Monday, 31 August 2015

The Derbyshire Peak District

Paul, Denise and Jackie walking over The Torrs near Crich

Denise and Paul arrived bright and early, dressed for the off so after a quick cuppa we set off to Ambergate to walk to Crich and back. A lovely walk, past the national tram museum with steam powered carousel for the bank holiday, up to the Crich Sherwood Foresters World War Memorial for fantastic views, and back along a disused canal with a great variety of water birds. 

The Tramway Museum at Crich. Even Dr. Who's Tardis was there!
The weather was perfect walking weather, clear with the sun appearing briefly every now and then but not staying for long to make us horribly hot and we made really good time. The plan had been to eat in the pub whose carpark we had taken advantage of, but as it was not quite 5.00pm we thought we’d have a pint before returning to the house and walking back to the Hollybrook, where we went with Mum, so we could all have a drink. This we duly did, returning to the house for pudding of bubbly supplied by D&P and a huge birthday cake cooked by Steph, their daughter. Yummy, but ridiculous, three layers, full of nuts and covered with cream cheese icing. No calories there then!

Denise, Jackie and Brian with the Sherwood Foresters Memorial behind
The weather forecast for Sunday wasn’t as good, but actually was equally as perfect, so off we headed to the Peak district proper to walk along Baslow and Curbar Edges, across moorland and with fantastic views. D&P found the whole moorland very evocative of their favourite BBC film series of Pride and Prejudice with the result Denise was forced to climb on as many rocky outcrops as possible to point in the direction of Pemberly (or Chatsworth House, or anywhere really) so they could put a picture and quote on Facebook. This presented us with much merriment, though what others thought who can tell?

View from the top of the memorial
Time for tea and cake at the memorial
Two spots of rain and we came upon the short route so we thought we’d take it through some lovely woodland, which was the right decision, not that it rained but we’d all probably had enough, and meant we could get home for tea and cake before I cooked paella, followed by cake….. getting the picture?

The tram stop at the far end of the old quarry
We woke to much rain so after a leisurely breakfast D&P headed off, so we are snuggling with TC as we promised him. Every time we went out we got a look, abandoned again, so today we have the perfect excuse to make it up to him, a movie on a rainy Bank Holiday afternoon!

We found this old abandoned quarry with lots of interesting looking climbing lines, but it doesn't look as though its ever been climbed. First climbing ascents anyone? Thats Jackie hiding in the tree, Denise, Paul and Brian
Mum and dad swan with 4 very fluffy adolescent signets, all on the disused Cromford Canal, now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
No walk is complete without a pint of real ale at the end. This one at the Hurt Arms in Ambergate and the beer was the Reverend James - fabulous!
The fabulous cake that Steph baked for Brians birthday, but look at that huge firework on the top. We decided it wasn't safe to light it indoors, so....
We went outdoors in the dark wearing sunglasses to guard against the glare from it. Unfortunately I missed it burning, but believe me, it was fiery and bright - glad we were outside!
More birthday celebrations and its not possible to forget my age! '60' candles on the cake, '60' on all birthday cards and, from my daughter, socks, a mug and a place mat all with '60'on them!
Geared up and ready for Sundays walk over the gritstone edges of The Peak. There was an ice cream shop, so we started the walk with one
Those two green rectangles spell 'E' and 'R' a nice tribute to HM the Queen
Brian, Jackie and Denise at the Wellington memorial near the top of Baslow Edge
Paul, Jackie and Denise at Eagle Rock, a prominent landmark at Baslow Edge
Walking along the edge at Baslow
The edges give lots of opportunities for the adventurous to get good photos. Here's one of Jackie
And Paul...
And lots of Denise pointing.....
Yes, lots! Here she is actually pointing to Chatsworth House. Its actually just to the left of those white marquees you can just make out on the left
But I also managed to the preparation for the photo!
And here she is posting it on Facebook.
This is Curbar Edge, a popular gritstone climbing area. You can just see a climber above 'The Peapod' a classic climb HVS 5b
Kissing Gate! Denise and Paul on the walk out with Curbar Edge in the background
Jackie and Denise on the path alongside the Derwent River
On the old bridge over the Derwent back into Baslow
Anyone for cricket? The bowler on the right just about to release the ball at the Baslow Cricket Club

