Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Xmas Walks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Xmas Walks. Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Sunday 15 December 2019 - A Christmas Walk from Bakewell

My 'Christmas Walks' have evolved from being planning sessions for the year ahead into a gathering where we learn of each other's activities from the past year. Having said that, Andrew put me in possession of a weighty tome entitled - which could place our plan to walk the  next year in jeopardy! Thanks Andrew...
24 of us duly gathered outside and inside the Lime Lounge café in Bakewell on a cool but sunny morning. Excellent conditions for walking after a few rather changeable days' weather. It was a shame that Jon had cried off ill, and Andrew would not be joining us until Ashford.
The River Wye was running high, but not dangerously so. (NB Click on any picture for a better version and access to a slideshow.)
After a short stretch alongside the happy ducks in the river, we headed through the town and uphill to the churchyard, and past the imposing spire.
The path undulates (mainly up) all the way to Dirtlow Farm. Today's timings allowed for a leisurely pace.
As we progressed, a buzzard flew lazily away from its perch on a gatepost just ahead of us, and flocks of redwings or fieldfares swirled in the fields as we passed by.
Shortly after Dirtlow, our route headed past a communications mast and down towards Ashford in the Water. Sue noticed the time and demanded 'Elevenses', from where there was a good view down to Ashford, and also up the Wye Valley towards Taddington.
We meandered down to Ashford, where the river was certainly not in meandering mode. The ducks had all gathered in an area of eddying calm beside the bridge.
Our path headed past the bandstand (? - Ashford must have a very small band?), and on around the church to the playing field where Andrew was waiting.
This would have been a good place for elevenses in the bright sunhine, but we'd already had them...
We stopped for a while anyway, whilst many of the party took advantage of the nearby loos.
Onwards over damp ground to the , and an excellent lunch. Some folk also had a go at part of a quiz I'd set for last Wednesday night - the picture section. I'll put it up on these pages shortly, and as it was designed for people from Stockport, those who tried to answer the questions did very well.
It had been sunny when we entered the pub at 12.30 after a two and a half hour walk. When we left, two and a half hours later, we noticed that it had been raining. It was particularly obvious to those of us who had left our boots outside.
My hat seems to have decided to try to impersonate the church spire in Bakewell...
As we crossed the fields towards the Monsal Trail, the light dimmed as dusk approached, and the camera was soon stashed.
Andrew peeled off to recover his car, and the rest of us enjoyed a convivial time on the easy, broad track, past Hassop and on to Castle Hill. I'd planned to continue to the end of the Monsal Trail at Coombs Road, returning to Bakewell through the fields, as on , but the drizzle had turned to steady rain, it was dark, and everyone wanted to go home.
So we did just that.
We walked about 9 km in the morning, and a further 5 km after lunch - the route is shown below. The Crispin did, as they always do, remind me that they are open all year round, and you don't have to spend two and a half hours there - the service is actually very friendly and efficient.
I've added a label to this blog that brings up all the since the blog started in 2007, should anyone be desperate for a bit of reminiscence. And there's a route description for 2006 ! 2005's route is . The best I can do digitally for 2004 and earlier is , but I do have hand written diary entries from 1980! I'm not about to suddenly type them all out, although that might be a fun little project...
Thanks for coming, everyone, and have a great Christmas and New Year.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sunday 16 December 2018 – Tideswell and Great Longstone


Also known as ‘A Christmas Bimble’, today’s walk is a long standing tradition that I’ve been responsible for since the 1970’s. Detailed research could identify the exact date, but I haven’t time for that now. Back in those days I was lucky to get four people along, and we used it as a planning session for the year ahead.

Today I was expecting 33 people from far and wide, and two dogs, one (Kate) from Bath, the other (Rowan) from Long Preston. They all turned up. A credit to the health of the nation?!

My son Mike was in particularly good form, having gone in the flash of a gymslip from the last person to be picked in any team, to the recipient of a magnificent trophy at his local gym. (The trophy is in his left hand!)


It even has an engraved plate. It felt to me about the weight of a brick, but to strongman Mike it might seem a bit lighter.


We set off from the car park to the south of Tideswell soon after 10.30; a crocodile of 32 people and two dogs, Andrew having elected to take a shorter route. Footpaths led us past the village of Litton, near where the top picture was taken. We took the same route as on 11 December 2016, the report on which is here.

