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.