Every Christmastime, Sheffielders have an opportunity to buy a special calendar. It is called "The Golden Frame" and photographically it celebrates the fact that Britain's fifth largest city - once begrimed by heavy industry and steel manufacturing - is surrounded by some wonderful countryside - including the hills, dales and water "features" of the Peak District National Park which is literally on our doorstep.
This morning it seemed that winter had forgotten to get up and there was a hint of springtime in the air. As I spread bird seed on our lawn and left a second pile on the birdtable, I noticed that the morning sky was Californian blue and the sunshine was positively Moroccan. Time to check out the golden frame and walk off some wintry blubber.
Into the car and off. Down the almost vertical Hagg Hill, past my old allotment, to Rivelin Valley and then along the Loxley Road (yes...Robin of Loxley!), past the Damflask Reservoir and then down into the timeless settlement of Low Bradfield which unsurprisingly sits in the Loxley Valley in full view of its sister village - High Bradfield. They are less than half a mile apart but the hill between must surely put off mini ambulatory pub crawls between "The Plough" and "The Old Horns Inn".
I parked next to the bowling green and then set off on what I suppose you should call a "ramble" because I had no map and wasn't sure how long I would be out. So many times I have been a slave to maps on hundreds of country walks but over the last year or two I have deliberately set out on several occasions with only a vague idea of where my walking might take me - a kind of "parkour" for the middle-aged - genuine rambles. Please see these four photos from today's walk:-
St Nicholas parish church, High Bradfield
Old gatepost near Rocher Edge, dated 1672
Looking over Low Bradfield towards Damflask Reservoir