20 July 2016

Wetton

"Ye Olde Royal Oak" in Wetton
Yesterday was the hottest day of the year but instead of locating the nearest air-conditioned building or sticking my head in our fridge, I opted for a long walk in the delightful Manifold Valley in Staffordshire. As Noel Coward sang, "mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" and I didn't want to let the side down.

In Clint, my trusty South Korean chariot, I tootled over the hills to Bakewell and thence to Monyash and Hartington before arriving in the quaint village of Wetton where I parked up. I slathered exposed skin with "Nivea" sun protection, pulled on my little rucksack that sensibly contained two bottles of water, an apple and an orange and plonked my new sun hat on the Pudding bonce.
All Saints Church, Grindon
Before I continue, let me tell you about this hat. It was made for me by my lovely wife who is becoming something of a seamstress in her late middle age. To look at it you could not tell that it was homemade. In my life I have had very few hats - almost none - because my skull is so big that I can rarely find hats to fit me. How many times have I tried hats on - only to find them sitting precariously on my head as if simply balanced there? I am a freak of nature but it's all just bone - not brains.

I set off in search of Thor's Cave, high above the river valley. Archaeological evidence has revealed that this cave was visited by human beings from the beginning of human time on the island of Britain. Back in Victorian times, it was a popular tourist attraction as the small gauge Leek and Manifold railway ran parallel to the river. There was even a little station called "Thor's Cave".
Thor's Cave and the Geordie folk
When I got to the cave, four grown up people from Newcastle were there - demonstrating how difficult it was to get inside it. The entrance was a cascade of smooth limestone with no steps or ropes. It would have been very easy to fall but bravely your intrepid blogger followed the Geordie guineapigs and I did not fall. It was even harder getting out.

Then down to the river and along to Weag's Bridge with an arduous climb up to the village of Grindon. It was over thirty degrees centigrade and my shirt was so drenched in aromatic Pudding sweat that I could have easily wrung it out as I basked in the sun near All Saints Church, peeling my orange and glugging one of the bottles of  Adam's ale.
Dilapidated barn above Weag's Bridge
Then up and onwards to Ossam's Hill soon to experience fine views of Dale Farm and the limestone plug known as Sugarloaf. I descended to Wetton Mill where I purchased an ice cold can of Diet Coke for £1 which is 71pence more than an identical can cost me from Lidl in Sheffield. Bloody capitalists!

There followed a punishing walk up Wetton Hill where panting  sheep were sheltering from the sweltering sunshine in  the lee of drystone walls. Just a little further and then up to the skyline. There was a quarry where I guess that most of the stones that built Wetton were sourced long ago. I was looking forward to a pint of bitter shandy in "Ye Olde Royal Oak" but damn me when I got there I found the door was locked. I beat upon it screaming, "Let me in!" but no one came.
Cow sunbathing in Grindon
In the scrupulously clean village toilet block, I guzzled a gallon of water from the cold tap - like a camel that has just reached an oasis. To use a common colloquial expression, I was well and truly knackered after this hike - driving homewards nearly five hours after I had arrived. But it had been wonderful and in that tropical afternoon I was so glad to be alive and able to plod those beautiful country miles.
Dale Farm and Sugarloaf near Wetton Mill

33 comments:

  1. How disappointing that the pub was shut. I would have thrown myself on the ground and howled.

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    1. Then some men in white coats would have arrived in an unmarked van to take you away Sue!

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  2. This brought back such memories YP. When I lived in Lichfield many years ago The Manifold Valley was one of our favourite walking spots. Lovely to be reminded of it.

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    1. It is a gorgeous valley and the hilltop villages are equally appealing. I am glad this post rang bells for you Mrs Weaver.

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    2. Weaver, I didn't know you once lived in Lichfield - we have friends who still live there. I was born and brought up in Sutton Coldfield !
      Oops, sorry YP !

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    3. That's okay. You are welcome to have a natter here CG.

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  3. Re your comment on shalln't - I prefer this as the alternative, strictly speaking, would be sha'n't, which I think is clumsy.

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    1. Are you any good at arm wrestling? That's how we will sort this matter out.

