he’s an expert at sighing. I brought along Tommy’s leather harness for this walk as I prefer it to the collar as it pulls more evenly on his body rather than just his neck.

We set off from the car park at around 11 am, it was a bit overcast and breezy but pleasant enough for a walk. On reaching the Derwent water and as there was no one around for him to bother I let Tommy free and he immediately decided it would be fun to chase some ducks so he was soon back on the lead for his troubles. The way along by the water was very colourful, the trees varying from brown to green.

We had the track to ourselves, Tommy’s lead was fastened to the belt of my rucksack, and as long as we were moving forward he seemed quite happy to be dragging me along. I wondered what would happen if he spotted another duck, I had visions of being dragged off in to the water by him. He was very patient though because I stopped many times to take a picture of one thing or another. All the wonderful colours made it hard to pass up a chance to snap a picture every few minutes.
On rounding a corner near the end of the Derwent water we spied the Howden Dam through the trees, it was quite a wonderful sight with it’s stone towers and water running over the wall between them, I half wished we were continuing along the track so we could get a closer look but shortly we are going to be leaving the track and climbing the small path in to the hills by Abbey Brook.

Looking to the Howden Dam.

View back and across the water.

A tree across the water, I liked how the branches showed like veins against the other trees.

Before this however we came upon one of our favourite places to have a break, it’s the seat in memory of James Stanley Byford, if vacant we always stop here for a rest and a look at the view.

A favourite place to sit.

Sit, take in the view and prepare for the hills.

So y’all come and have a sit down and prepare yourself for the climb in to the hills, its going to be no picnic this day so be sure to rest well my friends.

To be continued.....

Autumn Storms Over Cakes Of Bread (Part 2)

If you’ve all done sitting on that there seat we will be off a bit further. Just a short way after leaving the seat we also leave the track that we have followed so far, Tommy is now running free once again as we huff and puff our way up quite a steep incline through pine trees to the open moors where the path narrows and levels out. I stop for a minute here to catch my breath. I was telling Tommy to hang on a minute as I was all puffed out but then I got to thinking, was I really puffed out. I don’t know about your part of the world but here one tends to get frowned up on by some for referring to things as puffs. Apparently a better word to use is gay although to me that means you are happy, but then I guess I was quite happy even though I was out of puff.

Well time passed and old Tom was getting bored and had gone in search of a stick which as usual he found and as usual it was the biggest stick around.

Tommy hunting for sticks.
So off we set once more with a spring in my step now that I was no longer all gayed out. Every few yards Tommy would drop his stick and wait for me to pick it up and throw it for him to chase, I wasn’t about to get in to that one at this stage of the walk, there was a long way to go yet, so over it I would step and past me he would rush to retrieve his beloved stick which he did before rushing back past me hitting me on the backs of the legs every single time with that wretched stick.

Tommy waiting in vain to play stick.

We are climbing gently, Abbey Brook is now quite a way below us to the left and the hill climbing steeply to our right as we contoured the hillside through rough brown grass. The path, though narrow is a good one and fairly level and the going is easy except for a few climbs where the hillside can’t be contoured without making long detours. After each climb we stopped for a look back and during each climb I noticed my heel rubbing on the back of my boots.

Looking back.

For some reason that even I find hard to explain I had decided to go walking in my work boots, this despite that fact that I discovered over twenty years ago that they make terrible walking boots and the only thing for walking the hills in are proper walking boots. You can make do with any manner of other things but your boots and pack have to be the real deal. I have a pair of good walking boots but for some reason I decided that I needed reinforce my theory on walking boots versus working boots. I love my work boots they are so comfy – for working in, and I think it was this comfort that lured me in to taking them for a walk last weekend. It wasn’t a serious problem and there were several advantages to be had wearing them apposed to wearing my walking boots, if only that little guy would stop carving chunks out of my heel with his wood chisel every time we climb a hill.
We have now come about five miles and were about to leave the Abbey Brook path and take the path to find the Lost Lad so as the wind was getting up and we have come to a sheltered place in the fork of a valley I think we will stop and have a spot of lunch and I can also try and sort out these darn boots somehow.
Find a place by the stream in the shelter of that wall and hand around the cheese sandwiches, cake and biscuits – save some chocolate ones for me though. I’m afraid there is no tea today, just coffee from the thermos flask. The dog biscuits are for Tommy by the way! He won’t be right pleased if you go eating them! Anyway tuck in and then we will be fit and ready to carry on our walk.

To be continued...

Autumn Storms Over Cakes Of Bread (Part 3)

We didn’t spend too long over lunch, just long enough to eat some sandwiches, have a drink of coffee and jiggle my socks around a bit to try and ease the problem with my heels. I thought that if I removed one pair it would loosen my foot in the boots thus taking away the pressure on my heels. It seems that a seam in the heel of the boot was cutting in to me. Anyway soon after setting off for Back Tor it was obvious that things were worse and not better, it felt like the little man was now using a saw instead of his chisel so within a few hundred yards I was stopped re-jiggling the socks back to the way they were before. It did make things a bit better, that and walking as flat footed as possible which wasn’t easy climbing a hill as I was. It was more or less all up hill to Back Tor. After climbing a while I would stop for a rest, usually to look back to see how far we had come but my feet were better off if I just kept going for some reason.
Looking back to Abbey Brook

On reaching the broad ridge that lead to Lost Lad we met the wind in all its glory. Tommy looked at me as if to say, ‘where did that come from’! With a little encouragement from me he was soon chasing round after his tail, that was until he got caught by the wind and was blown sideways in to a bog. I told him that it served him right for playing silly beggars and if he didn’t get himself cleaned up he was walking all the way home.

