Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Wheeling in the White Peak

This morning I dropped Chrissie off at Middleton Top near Wirksworth in Derbyshire, the official start of the Pennine Bridleway. She's walking from there to our home in Hayfield over the next three days, camping along the way; planning on picking up the rest of the route north later.

I took my Sherpa in the car having sourced a good looking route from a new cycling guide book.

Having waved Chrissie off I sorted my kit and head off down the road towards Brassington in sunshine. It was cold though and I was well wrapped up.

I left Brassington on a narrow road I'd never been down before, passing the limestone outcrop of Rainster Rocks.


Past Balliden and the scar of a large scale limestone quarry I found myself on a track, barely tarmac, climbing easily up towards Royston Grange farm. This strange sign was by a gate across the road.


The lane ran up a peaceful valley.


Along the way I passed this disused 19th century pump house, once used to serve the quarries along the railway line that's now the High Peak Trail.


The route took me onto Cardlemere Lane, a rough track heading up and over the hill towards Hartington. The roughest, most challenging bit was through this gate, being scattered with loose stones. Me an' the Sherpa coped well, with little fuss.


This was the lane heading down to Hartington.


After lunching in the sunshine in Hartington, my route took me up the beautiful dry valley of Long Dale. I found myself wondering at the water running through the limestone, somewhere beneath my wheels.


Long Dale led me up to Parsley Hay on the High Peak Trail/Pennine Bridleway/Midshires Way; they can't seem to decide what it's actually called. I've been here many times for the start of bike rides. Today the cafe's closed, so no coffee. I linger for a few minutes, then set off south down the trail, back towards Middleton Top. Along the way I met Chrissie, making her way steadily north. 

I passed by the remains of a lime kiln ...


... and admired the sunny view back towards Parsley Hay.


Before arriving back at the car I had to descend the Hilton Top incline, at 1 in 14, once the steepest incline in Britain, regularly used by steam locomotives.


Back at the car I'd covered a very enjoyable 30 miles in fantastic, autumn weather. Bliss!

Next on the agenda; load the Sherpa up and go camping. Weather permitting, I might follow Chrissie's lead next week and make a start on the first section of the Pennine Cycleway.

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