Friday, 21 September 2012

'Sea' how they run

Summer rush is now well and truly over. The nights draw in, and temp’s drop more and more. Time, we thought, to have a last breath of sea air while we still have some fair weather. So, instead of a walk in Derbyshire, today I’m taking you to the seaside – Whitby, to be precise. It’s a three hour drive, but I always feel it’s well worth it, especially as you catch sight of this view when crossing the moors.

The vast expanse of moorland. We had only just missed the ‘purple haze’ that the heather gives when it flowers. If you’ve never seen it, it really is a fantastic sight. This view reminds me of when I did the coast to coast walk. This is the penultimate day for walkers on the trip.

Another reason I wanted the long drive – our new car. It’s lovely to drive, but I wanted to see what sort of mileage it gave on a long run (I know, I know – any excuse) :-)

The abbey sits proudly on top of the cliffs of Whitby, with the church close by to the left.

The farmers have mostly gathered all their silage etc in by now, and it’s safely wrapped up against any bad weather, waiting to be collected

In no time at all, we were in the town. Our first stop was the harbour, with this iconic view across to the church, (the abbey is just behind it, hidden by the horizon). The 199 steps that lead up to the church are famous, also the beach below them, which is where the coffin containing Count Dracula is supposed to have landed, according to legend. 

The tide was well in today, and lots of ‘white horses’ made the sea interesting. The sky was beautiful too, with the blue and white contrast of cloud and sky. We were intending to walk along the apron of the beach later, so we wanted to tide to go out a bit to expose more sand (and allow us to walk around land that the sea was, at the moment, lapping against).

A walk out to the end of the pier is a MUST for us. It’s always a nice start to any break in Whitby. It’s something we never tire of doing. Today, we were well rewarded with fine views. This is looking south, across the other pier (which ends halfway at the lighthouse – you can walk along it too, but the one we were on goes right to the end).

Looking back. You can see both lighthouses, plus the abbey is now visible behind the church. In that small row of cottages below the church is the Fortune kipper smoke house and shop. This is a very old (over 100 years)Whitby tradition, and makes a very interesting visit. If you ever go, ask to look into the smoke house. You can read about Fortunes here;

The Royal hotel dominates the north cliffs. The famous Whity whalebones are just on the edge of that cliff, and we’ll be seeing those later on too.

But first, one of the reasons we love Whitby – the Magpie cafe. The food here is awesome, and we always have lunch here when we visit the town. This isn’t a good picture (backlit), but I can’t blame the waitress for that! Look at the lovely magpies in the ironwork against the window. The Magpie is full of little touches like this, that make it special.

So, after our ripost, it was time to walk it off! We disturbed the seagulls as we set off along the south beach on our way to Sandsend. We mostly walk from Robin Hood’s bay to Whitby, but as it had been a while since we’d done this side, we decided to do it today. 

The tide had now receded nicely, and the apron was exposed for us to walk along. The cliff headland, on the right in the distance, was where we wanted to go today. The only other time I’ve walked over them was when I walked the Cleveland way with my brother. You can read about that here;

Sunshine and sea always makes for happy, where we’re concerned.

Looking back to the pavilion of Whitby. The lighthouses on the twin piers can also be seen.

A stone displays the patterns of the tide.

These old breakwaters intrigue me. They always make for such good subjects for photographs. They have a bit of an ‘Easter island statue’ property about them.

We reached Sandsend, where we normally stop for a coffee, but today we pressed on towards the cliffs. We could see rain falling out at sea, and wondered if we’d get caught. This rainbow was spectacular, but I wasn’t keen to search for this particular crock of gold at the end of it!

The skies darkened noticeably as we topped out on the cliffs. This is the view looking back to Sandsend. If you look carefully, you can see surfers riding the (small) waves in the bay below.

It did rain a little, but only a shower and it soon passed to leave clear skies again – that was our cue for a long paddle back to Whitby.

At Whitby, we left the north beach to climb up to the cliffs above. This is where the statue of Captain Cook (sadly, covered in seagull poo) and the whalebones are. I love the way they frame the church and abbey.

One more picture, then it was time to set off home. It had been a lovely day, good for the soul. One more shot in the bones, and it was; ‘Bakewell – here we come’

Friday, 7 September 2012

'Jolly' good walk.

Another ‘local’ walk today, but hey - WHAT a locality to walk in! We parked up at Monsal head and dropped into the dale to cross the viaduct. We then walked across it, noting the lovely limestone buttresses on the opposite side of the valley. Sue & I have sat on top of these with a glass of wine to watch the sunset.