Home via Chesterfield and its twisted spire

Friday, 28 August 2015

Big birthday landmark

Birthday balloon that arrived by post, courtesy of Alex and Rob

It’s official, I am now of a certain age! I can get 10% discount at B&Q on Wednesdays but, sadly I don’t get a free bus pass for another 3 years and I won’t get a state pension for another 6 years. I’m nestled neatly between two prime number ages, the last time until I reach 102. If you haven’t guessed, I’m now 60! To celebrate, Pauline came up to stay with us in Derby while we housesit TC and we’ve had three full days with her.

Jackie and Pauline in front of Caulke Abbey
On Wednesday, shortly after her arrival we were off out to Calke Abbey, an early eighteenth century grade I listed country house standing on the site of a medieval religious house. It was owned by the Harpur family for nearly 300 years before passing into the hands of the National Trust. At the time they acquired it, it had decayed considerably and the Trust have deliberately left much of it as it was, calling it an un-stately home. 

Jackie, Pauline and Brian with afternoon tea at Calke Abbey
It’s got considerable grounds as well as 100 rooms in various states of decay and clutter and we spent a good 4 hours there until closing time and could have spent much longer. The trust employ many volunteers in their properties to entertain and enlighten people as they walk round the various rooms, so you do learn a lot and it makes it very interesting.

The gardens at Calke Abbey
Brian, Martyn, Pauline, Jackie, Annabel, Roy and Jean
On Thursday we went off to Lyddington in Rutland, Leicestershire to see Martyn (Jackie’s uncle, Pauline’s brother) and Annabel.  Martyn is a farmer and has lived all his life in Bicker in Lincolnshire in a huge house that had been in the farming family for generations, but they have now sold it and bought a fabulous seventeenth century stone property in this small village now that Martyn has gone into semi-retirement. 

Martyn, Annabel and Ella
They bought it three years ago, extended and completely refurbished it, but we hadn’t seen it. Roy, an old friend of Martyn’s, and his friend Jean also came down. At 83 Roy is a former policeman in the Bicker area and has now been retired for 33 years. He’s still pretty fit and as lively as ever, so the seven of us had a fabulous day out. Lunch in Martyn and Annabel’s local restaurant, that appears in the Michelin guide, coffee in the warm afternoon sunshine, a walk round the village and then a guided drive by Martyn past Britain’s longest railway viaduct, the 1275 yard long, 82 arch Welland or Harringworth viaduct, constructed in 1878. Great to see them all again, including their 11 week old puppy Ella that I think is a flat coated setter, very friendly and bouncy!

Their lovely house in a fabulous village
Afternoon walk through historic Lyddington
Friday (today) we took Pauline to Dovedale, a beautiful valley (Dale) in the Peak District cut by the River Dove. It’s a deep wooded valley with limestone cliffs, a good path alongside the river, very scenic and also very popular, so we parked the car and joined the crowds with their children and/or dogs on the stroll up river. We’ve been here in the past carrying all our climbing gear as the limestone crags offer some excellent climbing, usually with a lot a spectators as the crags are very close to the tourist path, so it always made us feel pretty good (as long as you didn’t fall off)! 
Brian, Pauline and Jackie had a go on the zip wire in the park
On the way back we deviated off on another walking path to Ilam with its Swiss style houses, park, church and IIam Hall, which is now a youth hostel. It’s a great location for a youth hostel with a multitude of walks straight out of the front door and we wondered about organising a trip there with our friends at some point in the future.

That’s it for now, my sister Denise and Paul are here tomorrow for the weekend so need to get this done before there’s more to write! 
Little Ella!

The 82 arch Welland railway viaduct

Martyn cuts a fine figure of a man. Not bad for 69!


The stepping stones of the River Dove in Dovedale. There's two Paulines and three Jackies on those stones! Clever stuff this Panorama maker software I have!

Jackie and Pauline on the walk to Ilam

This little chap with the funny wool coat was having a lazy chew of grass

The swiss style houses in Ilam

Ilam Hall, now a youth hostel

Monday, 24 August 2015

A dinner party in someone else’s home!