There were very few pictures taken today. They are something of an unwanted distraction when you have 33 people and two dogs to keep in order.

We wandered down Tansley Dale and stopped in the sunshine in Cressbrook Dale, where Sue distributed an entire batch of caramel shortbread during our elevenses break.

The crocodile then ambled gently upwards, with good views to Cressbrook Dale and beyond.


Fieldfares and redwings accompanied us on the path to Wardlow. Earlier we had been surprised to see a flock of parrots outside Mike’s house in Northern Moor!


The Crispin was reached in good time for our one o’clock Christmas lunch. We knew they had another group in so the kitchen would be stretched. We were in no hurry, as people needed lots of time to complete my (traditional) picture quiz. I made it easier than previously and the six teams got remarkably close scores, with the joint winners on 23/30. I’ll upload it as a separate posting in due course – it generated fewer complaints than usual.

The service and food were excellent. We will be booking again for next year. I took a few rather pathetic snaps.


Next year I’ll co-opt someone to run riot with my camera.

One team got bored with the quiz and started on TGO Challenge vetting… whilst Carmen got up to date with her homework.


After quite a while, we set off again.


It got dark fairly soon, but this was expected (it’s that time of year). Andrew left us to recover his car from Upperdale, and the rest of us proceeded through three tunnels then up Tideswell Dale, to reach the car park at 5 pm.

Here’s our route – 15 km with 400 metres ascent. I walked the same route last Wednesday, so I was pleased not to get displaced with such a large group!


Thank you everyone, that was a most enjoyable day out. Long may they continue.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Sunday 17 December 2017 – A Christmas Circuit from Bakewell


Last year’s Christmas lunch at The Crispin proved to be a great venue, so it was booked again for this year. It has the benefit of a private dining room for up to thirty diners, and a good chef.

Rather than repeat , a ten mile circuit from Bakewell was devised. Some of us enjoyed a coffee in ‘The Lime Lounge’ before setting off into the rain.


Last year we were 23 in number. This year’s spreadsheet had the same number, but by the time we started we were down to 18 due to crockedness and illness, though numbers did rise to 21 for lunch. Alan R had bravely risen from his sick bed for his first full day walk for over a month. Well done Alan, it was good to see you. He pictured me celebrating that with Sheila.


We rendezvoused with the poor people who couldn’t afford a coffee, and set off beside the River Wye, where goldcrests joined a variety of different tits (many with long tails) in nibbling the riverside berries.


I wonder how many of the group noticed a brief hiatus in the rain as we passed by this fine edifice.


Full waterproofs were deployed as we headed up a gentle slope to cross Stanedge Road, heading west over easy ground.


There was no snow on our path, but the frost made for a mostly satisfactory firm surface in lovely Peak District scenery.


There were good views down to Ashford in the Water.


As we passed the church in Ashford, Andrew (crocked but able to join us for the walk for 3 km) contrived to fail to notice 18 hikers as they passed by the shelter under which he was waiting. Luckily we stopped for elevenses nearby (see top picture), during which break Andrew was recovered from his blind spot!


Then it was an easy stroll in soft conditions, culminating in a dash to the pub.


I organised a quiz, as usual, and Jenny (crocked but hungry) kindly took a few snaps to record the occasion.


Quiz results time – one team managed (with the aid of a large magnifying glass) to get 25/35, but everyone was a winner. The questions will feature in the next posting.


After our two+ hour break, the rain had stopped, and navigation for the afternoon would be easy, though numbers had now risen to 21.


This snowball is all that is left of Great Longstone’s giant snowman.


It’s a pleasant stroll to the Monsal Trail.


Perhaps some people were put off by the frost? Maybe some dived into the café at Hassop?


Light began to fade, but the route along the railway track was clear. Nevertheless, by the time we reached the end of the path at Coombs Lane we were down to eight people, a further thirteen having apparently sloped off by way of a variety of ‘cheats’.

Anyway, the route followed by those eight stalwarts is shown below – 16.6 km with about 350 metres ascent. Shorter routes are obviously available, but this was a very satisfactory one.


Thanks for coming everyone, especially those who travelled a long way and who we only seem to see very rarely. I hope you all enjoyed your day out.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Sunday 11 December 2016 – A Christmas Bimble


My Christmas walk and lunch has come and gone again. After using the Charles Cotton Hotel in Hartington for a few years I decided that after last year’s poor service, I’d relocate. Eddie and Jon (who were unable to attend but send best wishes to everyone) recommended The Crispin at Great Longstone.

