Monday, 27 February 2012

Time for the inevitable blog catch up .... Chrome Hill

I knew I'd end up falling behind with my blog posts, so here I am to remedy this before I get too far behind :)

Chrome hill - Altitude 425m (1394ft)

It was a very cold day, the day we decided to tackle Chrome Hill, also known as part of the famous Dragon's Back Ridge, in the Derbyshire Peak District.

Today's walk was to be a short, but rather sharp ascent in semi thawing and icy conditions, so I was wrapped up very warm and kept my trepidation in check.

The start of the walk was lovely and flat ... a great little warm up before the uphill started .

It was so beautiful out there ... the trees were decked with icicles and streams were still frozen over.
Towards the end of the road you see here, is the base of Chrome Hill, with the equally stunning (and in ice, too dangerous) Parkhouse Hill, to the left.

We reached a little gate at the base of Chrome Hill, I took a deep breath and we started the climb upwards.
The initial slopes were pretty steep. Only a few minutes of walking and the view back down was already stunning!

View of Parkhouse from the lower slopes of Chrome.
As you can see, the slopes are pretty smooth, which makes for easy walking in the warmer weather, but they were SO slippery in the snow and ice ! We passed so many skid marks made by poor, unsuspecting walkers making unplanned and hasty descents !

We pressed on ... the view up the hill was pretty impressive !

That tree was our first planned coffee break :)
I really wish I had taken a photograph of the horizontal icicles on the stile ... they were fascinating, and showed just how windy and cold it could be up there !

We packed up the flask and pressed on ... me (doh!) thinking that the top of the hill in the picture above was actually the summit ... Oh how wrong was I ?! !!!!

Once the initial "Oh No!" moment had passed, I couldn't fail but be totally amazed at the ridge, once it showed itself behind that hill ... the view was just amazing and I really didn't care how knackered I already felt 
The views were worth it by far !
My legs felt like lead and my knees like jelly by the time I got up to the ridge, but I didn't really care ... a brief breather and I was ready to carry on :)

Look at this view !!!!!
Rob (ever used to all this malarky) had bounced on across the ridge, in front, to take this photo of me :)

The walk across the actual ridge was a bit tricky in places ... some of the snow had thawed and refrozen, making it VERY treacherous, and the exposed rocks were coated in a glass-like layer of thick ice, but we picked our way across with a lot of care.

A few false summits later and we reached the top !
The view was so beautiful, it's beyond words really !!
I felt quite emotional at achieving this goal, I can tell you !

This is the view from up there !

And Rob in his element !

You know ... I could have just stayed up there all day !
We couldn't though ... damn shame !

We had to think about coming down.
The plan was to have walked across the entire ridge. I was a bit dubious about the ice though, which could have made the next bit of descent very dangerous.
As it happened, a couple who had carried on that way shouted up to us and warned us to go back the way we came, as it really was too dangerous.
I hope the lady got down OK ... she really didn't look too confident on the rock and ice !

The walk back was equally as enjoyable though ... I didn't mind not being able to do the whole ridge ... we'll be back in the spring !

I tell you what though ... this descent has been the hardest one for my dicky knees, so far ... there were some very steep slopes to get back down, and by the time we got to the bottom, my poor knees were shouting at me !
I really do think that I am going to have to start wearing support bandages on these hilly walks !

I did enjoy every minute of this walk though, ignoring my knees !
I would have to say though, that this certainly isn't a hill to tackle if you're a total novice .. I don't think I could have gone up there on my own. From the bottom, Chrome hill looks so smooth, green and gentle ... as you have seen from my photo's, the ridge is quite sharp in places and very rocky.

I'll just round up this blog post with a photo I took of Chrome Hill a week or so later, once the weather had warmed up a little ... The tree to the right of the photo is where we stopped for our coffee break, and it's highest point is where we had our summit cuppa :)

I hope you enjoyed my wittering ?
I really can't put into words just how beautiful and challenging the Peak District is ... All I can suggest is that you take yourselves up there for a visit ... see for yourself :)

Thanks for reading,
Les xx

Edit : I just thought I'd add this route profile I just found ...

Well a link to it anyway :)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Walk 3 - Well more of a wander as it turns out

This weekend, I SO wanted to get up onto Axe Edge Moor and enjoy the isolation, but the wind was just so rough, we decided to give it a miss. At 1808 ft above sea level, we decided that it would just not be at all enjoyable.

We decided instead to go for a wander around part of the old estate at Ilam instead, which I am glad of really, as even down in the valley, the wind was incredibly strong.