Brian looking for the hidden hold Mike insisted was there

After a couple of peaceful days, the second of which involved slow cooking pork shoulder, again (the third time this trip!) ready for Saturday which dawned rainy and wet. This was sad as we were expecting Jo and Mike about 10.00 to go climbing. Fortunately by the time they arrived about 09.30 we were up and ready and it had stopped. So off to Birchen Edge again, well we knew the route now and although it’s well below Mikes climbing standards he’d fallen off his mountain bike a couple of weeks ago and ended up in A&E getting butterfly stitches in his knee, so we thought a gentle testosterone free crag would save him from himself, and suit the rest of us for a pleasant day, which it certainly did. 

It was hot and muggy with little breeze so we all took it gently apart from Ruby dog who we met there with two families with young kids on their first outdoor experience. This all added to the friendly chilled atmosphere, any time you had a moment free there would be Ruby with a stick in her mouth desperate for you to throw it, she didn’t give up, but did share her affections out!

Mike with Ruby dog
We were joined about 15.30 by Alex and Rob who had been at a wedding in Liverpool the previous day so had finally got away when Rob could extricate Al from a fab time catching up with a whole bunch of old friends. Rob was champing at the bit so leapt into action leading a climb B was keen to follow on while I caught up with Alex who I haven’t seen since she completed the Eiger Paraclimb challenge, her (with MS), John who is mostly blind and deaf, one of her team mates in the Team GB paraclimbing team, an autistic guy, two support crew and a couple of guys filming the expedition. What an achievement, we were thrilled to hear that she had summited on her birthday about three weeks ago.

Jackie gives the route a go
I was persuaded to give the route a go, despite the gathering storm clouds (the Met Office had issued an Amber weather warning for the area), sadly with the pressure of an audience, and lack of height, I gave it three goes but couldn’t get over the overhang! Sadly by the time Rob made his way down and was persuaded he wasn’t going to get another route in, it was too late, we set off on the 15 minute walk just as the heavens opened! Not allowed into Jo’s car dripping, we popped into the pub by the carpark to drip all over the floor there and have a quick drink before heading home to a lovely evening, some very nice (and expensive) wine provided by Mike and Jo and dinner and pudding made by me and him. TC seemed to enjoy the fuss, and the pork and did make us all smile when he put himself to bed about 21.50 because we weren’t sitting with him in the lounge! On moving to the lounge, he came too for a good snuggle with Al. (Another cat lover, sadly Rob isn’t….!)

Brian and Mike at the top
A 4b start! Getting onto the jammed boulder was a full body workout!
Sunday morning was lovely, so cooked breakfast in the garden in the sunshine. We must all be showing our age though, no one rushing off to do more climbing. Waved them off, put the washing in, and couldn’t find TC, anywhere! In the house, in the garden, we walked up and down local streets looking for a cat who has shown no interest in going out the front and walks very slowly with his arthritic hips. Texted the guys to look for stowaways….. Just hitting panic mode when B looked in the 3 inch gap under the sofa in the living room, into a pair of eyes saying “what are you looking so worried about? But if you could lift the sofa that would be great as although I got here I’m not sure I can get out again!”

Mike leading 'Roger the Cabin Boy'! VS 4c
Phew. So a short walk to get the Sunday paper to round off what was a really really enjoyable weekend

Jackie attempting to get over the overhang of 'Top sail' VS 4c
Packing up at Birchen Edge while the storm clouds hover over. Jo is taking the photo, from LtoR: Jackie, Alex, Rob, Mike and Brian
The storm clouds gather and localised rain pours down! This one we saw on the way home after another like it drenched us on the walk down from the crag
Jo and Mike after dinner and a few galsses of wine
Alex, Rob and Jackie
Brian gets the cushions by the fire place. The red square is a card Tim and Jill have left for Brian's birthday on Thursday
TC puts in an appearance and decides to grace Alex and Rob with his presence!
A warm, sunny, laid-back Sunday morning breakfast in the garden. No idea what Rob is doing!
Jo and Mike with TC in the background