Sunday, March 01, 2009

Green shoots

Distance: 11m
Walked: 1 March 09

I've really let my walking slip. It's difficult to get motivated during the winter. But this morning, officially the first day of Spring, that changed. Contrary to the weather forecast, the sun was out and it really did feel like Spring. Seeing a few buds and leaves really did get the juices flowing again! this is Hawthorn, one of the first signs of Spring.

Here we hit a minor snag. That underwater stile and waypost is where the public right of way is. It hasn't been raining, and so this strange flood seemed odd. We couldn't see any reason for it (for example a blocked river), it was just a flooded field. Even more bizarrely, the water is marked on the map (and the dotted green line of the footpath goes through the water), so it seems to be reasonably permanent. Presumably it wasn't flooded when the waypost and stile were put there...? Fortunately, it wasn't too difficult to take a slight detour around the edge of the water.

A classic image of spring. Wool on legs.

I haven't identified this tree yet, but it has big pom-pom-like catkins with busy bees all over it.

Bakewell to Monsal Head

Distance: approx 6m
Walked 8 Feb 09

The Monsal Trail is an old railway line. They're often nicely-surfaced and great for walking at this time of the year - flat and not muddy. The snow today did make the veiws incredibly picturesque, and gave us the opportunity to warm up with a game of snowballs, but the price for that was that it was very slippery.

Monsal Head has to be one of the best views in the Peak District. All the better for being a little unexpected. The viaduct, which originally carried a railway, but is now a surfaced walking path, is fascinating. Imagine the valley without a viaduct, and then imagine someone proposing to build one across the valley. John Ruskin had a real rant about it, and he's quoted on an information board. his main beef seemed to be about making it easier for humans to get (unnecessarily) between Buxton and Bakewell. Ironically, the viaduct is now protected. I did find myself sympathising with the old curmudgeon; the viewpoint that this picture was taken from is a car park, so you can drive up, enjoy the view, enjoy a pint and drive home again. It's lucky that Ruskin couldn't forsee that. I can't help feeling that you should have to work for a view as good as this.

Once we'd arrived at this point, we made a little loop by walking (very tentatively) down to the viaduct (bottom left of this picture), over it, across the river where the buildings are on the right, and back up to this viewpoint again, before heading back to Bakewell along the railway line.