11 November 2012


Nobody knows why a certain millstone outcrop to the east of the Kinder Plateau, high above The Vale of Edale, is called Madwoman's  Stones, Last Monday, on a bright blue sky Autumn morning that was my destination - Madwoman's Stones. Perhaps Margaret Thatcher had once hiked up there? Maybe they were named after a certain lady blogger who, for diplomatic reasons, shall remain nameless. I imagined a spurned damsel from medieval times raging at a storm just like King Lear or a photo-shoot for Madonna's latest album. Madwoman's Stones and I a madman in hot pursuit.
Above Hagg Farm, not long after setting off, I came across these disused farm buildings -  Bellhagg Barn.
This is Upper Ashop - a sheep farm that clings to the southern slopes of the  Upper Ashop Valley
I was provided with a magnificent view into magical Alport Dale
Nestling on the edge of Ashop Moor, this shooting cabin built in 1935. A place for  the idle rich to  drink brandy, exchange bawdy tales and clean rifles before blasting bewildered grouse out of the Derbyshire skies. And they call it "sport"!
And so to Madwoman's Stones, A remote and exposed moorland setting but a rather squat millstone formation.  For thousands of years it has resisted perpetual assault from the weather's armoury. No madwomen in sight.
The Druid Stone, half a mile away, was a more impressive natural sculpture with its weathered layers like old skin. 
Days are short in November and in the late afternoon the light starts to fade.  Here's a  lonesome tree  on Crookstone Hill.
Then it was back down into the Ashop Valley and across The Snake Pass to where I'd parked my car. There was a note on the windscreen from an irate coach driver, informing me what trouble he'd had trying to squeeze past on the single track lane from Hagg Farm Outdoor Centre. Oh dear! As I was removing my muddy boots,  he came fuming along the lane. I apologised profusely even though my car was very evidently off the tarmac - the difficulty had been in the curve of the bend. Silly me! That's one place I won't park again.


  1. What an absolutely beautiful day ! A delightful part of the world once again.

  2. Lovely, if rather 'edgy' images this time. Perhaps it's the impending winter look to the place. Or maybe the coach driver's irate-ness seeped in through ESP.

  3. There is a different quality to the light at the time of year, isn't there? Lovely photos, as always, but I'm afraid I was sidetracked by your fish. Didn't think you went in for 'them there gimmicks', YP. ;)

  4. Fabulous photos! I doubt I'll see those stones for real (no more hiking for me), so your pics will have to take me there.ii

  5. HELEN You're right and by the way - just in case you were wondering - Madwoman's Stones were not named after you!
    KATHERINE Well-observed ma'am! I am interested that you see "edginess" there. You're probably right about premonitions of winter. By the way, Madwoman's Stones were certainly not named after you. For an artist you are amazingly sane!
    JENNYTA You're so right about changing qualities of light. I look back at some of my June/July pictures and see that the sunniness then was somehow more pure - less golden. And please don't worry, Madwoman's Stones were not named after you!
    MARY Z I am so glad you enjoyed my walk, albeti vicariously. And you guessed it, Madwoman's Stones were not named after you either!

  6. Thank you. I think.
    '...for an artist..'? A not-very-subtle back-hander, there, mr pud.


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