On Stanage Edge

A Poem by Tideswellman. Feb 2015

On Stanage Edge, a great brown sea of Heather and Gorse, the moor, rushes up to Stanage Edge and stumbles over the many heads of the rock face.

The many heads of Stanage Edge

The earnest facade of timeless rock shines out her many colours, standing proud in the cold light of winter, ripe with the shape nature has provided.

Stanage Edge Colours

The wind whistles and whips round, and when she wants to be, is as warm as a country girl, who flirting, tickling here and there, planting warm breathy kisses upon the nape of your neck. Yet when her mood changes, she can be a wild and icy harridan, who could kill a man without pause for reflection, as she screams between the boulders.

Stanage Edge Boulders

Clouds, never far away, hang in the air, waiting to swoop and shroud the rocks in silky mist, forever changing, and rearranging the feel of the landscape.

Low Cloud on Stanage Edge

Here and there, Rusty brooks bring forth the life blood of the moor, Water, a murderous colour stained red with Peat. Like a gentle, liquid knife it slowly cuts through the moor and rock alike.

Stanage Brook

As ramblers struggle over boulders squelch in bright black mud, a Jurassic sound stalks them, the Grouse laugh like naughty children as they play hide and seek with worried, wary walkers. stopping, peering as they try to pinpoint the sound.
Walkers on Stanage Edge

Cuts and crags, nooks and caves call to people curious to know the moor, to try her, to own her, yet the scale of this fortress of wilderness swallows and humbles both man and beast, man cannot own this, nor digest this visual feast.

Nooks and Cranies stanage-gapRobin Hoods Cave - Stanage Edge

Climbers on StanageWith senses overwhelmed a spell is cast that compels the moorland guest to return for pilgrimages uncounted.

Stanage Edge will make you return again and again

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On Stanage Edge by Tideswellman

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Ludds Church Walk

On occasion my friend and I manage to co-ordinate our busy lives for long enough to get out into the Peak District countryside.

A few weeks ago we had planned to go over to the Roaches, The day arrived and of course, typically, it was pouring with rain. We decided to brave the elements and head out anyway, and I was so pleased that we did.

Hen Cloud and the Roaches

Wirksworth to the Roaches

Drive from Wirksworth to the Roaches  (Click Link for Map)

We drove from Wirksworth, turned onto Via Gellia, and up to Newhaven, turning there and driving down to the Monyash/Crowdetcote turning.   From there, we went through to Longnor and then right across the moorland to Emerge on the A53 near the winking Man Pub.

From Longnor to the Roaches

From Longnor to the Roaches (Click Link for Map)

We turned left towards Leek, driving past the Ramshaw Rocks and the famous “Winking Man Rock”, (so called because the rock, which looks like a giant face that appears to wink at you when you drive past it.  After half a mile or so we turned right at the sign for Upper Hulme.

Turn off towards Upper hulme

For Upper Hulme  – turn right

Follow the road past the pub, down the hill and take a sharp right. In the dip there are a few houses a small waterfall and some industrial units.  Go past these and you’ll drive under the imposing outcrop of Hen Cloud.

Hen Cloud

Hen Cloud – It doesn’t really look like a Hen.

The Roaches

Path to the Roaches

A bit further on you’ll find some parking spaces and you can begin your walk.
We strolled though the mist, chatting away.

Staffordshire / Cheshire Borders

Staffordshire / Cheshire Borders

It’s good to just get out amongst the nature and walk. We could have driven a couple of miles up the road but would have missed, Buzzards, Kestrels, Horses, a young but sadly dead badger, a squashed Frog and a handsome Toad.

Juvenile Badger

Juvenile Badger – Not a mark on it.

As we walked on, we neared the woods leading down to Ludds Church.

Ludds Church - woods

Woods containing Ludds Church

The photo looks almost flat but the descent into the woods was hard on my knees. We walked down and down and the rain eased up. This walk was fun, but there was a lot of mud, we had to carefully pick our way though a very muddy waterlogged wood, all the paths were thick with deep mud, so a little creative weaving through the Silver Birch trees was needed. Normally though, “stay on the path, kids”.

Misty, muddy Woods

Misty, muddy Woods

Eventually we arrived at our destination. For those who don’t know what Ludds Church is, It’s a bloomin big chasm in the ground, you could easily miss it if you didn’t know it was there. Once you enter it, it’s a totally breathtaking micro-climate, like a little rocky gorge in a rainforest.

Ludds Church  – Click for slideshow

Ludds Church is a real hidden gem and somewhere that I’d recommend anyoneto visit. I’m annoyed at myself for not having been before.

The Green Man

A little blurry but do you see the Green Man?

