The call of the wild, blue skies, and a climb draw us from South Yorkshire into Derbyshire
Thirteen of us met at Grindleford station, some having arrived by train and others by car. The latter had to navigate the new parking arrangements on Station Approach.
Diane, our leader, welcomed everyone with a cookie before briefing us and starting the walk. We crossed the railway line and passed Padley Mill. The mill dates from around 1745 and was initially a flour mill, in the 1850s, become a smelting mill, smelting lead mined at Eyam. By 1860 it was a sawmill and today it’s a private residence.
We soon turned north and ascended towards the disused Bole Hill quarry, passing a pumping station and then a brick-built
building once used to store dynamite, well away from the quarry. Stone from the quarry was used to build the Howden and Derwent reservoirs but today the site is a wonderful tranquil place, a haven for bird-life.
In 1899 the Derwent Water Board was created to consruct huge reservoirs. In 1908 there were 2,700 navvies working on the dams, with about 400 men working in the quarry. About 12,000 gallons of water a day were pumped up from the Derwent to work the steam-powered cranes. Stone was loaded onto wagons and taken to the top of the Bole Hill incline, where it was lowered to the railway line below and taken to the dam construction sites. About 1.2 million tons of stone was removed in seven years; the quarry closed in 1914.
We climbed to the main road and crossed it at Surprise View before gently climbing towards our ‘elevenses’ stop, with stunning views of course, and then on towards Stanage Edge.
On the way Diane took us to a rock shelter used by shepherds in days gone by, with inscriptions in the rock face to ward of evil. At the trig point we were in awe at the skills of an elite mountain biker, practicing on the boulders, before we headed off along the Edge. We stopped for lunch, stunning views everywhere again, before watching a hang-glider wait around for enough wind to take off. We turned off the Edge, heading down towards Hathersage, initially along an ancient worn stone footpath. We passed the historic North Lees Estate, surrounded by fields of buttercups. We had half an hour in Hathersage for coffees/teas/ice creams etc before beginning the final part of the walk along the River Derwent to Grindleford station again. Thanks to Diane for leading and Neil for back-marking a stunning walk, the first time for many months that many of us have been to the beautiful Peak District.
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