 Ilam (eye-lamb) is a gorgeous little Peak District Villiage that sits  close to the Staffordshire / Derbyshire border.
Just around the corner is the amazing  Dovedale Gorge. 

Here's the view you are treated to as you draw closer to Ilam and Dovedale ... just look at that beautiful flat topped hill on the right, called Thorpe Cloud ! I'll be walking up there sometime soon ... I bet the views from the top are just amazing !

The houses here are just adorable ! They were apparently based on the Swiss Chalet style and built by the then Lord of the Manor .. here's a pic ..

We parked up near here, then took a wander up to the hall ... Now I'm not usually one for fancy houses and formal gardens, but it was very pretty up there.

We took a peek inside the church ( Church of the Holy Cross ), which has some Saxon stonework in the graveyard and a fantastic Saxon or Norman ( apparently the jury is out on that one ), font ... here's a picture, it's a beaut !

This was a beautiful tomb in the church ...

Anyway .... as always happens up here, it started to rain, so we sat in a lovely stone archway, drinking coffee for a bit until it cleared up again ... it was a lovely spot ... just us two around :)

Then we went for a lovely wander along the river for a while :)
Most of the way there was a proper path, but it got a bit slippy in places though, hehe.
Oooo ... and we saw our first snowdrops of the spring by a cottage along the way !

We walked back into Ilam along the road ... it was SO windy !!! The noise it made, rushing through the trees was truly thunderous !
It may have been a bit damp and rough, but we were rewarded with a beautiful cloud racing sky !

There was a wee uphill walk on the way back, which of course Rob made me walk up as fast as I could, LOL, but hey ... we have to fit a hill in somewhere ... even a little one !

We decided it was too rough to bother going on another walk elsewhere really, so we went for dinner at the caff down at Wetton Mill ... oh I do love that place ! Their coffee and cake are just the BEST !

We rounded our day off with poking about for some properties that might be up for rent, then called it a day :)

Well ... we didn't get the walk that I wanted us to do, but I still had a lovely day :)

No beads to share from this walk I'm afraid ... I am busy with tax returns and sorting out my new website, but the beads will be back ASAP .. have no fear of that !

Les xx

Friday, 20 January 2012

Seeing if this works ???

Just a quick post to see if I have managed to link this blog up to FB ... I am so easily confused by these things !

This morning's walk wasn't quite so inspirational ...

Nor was the weather so kind !
I walk up this hill a few days a week, on the way home from school ...sometimes, when you catch the sunrise, it's gorgeous ! Not so today ... Constant rain and murk !
I'm still glad I put in the walk though :)

View from the top of Glebedale Park

Walk Two - Roaches Ridge

I have been wanting to walk across here, and to the summit for so long, I can't really remember. I don't know why I never did it when I was younger .. I guess I just stuck to the easy, flat parts back then.
I love The Roaches ... I grew up just down the road ... spent the first 30 years of my life hanging about up there.
Dad always used to take us up there when we were littlies, in fact, he made more of an effort to get us up there when the snow was bad in winter, than he did during the summer ! It was such emense fun though !!
I remember the snow being taller than me at the roadside up near the Mermaid pub, which is sadly no longer a pub :(

Anyway .. I could go on for way too long about the good old days, but I hadn't better !

The walk .... What a beautiful day !!!

We started out from the Don Whillans Memorial Hut, where Staffs Wildlife were having a meet and greet ... there was free coffee and a VERY nice slice of lemon cake !

After a brew, we walked up to the base of the Roaches crags. There are steps carved into the rock, making for a very quick ascent. In theory, this sounds like a great, and rather civilised idea ... in practise, they are formidable !!!! I had to take a break on the way up, as my poor legs were going numb !

Here's a picture .... you can only see a portion of them in this photo though ...

After almost keeling over, lol ... I just had to sit down on a rock and get my breath back .... it was lovely up there though :)

And then we set out along the ridge :)
It was actually quite a lovely, undulating walk across the ridge. The beautiful weather made the views just HUGE !!! We could see for miles ... Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire !
We walked along the ridge for a short while, and arrived at Doxey's Pool ... oh what a beautiful, and yet lonely place this is !

Here's an interesting link to a little folklore surrounding Doxey's Pool :)

We also bumped into some of Rob's rock climbing mates up there ... nutters, the pair of them !

Anyway ... onwards ...
We carried on along the path ... the colours on the ground were just beautiful !

And more of the view ..

And after a bit more walking and some awesome rock formations, we finally reached the summit !

Now ... I know I keep saying that the views are stunning, but up here they really were !
I felt so pleased with myself for getting up there ... the reward was immense !

Some possible cup marks ...... we're undecided ...

