Peak District

Present: Pokey (organiser), Annie, Maggie, Paula, Beckie, Dan, Charlie, Martin L, Simon H

This year’s autumn trip to the Peak District saw us returning to the Thorpe Farm bunkhouses near Hathersage. A short hop across the hills for us, but a bit more of a slog for the poor souls that live down south. Martin arrived first to get the lights on and heating turned up, with us arriving shortly after. The bunkhouse was clean, warm and, once over the initial hit of ex-cowshed odour, quite pleasant. After a bit of dinner we headed into Hathersage for the usual Friday pint, Beckie and Dan were already there having a curry. Luckily Simon arrived just as we were leaving. That left Maggie, Paula and Charlie to arrive; it was a small but elite group as some of the softer NMC members were in the Mallorca sunshine. Everyone finally turned up in the Little John pub, once a rough and ready pub, now oddly refurbished with leather easy chairs. We had two designated drivers for the weekend, Beckie and Annie both being pregnant (is this a first for a club trip?).

Saturday was supposed to be a crisp sunny autumn day, so the plan was to do a walk that took in the autumn colours of the woods surrounding Chatsworth. We parked up at Baslow and walked through Chatsworth park along the river. The views were limited at first due to the thick mist, vague tree shapes could be seen. With a bit of effort you could almost imagine the wash of different colours. Luckily the Peak District calendar hanging on our kitchen wall had such an image, so I didn’t have to imagine too hard. By the time we had got to the other end of the park the mist had lifted and it became the lovely sunny day which was forecast. The walk took us along the Derwent, through Calton Lees to Rowsley, then up over the top towards Bakewell. We had lunch in a nice spot with the spire of Bakewell church in the distance. After lunch we dropped towards Bakewell and picked up a disused railway line. At the old Bakewell station we parted company with the pregnant and infirm (Annie, Beckie and Maggie). They headed into town to find a warm teashop (with a toilet). The rest of us carried on along the railway towards Great Longstone, where we were forced by mutinous action to have a pint in the Crispin Inn. Suitably refreshed we then walked up the ridge of High Rake and Bleaklow, before heading back down towards Baslow, narrowly avoiding death by a prat in a Range Rover. The sun was just setting when we got back to the cars, and we drove over to Bakewell to pick up the others. After a freshen-up we headed out for dinner in the pub: we were aiming for the Little John but it was packed out with expectant rugby supporters for the World Cup final. We ended up in the Millstone, further up the Sheffield road, for a hearty meal and a few nice pints.

Chatsworth in the mist

Hathersage and Hope Valley in the mist

Sunday was a very cold and misty start. Once the bunkhouse was empty, clean and tidy, Beckie and Dan went off to meet some relatives, while the rest of us headed off for a walk. We dropped Charlie off in Hathersage; she was feeling the effects of Saturday’s walk and had opted for church and gear shopping. As we drove up the hill towards the car park at Millstone Edge, we came out of the cloud to a splendid sunny morning with hot air balloons drifting around and the Hope Valley shrouded in mist. Sunday’s walk was a bit shorter and took us along the top of Millstone, to Higger Tor, then down along Burbage, where we stopped for a spot of lunch. We then dropped down along the pretty wooded valley of Burbage Brook and up across Lawrence Field back to the cars. After an ice cream we went into Hathersage for a cup of tea and a spot of gear shopping, where Maggie bought a new climbing helmet (no longer will we see that famous ‘pink’ helmet on the crags). After brief farewells we set off for home, feeling revitalised after two days of nice autumn walking.

Ian Pocock

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