Lovely autumn weather and views were enjoyed by all who attended our group's 80th anniversary weekend away in the Peak District. We hired six rooms at YHA Ravenstor, a grand house once owned by a mill owner perched high up so he could keep an eye on his assets. The hostel has two long drives leading in and out of the woods that surround it. Bedrooms offered views above trees and hills and for some of us to the morning sunrise.
Friday evening (from Brian): Early arrival by rail to Cromford (birthplace of industrial revolution) with valley-top walk to Matlock Bath via Arkwright's pioneering mill.
Saturday, plan was a walk for all as we were a mixed ability group, 12 ish miles. We departed the hostel to the road east to Cressbrook along the river. Then our main ascent, north through the woods in Cressbrook Dale and a tea stop at the top. Nice views with the sun shining. We touched Wardlow village then broadly south east paths along Longstone Moor to Longstone Edge. A wait followed to allow those at the back to catch up. Ten minutes seemed to pass and when I saw others waiting at a gate behind us and one heading back I yelled "chop chop" to hasten them to join us. Unfortunately they weren't members of our group, turned out all our group had joined all at the front a few minutes earlier. What a Kermit.
Making good time I extended the route a little taking us east along Longstone Edge and then a cross path down and through Rowland village, where some procured homemade biscuits on sale outside a cottage along with other items. A few more footpaths took us to our lunch stop, the St Giles church at Great Longstone. After lunch we headed south to join the Monsal Trail, a disused railway line for cyclists and walkers. Through the Headstone tunnel and out for spectacular views above the Monsal Head Viaduct. We paused to savour the views and grab a few photos.
Still making good time and with the intended route back simple along the Monsal Trail, some of us extended the walk by heading south and up to Brushfield and then High Dale. The latter was a little disappointing as in a narrow valley along the top; I had wrongly assumed it might be along the very top. We continued west to Priestcliffe where all but three departed to head back as the hostel was about a mile away directly north.
The rest of us followed west paths including the Pennine Bridleway to Chee Dale where we joined the river Wye. Lovely path along the river with close cover from trees and rocks most of the way. Treading carefully the name of the game as path very close to the river Wye. We followed the river for about forty minutes to reach Millers Dale and ten ish minutes later the hostel. Back by 5:30pm. My piece of string says route was about 17 miles, middle group did ~13 miles and the first group ~11 miles.
Saturday evening, some ate out at local pub, some ate in at the hostel and had our mains followed by our starters and then desserts. One or two hostel staff were a little bit dippy; always warm and welcoming but a bit hollow inside. Most of us ended up at the pub for a good banter to finish the day.
Sunday, different activities. Brian organised a cycle ride along the Monsal Trail. A few visited Haddon Hall, Ilam Hall and Bakewell and I led a walk.
Cycle ride (from Brian): Cycle ride along Monsal Trail from Blackwell Mill to Monsal Head. As day was so warm we stopped for ice creams at Millers Dale station. Passing through 3 tunnels on the route all well lit which helped to prevent collisions as many bikers on the trail. We climbed to the excellent Hobbs Cafe high above Monsal Trail viaduct with views across the whole valley from the cafe terraced gardens. First time on off-road bike ride for Martina and also for Daniel who much enjoyed his own trailer bike.
I organised a walk up Chrome Hill (425 metres height) in Derbyshire just outside the Peak District National Park. A route I downloaded from the internet. Starting point (Axe Edge car park) proved hard to find, we all missed it, was little more than a small layby. Some of the earlier paths also proved hard to find; clearly marked on my map, not at all visible on the ground with no stiles or signs and barbed wire fences and walls where the path should go. We took another path, slight detour up side of valley across another path which took us onto a better signed path and onwards to the well-signed permissive path up Chrome Hill. Great views, windy at times, we had lunch.
Part of the route back was also difficult, following a path high up along a valley at Moor Side, where we ended up along the top whilst expecting a path over the river. Back a bit, we saw the signpost we'd missed, followed the path and then ended up in a very sticky muddy splodge. It was up to Phil's knees in places. Impassable so headed up bank again to discover better path and a signpost. We'd come off the path again! I'm sure many others have made this mistake before, all for want of a few signposts at key points. After that we ascended the other side of the valley and back to Axe Edge 'car park' for 3:30pm.
Many thanks to the 17 who joined me for this celebratory weekend for our 80 year old YHA group: Efisia, Emma, Liz, Jackie, Jan, Mafe, Martina, Mary, Nathalie; Brian, Daniel, David S, David T, Mike, Nrinder, Phil and Tim.
Report by Steve
View from bedroom window of Saturday sunrise - Photo by Steve
Walk start from outside hostel on Saturday - Photo by Steve
Ascending Cressbrook before woods - Photo by Steve
Dinsley Dale arms in the air for tea at Tansley Dale - Photo by Steve
Nrinder and Mafe on stepping stones at Chee Dale - Photo by Steve
On route to Chrome Hill, our summit on Sunday - Photo by Steve
Last of the summer wine or last of the summer sun? - Photo by Steve