IMG_7636 IMG_7639 IMG_7645 IMG_7651 On the way back to the car our nature trail continued. There were contorted trees, with wonderful branch formations. My guess is that they must have been mauled by extreme weather and then healed, leaving truly creepily formed branches.IMG_7660Then there were ancient Beech trees with exposed roots, again looking as though they had seen a changing environment and adapted to it.IMG_7950

 

 

Staffordshire Moorlands

Daws looking out over the Staffordshire countryside

On the way, back we were lucky enough to find this handsome looking toad, who was kind enough to pose for photos.

IMG_7664

IMG_7666

We were treated to arial displays from a Buzzard and a Kestrel.

Buzzard with vole

Buzzard with vole

Hovering Kestrel

Hovering Kestrel

Meanwhile, the sheep looked on.

Mooland Sheep

Moorland Sheep

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Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014

Stoney Middleton Fell Race 2014 was the third race that I have missed through injury.
I can also say that whilst I’m gutted about not being able to run at the moment, I’m secretly happy that I didn’t have to run in the 30+ degree heat that we’ve been having this summer.

Whenever I’m not running, and can get to the race to support Tideswell RC, I take my camera along and try to snap team member and other runners in action. Sharing is caring and all that.

The mother of all Hills

I thought I’d check out the route before the race kicked off, as I wasn’t familiar with the route and fancied finding a good vantage point to take pictures.

The route looks fairly gentle to begin with, that is until you hit Stoney Middleton “High St”, I’m sure it got it’s name because, well, it’s high, very bloody high.

My little car, found it tough going so bing a frail human being huffing and puffing up it in the beating sun would be pretty tough going.

Running Groups Well Represented

The race itself started on Stoney Middleton Playing fields. All the runners started arriving and there were plenty of running clubs represented. The ones I knew were,

  • Tideswell RC
  • Buxton RC
  • Goyt Valley Striders
  • Steel City Striders
  • Fat Boys
  • Totley
  • Ripley
  • Matlock
  • Sheffield
  • Dark Peak

A few of the teams were kind enough to let me take pics of them before the race.

The Race got underway from between the football goalposts.

Runners line up at Stoney Fell Race

Lining up

Stoney Fell Race Starts

The race begins

A quick loop up the length of the field and down to the style to exit the field. Runners started off quick, to be first over the stile and to get a bit of a start for that hill.

runners at Stoney Middleton

Runners rush to reach the 1st stile

Due to the high number of runners though, the race was at a standstill within a minute as there was a near instant bottleneck at the narrow stile.

Bottleneck at Stile

Bottleneck at Stile

This part was the only negative for me, but these things happen, and without issues like this, races would have nothing to improve on in coming years.

Within minutes, all the runners were off up the main road and heading toward “The Hill of Doom”. God pity their souls.

Being crocked, I wandered up the path and over the nearby fields to find a couple of decent vantage points for photos. Eventually I settled on a nice spot down in a cool Valley just before the runners had their final ascent. I had a friendly marshal for company, and proceeded to prattle away to her whilst we waited for the pack to arrive.

Sadly, the pics were not the best, I must have had the camera on the wrong setting, but they are passable. So here they are.

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All pics are free to use and download, but do please credit me “Tideswellman” by linking back to this post.

Related Links

* All the photos can be found on my flickr Gallery here.

* Fell Running Fox – Stoney Fell Race Blog

Hathersage Fell Race 2014

I entered my first Fell Race last night. It was a really hard route, but I managed to finish and I wasn’t last. I had previously only run the Chatsworth 10k, and the Tideswell Inter Inns Run. (5k). I was a bit nervous about doing a fell to be honest, because I’ve been suffering from Shin Splints for a while now, and didn’t think they could take it.  The shins held out fine though, in fact I’d say the Fell race was LESS painful than a full road run.

I’m completely amazed at how good every other runner is though.  Big or small, old or young, there are some seriously dedicated runners out there, and I salute you all.

 

The Hathersage Gala Fell race was always going to be tough, knowing the terrain around there. I enjoy walking in that part of the Peak, so knew it would be challenging.

Tideswell RC at Hathersage Fell Race


All photos borrowed from Facebook with thanks to Accelerate, Andrew Watkins & Kathryn Brindley.

I finished right near the back, but that’s fine for now. Thanks go to Nigel Jeff, who was spotting myself and Collette, and to Ben Brindley, who, running back, spurred me on for the last mile, and helped me attain a pretty fast sprint finish (According to Strava). Happy days indeed, I can’t wait for more races now.

Hathersage Gala Fell Race Results

See the HatherSage Fell Race 2014 Results Page.

Accelerate – Facebook Gallery of the Whole Race

Youlgrave and Bradford Dale

A joint blog by Martha G and her dad, Tideswellman.

It was a lazy bank holiday Monday and we had a few hours to kill. My Dad is a bit of a walking nut, not in the sense of a pistachio with legs, but he has to trek up and down any valley he sees, Usually dragging me along with him.