So I booked it.

It’s a while since we started this walk from the picnic spot south of Tideswell, and whilst it’s highly suitable it’s a bit of a pain to have to spend £4.50 on parking after several years at a free lay-by on the A515. (Pictures stolen from Sheila.)


Never mind, all 23 expected people turned up just about on time, and we were soon strolling along the path towards Litton.

It was a grey day, and breezy, but quite warm for the time of year. Our route (shown below) led past Litton then down Tansley Dale for elevenses in Cressbrook Dale.

This picture is stolen from Sheila. I was busy doling out .


Then we ascended towards Wardlow. The following pictures were taken during that ascent.


During the ascent, we met participants of a 12 km fell race, the Litton Christmas Cracker. The leader was well ahead but wasn’t very polite to a group of our walkers who happened to be on ‘his’ path. I was a little ahead of the group, but at Sue’s behest I later lodged a complaint about his behaviour. This has been dealt with by the organisers, who say he’s ‘normally a really lovely lad’. They will have a word with him, and have apologised profusely. If anyone on our walk is in the vicinity of Litton on 10 December 2017, we are invited for complimentary mulled wine and mince pies. (I think that will clash with the Tatton Yule Yomp, the Christmas walk being on 17 December next year.)


So distracted was I by the runners, and chatting, that I missed the turn to Wardlow. Many of our party followed me up towards the summit of Wardlow Hay Cop. This seemed to please Graham I, who went all the way. I was later told that apparently there’s a permissive footpath that I could have used to re-join my planned route. It’s not on my map. I’ll have to explore. Anyway, the walk benefited from a ‘meander’.


Anyway, there was a nice view back down to Tansley and Cressbrook Dales.


After Wardlow we endured a short section of road (perhaps the permissive path mentioned above would reduce this) before heading along a thin path pictured below towards Crossdale Head Mine. This joined an excellent bridleway for a joyous descent to Great Longstone.


Eddie and Jon’s recommendation, The Crispin, proved to be an ideal venue for lunch. I’ve already booked it for 17 December next year. Good food, good service, and the usual picture quiz (it’s on the table on the first picture below).

It’s perhaps no surprise that Sue, Mike and Sarah managed to win the quiz, as Sue had taken some of the pictures or been with me when they were taken, and Mike should have been able to identify all the bands (though in his one-eyed state he failed to spot Eric Burden).

Alan and Sheila are always hard to beat, and with Roger and Graham to assist them they came in an easy second with 13½ points out of the 50 or so on offer.

Ok, I promise to make it easier next year.


I’ll post a separate entry with the quiz, if anyone else would like to try it. Just a bit of fun, like the Center Parcs photo competition (see previous posting).


The more observant may notice a few ‘missing meals’. That’s because I snatched a moment to take the photos after the beef had arrived, and just as they were about to serve the turkey. And I didn’t get a picture of our table, apart from the bottom ‘ugly duckling’ image. Sorry Sue and Sarah.


After well over two hours in the pub (we still could have done with longer), the light was already fading when we left. “Have you finished your walk?” asked Joanne (The Crispin’s manager). “Not quite, it’s a five mile walk back to our cars!” (Except for Andrew who was parked nearby as he had to return home early)


Sheila managed a few pictures after this, but I didn’t. So I’ve stolen a couple of hers. (.)


It was an easy walk along the Monsal Trail. The first tunnel was well lit, the second was unlit, and the lights in the third (which go off at dusk) went off when we were either just exiting or just entering, depending on how fast you were walking.


We regrouped at the point where our path left the railway in favour of Litton Mill and the good track back to the car park, reached shortly before 5 pm just as proper darkness was setting in. So torches weren’t needed, though a few people did seem to have them out.

Here’s the route, including my ‘meander’ before Wardlow – 16 km with about 500 metres ascent (Garmin gadget says 382 metres, whereas Anquet mapping using the same .gpx file says 647 metres!). It took us 6 hours, of which about half was ‘moving time’.


Thanks for coming, everyone. A really enjoyable day out, and good to catch up.

Hope to see you all soon, and certainly on Sunday 17 December 2017, when we’ll eat at The Crispin again, but will probably start somewhere else, perhaps Bakewell.