The track on the left after crossing the viaduct, signposted ‘Brushfield’, took us higher up and I got this great view of the houses and pub at Monsal Head as we looked back.

As the track topped out, we went right, near a dilapidated barn. Strictly speaking, there is no public footpath where we went (well, not for the first half mile or so), but as you can see, this land is not used for agriculture or grazing, so we have no compunction walking here. The ‘open access’ bill did open a lot of this land, but why this bit, with its fabulous views, was not included is beyond me This sort of view really shouldn’t be denied anyone, should it?

 A really good view of Cressbrook mill and the village. The mill is now apartments, mostly holiday lets, I am told.

The cliffs of Ravens Tor stand proud and sunlit above the dale. We’ve stood on top of these cliffs many times.

With there being no real path (except a rough sheep track) the going is quite hard on the ankles. Here’s Sue, making progress forward.

A lovely thistle, in the prime of flowering.

Cressbrook hall and village. The hall, although still a home, is now used for weddings and business meetings. You can see their website here;

The super view down to Water-cum-Jolly dale. This walk goes through the dale later on. The Monsal trail tunnel is below us, at this point. It’s carved through that lump on the right.

You can see evidence of other, lower paths on the hillside. These are known as ‘alpine paths’, because of their similarity. Again, these were not permitted paths, but people came and walked here anyway before open access, just because it is just such a lovely place to walk.

The farmers are all gathering in the silage, hay etc as the week ahead was set to fair weather. We watched this one as he made patterns. We wondered just how he decided which was the best way to do it? It was already cut, he was just turning it.

As often happens, we saw a Kestrel on the hunt. It was just hanging in the stiff breeze, head stock still, scanning for a likely meal.

More field patterns near Priestcliffe, with the sun and shadows running across them.

These two sheep looked like they were trying to figure out the stile.

An overcast morning had turned into this – PERFECTION!

 It was THE perfect temperature for walking, and Sue and I were lapping it up. It was our first day off for two weeks, so we felt we deserved this wonderful day.

You can just see the spire of Tideswell church – the ‘cathedral of the Peak’, through the stile.

We were about to lose all the height we’d gained, and could see Millers dale and Chee dale ahead and below us.

I saw these lovely fungi. They were only tiny, but I always think fungi has a special beauty about it. Not gaudy and bright, like flowers, but understated and quiet. These were so delicate. Isn’t nature wonderful?

The site of an old quarry. Probably used to mine limestone for the kilns, or maybe for construction material for the Monsal trail railway? I’m not sure, but someone had placed a seat here, so Sue and I took full advantage to sit in the sunshine to eat our lunch. The seat looks outwards, to the right from this shot, so we spent a relaxed half hour eating and looking at the stunning view.

Then it was time to take the long drop into Millers dale. The ‘Anglers Rest’ pub is here, and I knew Sue would welcome a swift half and another short time with the sun on her. On the tops, there was a cool but welcome breeze. Outside the Anglers, it was still and hot. A regular little suntrap.

The wooden bridge, bathed in the sunshine of this wonderful day. The babble of the river below made it just PERFECT.

We saw many trout in the clear waters of the Wye. We noted that this was was ‘the one that got away’, as it still had what looked like a red lure in its mouth.

Sunbeams danced on the surface of the water as the trout lay in wait for passing meals.

How green is my valley?

After the pub, we decided to walk along the road. As it only leads to Litton mill, it’s really quiet. It was most enjoyable, with the river as company all the way. Eventually, the road ends and we walked through the old mill yard. Again, now apartments, many of them holiday lets.

Through the mill yard, the path turns into a ‘permitted path’, which runs through the incredibly beautiful Water-cum-Jolly dale. You can see Cressbrook hall again in the trees above and ahead. Swans and coots were swimming in the river. It was a really serene scene.

You can see how the limestone walls have been carved by millennia of water cutting into them. Now, the river is settled, but in past times, it would have been far more furious in its pace and volume.

Nearing the end of the dale. This is the mill pond for the old Cressbrook mill. The water was diverted down a ‘race’ to turn the huge wheels to power the mill machinery. You can read more about it here;

Now on ‘our side’, you can see the curvature of the walls where they have been worn away by the water. Because of these features, these walls are very popular with climbers. They come here to hone their techniques before moving on to higher stuff. This is like a climbers nursery, but some of the moves are VERY hard.

One was practising as we passed by. Oblivious to us, he studied and moved on the rock face.

Sitting ducks!

Looking back over the mill pond.

The weir that controlled the depth and flow.

Sitting like a grand tree house above us, Cressbrook hall peeped through the foliage as we left the dale and made our way back up to the Monsal trail. One last climb, and it was back home for tea.