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  4. I do admire your energy and passion for walking YP...and what a smashing description of a beautiful part of the world.

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    1. The Dove and Manifold valleys are wondrous to behold. If you haven't been you should get your chauffeur (The Mister) to take you on a nice sunny day.

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  5. Yet again lovely photos of the idyllic English countryside, in perfect weather, YP. It sounds as though Shirley's hat was a great success and has had the first of many outings, which we hope you'll share with us.

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    1. Who knows? I hope there will be many more walks CG.

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  6. Firstly, I was very happy to see you use the word "bonce," it being one of my favorites and never used here in America.

    Secondly, may we please see a picture of the hat which was perched on the Pudding bonce during this tropical trip?

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    1. Soon I will honour this request Jen - as long as it stays in my bonce!

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    2. I was going to say the same thing!

      Oh, and I have a large head too. Hats rarely fit me. I blame the large brain under the surface, too.

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    3. Shaving all your hair off will help you to find hats that fit you Jennifer...but this didn't work for me. It just made me look like Humpty Dumpty.

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  7. Throw in alittle history and a few photos and you have a great walk.

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    1. Hey don't forget boots, sweat and hard labour Red!

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  8. Now that was a wonderful stroll...and now I'm knackered, too! I might have an afternoon nap. Can one have a Nanny Nap if one isn't a Nanny?

    I love your photos, Yorkie. And I'm glad to hear Clint is still behaving himself!

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    1. Clint responds well to a handful of hay and a carrot.And no you may not have a "nanny nap"! Instead you should be dusting, mopping, polishing, laundering and sorting out your fridge.

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    2. Is it about time the chocolate bunny got an airing?

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    3. Poor little thing... I mean the chocolate bunny, not you CG!

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    4. My Clint is perfectly safe, out of the evil clutches of human hands! He sends his very best wishes to your Clint.

      Behave yourself, Coppa's girl!Don't put wild thoughts into Yorkie's head! You know he's easily led!! :)

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    5. All I need is a studded dog collar and a lead.

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  9. Like Jen, I request a picture of the hat Shirley made for you. You can't just dedicate an entire paragraph of this blog post to a hat and then not show us a picture of it!

    Your walk sounds exactly like my kind of walk. Like you, instead of retreating to an air-conditioned environment, I used yesterday's 34 Celsius for a walk on my way home from work. I was nearly the only person out on the fields; the other few I saw were all on bikes, nobody was walking.
    I felt exactly the same when I came home - knackered, but glad to be alive and for having used this wonderful high summer's day the best way I know.

    The pictures are great! I bet you can easily guess which one is my favourite of this lot.

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    1. PS: Steve used to say "bonce", too.

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    2. Your favourite one is the ruined field barn and I posted it with you in mind Meike! Okay. The hat picture will arrive soon.

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  10. The last photo is wonderful. You've caught the perspective of the hill'n'dale so well. The farm looks like a toy farm; tiny cows, stone buildings and rolls of hay.

    Alphie

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    1. When I noticed the scene before me it certainly looked like a picture postcard view. Well done for spotting the cows behind the farmhouse Alphie and thanks for your nice comment.

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  11. Sounds like a terrific, if challenging, walk! I love the pic of the reclining cow in Grindon. Was the perilous climb into the cave worth it? Was there anything worth seeing inside? I guess you can't really visit a cave and not go IN, though, right?

    I have the same problem with hats, as does Dave. We both have huge skulls.

    Oh, and my middle name is Gager -- my mom's maiden name. Just so you know. :)

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    1. Thanks for calling by again Steve or may I call you Gager? (hee-hee) I did climb up into the cave and two of the Geordies kindly waited for me in case of an accident. The cave was once inhabited by cavemen and later there was a Bronze Age burial here. Discovered artefacts and bones are now located in local museums. I had been wanting to visit the cave for a while and I was not disappointed but it was just part of my ramble. It went much further back than I was prepared to go.

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  12. Your walk looks far more comfortable than the office was that I was sitting in on that day. I suppose Thor's Cave got its name from the thor feet that visitors have now that the railway doesn't run there.

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  13. The pictures says it all . Loved the green
    http://inthebothv.blogspot.in/?m=1

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