2 March 2012

Ten

Sheep grazing above Wyedale
Last Friday I undertook Walk 13 from my White Peak Pathfinder Guide. Today it was the turn of Walk 10. This meant driving out of Sheffield through Grindleford and on to Stony Middleton, then along the Buxton road till I saw the turn off for Litton - a beautiful limestone village in the High Peak. Through Litton and then down to the minor road that runs between Tideswell and Miller's Dale. I turned left for Miller's Dale, parking at the old station where I ate my ham sandwiches and sipped hot coffee from my shiny black  flask before setting off.

Although the weather was dry, a milky cloud blanket meant that any photography would not be brilliant so please forgive me. 

For a hundred years, a railway track joined Matlock and Buxton. It was the Midland Railway Company's main line between Derby and Manchester. How ingenious and daring those Victorian railway engineers were - to build a track through such difficult upland terrain. It meant there had to be several tunnels and viaducts - and in its day the project would have been outlandishly expensive. This track closed forever in 1967 leaving Miller's Dale's sturdy stone platforms redundant. Nowadays only walkers and cyclists go there. I think it's great that the scenic track remains an attraction. and has not been destroyed or fenced off to keep out those dangerous creatures known as "the public".

I passed Victorian lime kilns, an old limsetone quarry and then dropped down into lovely Cheedale where an old woman was being led by her son along a path that became inreasingly problematic. This wasn't an easy riverside stroll by any means. By the River Wye, I spotted a child's plastic toy house - just sitting there on the river bank - leaving passers-by like me to wonder how on earth it got there.

Back up to the railway track, through Chee Tor tunnels till I reached the view over Blackwell Mill. Then up the gorge side and across the fields to the hamlets of Blackwell and Priestcliffe before following the long Limestone Way track back towards Miller's Dale Station. 9.5 kilometres in total and a vigorous, enjoyable  walk. Driving home, I stopped just once to take a picture of  "The Red Lion" in Litton - a pub I last entered almost thirty years ago.
Stepping stones in Cheedale
The incongruous plastic toy house
Chee Tor Tunnels
"The Red Lion", Litton

10 comments:

  1. Glad you managed some photos anyway. I think it is great that people can cycle and walk along the abandoned train lines. They must have smoothed the track where the lines once were I gather. They'd never do that here. Just fence them off to keep the public out. Scared someone might trip and then sue them. Pity it has come to that.
    cheers

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  2. Did you only photo the Red Lion or go in for a drink?

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  3. That wasn't a toy house you saw, but the holiday home of the Little Folk of Cheedale.

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  4. HELEN Yes. It's great that the Peak Park authorities saw the opportunity but there must be costly maintenance issues to contend with - tunnel roofs, bridges etc.. Saw some schoolchildren abseiling off one of the viaducts but didn't photograph them in case I was accused of paedophilia! Pity it has come to that too.
    MUMASU I am not an alcoholic! It is possible for me to snap a pub without going inside...well, sometimes!
    SHOOTING PARROTS Sounds like a children's TV series "The Little Folk of Cheedale" narrated by Ian Rhodes...
    "It was a warm spring day in Cheedale and the little folk were off for a picnic by the river. Tralee-tralah they sang as they skipped along...And then a big dog called Tyson came bounding from the woods and gobbled them all up...THE END"

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  5. You were so wise and fortunate to retire while you're still young and fit enough to go out and do the things you love to do (at least it seems like you're loving it). And I agree with Helsie that it's wonderful that England has preserved these things. The public is kept off private land here, especially farms, because a bad one will come along once in a while and strip all the copper wire off a pump or do something else very destructive. Mostly I get trespassers who want to shoot all the doves, pheasants and quail I've carefully raised and released on the property. I wouldn't mind that so much if I could shoot back on their behalf.

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  6. That looks like a very nice walk, apart from the stepping stones. I really don't like stepping stones, I always struggle to balance and invariably end up paddling.

    I've been abseiling off one of those viaducts (with a group of schoolchildren in fact). Was great fun.

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  7. Very impressed to know someone who actually does the walks in Guidebooks!! Thought they were just for reading, looking at photos/maps, and gathering dust ... :)

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  8. LOIS THREE-LEGS How brave you are to abseil off one of those viaducts. But you're scared of stepping stones? Crazy dame!
    BRIAN Oh silly me! I thought people bought the walking guide books so that they could actually try them out! Maybe I'd best just sit at home watching cookery programmes about dishes I will never attempt!

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  9. My husband's Aunt used to live in Litton slack and we used to drink in the Red Lion when we went to visit her, that was about 30 years ago too!

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  10. Ohhhh that looks a lovely walk!

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