My walk last week was in the White Peak Area where Les and I set out to walk some of the less well known hills of the Derbyshire Dales.
We were doing a reccee for the next Crosby Rambling Club ‘A’ party walk that Les is due to lead. We started our walk from the station at Matlock Bath and our first objective was the ascent of the limestone cliff of High Tor. It was a stiff climb and there were several unprotected edges. There view from the top was impressive, looking down on the River Derwent and across to the Heights of Abraham on the opposite hill.
In the Victorian Era Matlock Bath was a popular Spa town. The area around High Tor was laid out as pleasure gardens and woodland walks. The route to the top was considered an Alpine walk.
We now lost all the height we had gained and dropped down to the river before heading off to the village of Riber. It involved another climb up to the ruins of Riber Castle. These looked impressive from a distance but we found they were fenced off. No chance of any photos.
We continued to the village of Tansley and on to Tansley Knoll. Out route description seemed concise but the signposting was poor. It was becoming an exercise in ‘micro-navigation ‘as we crossed numerous fields.
Ahead we could see the gritstone crag of Cocking Tor. Our desription warned of ‘a bit of a scramble’ I found it a struggle. At one point I could not bring my leg high enough to gain the next foothold. I went down on one knee which left me unstable and of course you cannot push off from your knee. I needed some support and reached out for some vegetation to help haul myself upwards. The vegetation was the prickly sort and I ended up with lots of cuts to me hands. We made it but decided it would not be wise to lead a party up here.
The top was a bit of a surprise. A gently sloping slab of rock leading to a sheer drop.The rock was covered in inscriptions one of which dated back to 1896.
The view was impressive looking over the Amber Valley towards Ogston Reservoir.
We paused for lunch and then walked along the escarpment into woodland before heading due west through more fields. In some fields where the crop had not been harvested there was a clear path but in others there was no sign of a path on the ground. It was a good job we had our GPS.
Finally we reached the A632 Chesterfield Road. We were running behind schedule but were on track.
After a short section of road walking we were due to head back along the picturesque Lumsdale Valley. An area full of industrial archaeology with millponds, waterfalls and ruined mills. However it was not to be. On either side of the road a huge housing estate was being built. We found our signpost showing the bridleway leading to Lumsdale Quarry but attached to it was a notice stating that the path was closed until 2019. It also informed us that no alternative route was available. We consulted our map but there really was no way round. We were forced to walk along a minor road for a couple of miles. I suppose that is why we always do a reccee. It would have been embarrassing if it had happened when we were leading a group of walkers.
When we reached the main road we contacted our friends who were back at the car and they came and picked us up. They had also encountered problems on their walk.
It had been a hot and tiring day not helped by the heavy traffic on the drive home.
A day to forget.