We decided, after a well earned coffee, to go back along the ridge and then cut down into the moors at the back of the Roaches. 
I don't think that the back had seen the sun at all that day, as everywhere was still frosty and frozen !
It was cool walking down there, listening to the icy puddles cracking under your feet :)

The view down into the valley, across the moors

The frozen ground, once we were down

We walked back along a pretty flat route, towards the back end of the Roaches, up by Hen Cloud.
It was getting fairly late in the day by now (we were late starting on this day), but just look at the view that we were rewarded with on our way back to the car ..

How beautiful is that eh !!!

All in all, I think I faired quite well ... the route was so steep at the start, but had really been quite easy along the rest of the walk :)

We got back to the car .... had some tea at Rob's, then went to the Dyers and the Dog n Rot for a few pints :D

Phew ! 
Blog finally updated !
Thank you for reading, if you've taken the time to do so :)

Hopefully we'll be walking on Axe Edge Moor this weekend ... maybe up to Three Shires Head too ... we shall see :)

Oh and here's my latest necklace, ready for Longnor Craft Centre, inspired by my Roaches Ramblings :)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Walk One - Lud's Church

Just a quick link to the walk we did last weekend .... we did the smaller portion of the route .. the top bit :)

We set out on a fairly cloudy lunch time ... the sky looked a bit threatening, but we figured we'd give it a go anyway :) So .. togged up to the eyeballs, off we set :)

We started through a style and walked up through a field, towards the rocky path downhill .... the ground was SO saturated, I was glad of my new walking boots !
I really enjoyed the rocky path down hill, towards Back Forest. My knees didn't like the down hill walk, but the scenery was gorgeous enough to take my mind off them :) In places it was like walking down a little stream, there was that much water on the path :)

This is the view back up part of the path down.

Once we were down the bank, we found ourselves in the BEAUTIFUL Back Forest .... it was a gorgeous woodland walk with amazing views across to Gradbach !
The ground became pretty heavy going through here ... in some places, the path was so waterlogged and eroded that we had to take rather large detours off-route, to get to where we needed to be.

The forest path.

Beautiful Back Forest Bracket Fungus :)

At this point we followed the sign to a place of mucho magic !

What can I say ... Lud's Church is one of the most amazing natural places I have seen .... the entrance to a HUGE lush, green chasm appears and we climb down some rocky steps into the bottom ... walking through here just amazed me ... so green ... quiet ... spooky, even ...

Proof I was there, hehe 

After walking through Lud's Church, we walked up to Castlecliff Rocks for a well deserved cuppa and bar of choccy ... (no pics I'm afraid), before starting the gradual uphill walk to get back up to the top of the valley.

The walk back was mostly uphill, but there were some flat bits too ... the views and moorland were just stunning though !

Looking back up, towards the Roaches with Rob in his natural habitat!

The clouds are finally trying to lift !

The path along here is absolutely brilliant ... you can see for miles and miles (on a clearer day), but we were on the home leg, and the cloud was finally beginning to lift :) You can see across to Cheshire over this way (picture above) !

Sign post to the Roaches ... and the car !

Almost home ... we carried on along the footpath for a while longer, enjoying the views and sploshing in VERY boggy puddles ( I LOVE my walking boots!), before catching just a single ray of sunlight before the walk's end ...

Phew ! Finally back to the car we went ... Fag, cuppa and sit down !

I have to say that this was my first proper walk since I was probably in my teens !
I have a LOT of hard work to put in, to regain my fitness and stamina, but I did love every single minute of this walk !
I think we covered about 4 miles, and after a 10 min sit down in the car, I did actually feel as though I could have gone a bit further than that, but just not over any more boggy paths ... it's hard going when the ground's that soft.
But still ... I felt a real sense of achievement in completing this walk ... saw some gorgeous places, and it gave me a thirst to see more ...

Muddy boots ... happy feet ...

So that was that ... my first proper walk first blog about it all ... I hope you've not been too bored with my ramblings ? I do want to keep this blog as a record of my progress ... fingers crossed I shall stick at it and be up Mount Snowdon before my 41st birthday ...

Signing out for a cuppa, then I shall catch up with last weekend's walk ... must not fall behind again !

Oh and here's the kind of stuff that these places inspires me to make ...

Thanks for reading ... hope you haven't fallen asleep yet ? :)
Les x

Let Operation Snowdon commence !

This is a walking diary of my bid to get fit enough to tackle Mount Snowdon before I hit 41 .... fingers crossed that by May this year, I will have made it here ...

I am overweight ... unfit ... I still smoke .... wish me luck !