The climb to Lost Lad was quite easy because we had the wind at our tails. On the top the wind was doing all it could to blow us back off again. All around the sky was grey, the weather was closing in fast and even as we stood there it came on to rain. I’d had my coat on since lunch break but thought it was now time to get my water proof trousers on as well. I got them out of the sack and made several attempts to get a leg inside them but all I achieved was someone sort of dance, a very fine one with many complicated steps I might add but as that wasn’t what we were supposed to be doing and our objectives was no closer than when we started I decided to give up on the trousers and head off for Back Tor were there might be some shelter from the rocks.

The climb to Lost Lad

As we reached Back Tor my phone started to ring, it was Vicki wanting to know if I wanted her to get me a new harness for Tommy, it was just about impossible to hear her with the wind roaring around the rocks and the rain beating on my hood, also Tommy had done a disappearing so I had to cut her off until I could find shelter. I found Tommy hiding in the rocks with an old couple. He was jst telling them how I drag him away from the fireside on these long walks in all weathers without any food, you know, all the usual stuff. I told them to take no notice as he was just playing for sympathy in the hope of acquiring one of their sandwiches. I dragged away, he wasn’t very happy but I told him they were probably all soggy with the rain anyway.

Approaching Back Tor

We found out own little hole in the rocks and phoned Vicki back, then broke open the first aid kit and robbed it of two plasters, one for each heal and then managed to get my waterproof trousers on. Before leaving I got Tommy one of his biscuits, I didn’t want him calling in on his new found friends telling them I didn’t bring his coat along or some other tail of mistreatment.

Looking across the moors to Wheel Stones

The next part of our journey will take us along the Derwent Edge past ‘Cakes of Bread’, ‘Dovestone Tor’, ‘Salt Cellar’, ‘White Tor’ and on to ‘Wheel Stones’.

Autumn Storms Over Cakes Of Bread (Part 4)

We set off along the edge, the wind was now coming from our right with such force that staggered along the narrow stone path like a drunk after a heavy drinking session. Each step was a labour the rain hitting me in the face like ball bearings. Many times I was blown from the path in to the long heather and boggy peat. I noticed that even though the rain was really lashing down there were places where the stones were still bone dry because the wind was whipping up and over the edge so fast that the rain didn’t even have time to touch the ground. The good thing about all this was that I was so wrapped up in doing battle with the elements I forgot all about the little guy sawing the heels off my feet.

Dove Stone Tor

Looking west to the plateau of Kinder Scout.

Colourful trees.

Wheel Stones from White Tor.

On White Tor Tommy found a lovely big pool of water to go of a paddle in.
From here we needed to turn right to descend from White Tor, this meant we were headed straight in to the wind. No sooner had we turned and I was blown a good ten feet back off the path. After trying again to descend by the path I gave it up as a bad job and skirted around to the left of White Tor which sheltered us from the worst of the wind.

We were now on the flat once again with the wind rushing in from the right and were headed for Wheel Stones which we reached without further problems. Here we took refuge in a small cave. The wind was roaring around the great rocks like some howling banshee, it was really quite awesome.
We didn’t stay there long as someone else was coming and as the cave is only big enough for two I thought I’d had my turn so now it was theirs also I wanted to get going as I didn’t want to be on the hill when the dark came on. Soon after leaving Wheel Stones we came to a fork in the path, here we had to turn right and head back down in to the valley.
As before when descending over the ridge in to the wind it was all we could do to keep from being blown away, I didn’t know walking down hill could be such hard work. Once over the brow of the hill the wind eased a little and it became much easier and the more we dropped down the side of the valley the less the wind blew.
On reaching an old barn that has been converted in to a shelter for walkers we were ready for a break and another coffee. We weren’t far from the lane that would take us back to the car so I was happy enough to take a minute here.
To be continued...

Autumn Storms Over Cakes Of Bread (Part 5)

View from the shelter.
We stopped in the shelter for about fifteen minutes, just long enough to have a drink, finish off the rest of the sandwiches and biscuits and have a chat to a couple of passing walkers also with dogs. They were heading off up the hill and from here we continued on down to the lane that leads back long the sides of the Ladybower Reservoir to the car parking area.

Grazing sheep in the dusk.
As we tramped along the lane it get steadily darker and darker until by the time reached the car it was quite dark. It would have been even darker if Tommy had his way because as we passed the door of the ranger station he was hell bent in going on in there. I’m not sure why unless he had ideas of them calling out the mountain rescue to carry him back to the car. More probable was that he could smell one of the rangers left over cheese sandwiches or chocolate cake. Anyway I managed to drag him away and we were soon back at the car. I was surely grateful of that because the little guy in my boots had managed to get hold of a chainsaw the minute we hit the lane and boy was he giving my poor heels some stick with it.
It seemed like it had been a long day but we only just managed about 10 miles, we had a good day all the same and had it not been for the trials we had to endure it would have probably been not half as much fun.

Autumn Storms Over Cakes Of Bread (Additional Pictures).

Here are a few aditional pictures taken in the shelter barn. I thought it was nice the way they were inlayed in to the walls of the old barn.