Friday, 22 October 2010

A Short Break ... Part 1

Oh dear, I've just seen the date of my last post! I really must try to do this more regularly LOL

Anyway, the tents are now packed away for the winter. But we had one last break to look forward to. A celebrated a rather important birthday this year and our lovely stepdaughter booked him a surprise break to our favourite hotel in Derbyshire. So the children were duly packed off to the Grandparents for 4 days and we enjoyed some grown up time together. We enjoy walking so decided to take the dogs with us - a walk just isn't the same without the hounds for company!
We had a lovely room - and the hotel geese like to sit on the lawn outside our window. Which kept the dogs entertained!

We only had one full day to do a really good walk - no need to worry about whether the children would cope with it, so I planned a route about 7 miles/3 hours walking. From the hotel door a round route taking in the village of Hartington and then following the River Dove before heading back up Biggin Dale and home. After several lovely sunny days I was really looking forward to it. But the weather had other ideas.

 It started raining as we left the hotel, and continued unabated. So bear with me as I show you lots of dripping foliage and grey skies. I didn't even attempt to get the camera out until we had passed through Hartington and were heading down to Beresford Dale.

It was slightly better under the trees!

We started off wet, and got wetter, and wetter. A commented that we must be crazy to be doing this for fun! But it was fun, really!

 Despite the awful weather, it was quiet and peaceful. And around every corner the scenary changed revealing new delights. I loved this little bridge! It was very narrow and Candy was very wary of it! She could have paddled across the river here as it widens and is shallow as it is also a ford, but no, she had to cross the bridge with us.
 Ruby demonstrates the depth of water.
So does Candy. Paddling across would be easy.

 But Ruby thinks the narrow bridge is more fun!
 Candy doesn't think so, but we walked across it, so that must be the way! Eventually she plucks up the courage to follow us across. Just look at that hang dog expression on her face!
 I love the glimpse of history - at some point in the past, the stepping stones were the main crossing point for foot travellers. Horses and carts would have used the ford.
 The bridge marks the end of Beresford Dale and the start of Wolfscote Dale - a very picturesque part of the route.

 Limestone cliffs with caves. We didn't venture up to them though - we were so wet, it was easier to just keep plodding along!
 Despite the rain, this was a very pretty walk. And lots of easy walking pathways.

 Despite waterproof trousers, gaiters, coats and very good boots, the rain got through. Even the rucksack got wet inside. I picked the wrong one for the walk and should have taken the time to get one of our proper rucksacks out of the loft.
 At least we still had reasonably good visibility. It would have been very frustrating to climb a hill only to find the view obscured by low cloud.
 I have decided Derbyshire stiles are designed for very slim people only. Even the dogs struggled to squeeze through them!

Eventually we left Wolfscote dale and turned up Biggindale. We left the river behind us. Luckily it was a very gradual ascent - by this time we had been walking for over 2 and a half hours without a break and the old legs were beginning to feel it!

 A realised that he could get phone coverage (there was none in the hotel!) and decided to do his daily phonecalls (Mother, teenage son left at home to chicken sit)

 There was a lull in the rain - and suddenly a patch of blue sky appeared. What a welcome sight!
 Another cave. I contemplated exploring, but it would have meant climbing a wooden stile and when I tried climbing, the water started running down inside my jeans. I decided it wasn't worth it!

 A bit farther on and the sun finally shone on us. Time to take a short break and eat something!
 The hawthorns were glowing with berries. Autumn is a wonderful time for seeing the countryside at it's most beautiful.
 The final walk up Biggindale was lovely, warm and sunny. Our clothes began to steam!

 When we got back to the road this had appeared - it wasn't there when we set off! No wonder we got wet.
 The welcoming party - the geese outside our room window.
The walk took us 4 hours in total, not bad considering it is many years since we walked that distance! We hobbled into our room and the first thing I did was run a hot bath and have a soak. Ahh that was bliss! I will finish off in another post - better go and feed my children now! xx

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