Firstly we piled into the car, Dad never tells me where we are going until we get there. We went through Wensley and then passed through Winster. After that it’s up to Elton, Then through the hamlet of Gratton, where we saw some llamas resting in the field. About 2 mins later we a large Hare running through the field, they have an unusual way of running, they are like a kangaroo running on all fours.

[Dad] We drove down the valley and crossed over the bridge where the River Bradford flows underneath.
I always want to go walking alongside the Bradford, but there never seems to be anywhere to park. Today though I resolved to stop making excuses and to find somewhere to put the car. We drove up to the top of the village and parked on the Conksbury Road. I got Martha togged up in a rain mac, just in case of unexpected downpours, and we headed to the Church.

Martha’s right about me dragging her everywhere, but I’m just trying to give her a balanced view of the interesting history of the Peak District. It’s an area that has so many interesting places, It seems a tragedy to me to allow my kid to grow up here without seeing it or knowing at least a bit about it. Martha took control of the camera, I had my phone which has a reasonable camera too, So we went into the churchyard.

I pointed out some graves that had the name ‘Birds’ on them, as Martha has a friend with that surname. then we spotted a stone of a James Gregory, (my name. He’s actually related to my dad’s family). I’ve been to Youlgrave Church lots of times but Martha hadn’t, so I just let her lead really. Here are some of the Photos.

Youlgrave Church

Youlgrave Church, Derbyshire. A fine unspoilt Churchyard. Full of historical headstones.

Llamas

youlgrave-stained-glass youlgrave-statue

To the River

After the church we headed down Mawstone Lane, turning down a smaller lane called Stoneyside, where we met a lovely, friendly cat who made a big fuss of us. We did our best to return the favour. At the bottom of Stoneyside, we went through the gate into the field alongside the River Bradford.

River Bradford - Yourlgrave

River Bradford – Youlgrave

There were some Sheep and Cattle grazing the lush green grass and plenty of walkers on the trail. We didn’t want to go too far today because we didn’t have that much time. the River Bradford is so clear and pretty shallow. In places I’d say it was more of a stream than a river, but I’m guessing that it was once much deeper. I say that, because the river bed has been managed and there are 2 small weirs built into it, so I presume that somewhere along it’s course, there may have once been a mill or two. Perhaps someone who knows will comment below to put us straight?

Weir in the River Bradford

Step weir,

river-bradford2

Swimming Area In the River Bradford

We came to the main weir where we saw a sign actually sanctioning swimming. How fantastic, in this day of health and safety “over regulation” to see a sign effectively saying, “get on with it, at your own risk”. We Derbyshire folk are no namby pamby’s you know? A bit further up we came to a stile where the path met the limestone way. There was an overgrown path following the river, and a sign to refreshments, guess which path we followed? We headed up a steep tarmac path, which gave way to cobbles. along the path there were signs saying ‘Dying for a drink’. It turns out, that was the name of the Tea shop.

Dying for a Drink

Dying for a Drink‘, isn’t technically a shop, it’s a house that the owners open to hikers and locals, at Easter, Bank Holidays and Youlgrave Wakes. Tea and Cakes are available to order, and no price is charged, instead everyone is asked to make what they feel is an appropriate donation. What a fantastic idea. I do hope that everyone is fair with them. The house is perched on the side of the Valley overlooking the Bradford, and when sitting in the verdant terraced gardens, You can hear the river flowing below.

The staff/owners were all, shall we say, of advanced years. They were also super helpful and attentive, making sure we got a seat and ensuring that we had a drink and something to eat, despite the fact that we didn’t have much cash on us. Which I’m very grateful for. One lady, who was serving drinks must have been into her 60’s, she was whizzing up and down the steep garden steps, like a woman half her age.

Fantastic Paintings on Sale

When we first arrived I noticed a lady sitting at an easel, I went across to her and asked her if I could take a look. I peered around the easel and what I saw actually took my breath away. It was a stunning woodland theme, with light playing between the trees and hordes of springtime flowers.

Maureen Capewell  - Artist

Maureen Capewell – Artist

Very often, when faced with these situations you peer around the easel and have to nod and smile saying “oh wonderful”, whilst really thinking, “hmm, what is it?”. The artist was called Maureen Capewell.

I’d fully recommend you pay a visit to “Dying for a Drink” just to pick up her work, which is on sale there. It is truly excellent, and what better purchase than an original by a local artist? The chap who owned the house also came over to us for a quick chat, he told us that “Dying for a Drink“, donate the money they raise to help people in developing countries get clean water. They work with a charity called Tearfund. Tearfund are working with the Kigese Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme. I thought this was very apt, a perfect charity, because I was just enjoying a glass of cool local water. Youlgrave draws  it’s own water supply from a local source that flows from the surrounding hills.

Everyone at “Dying for a Drink” did their best to make us feel welcome, Their customer service ( and Lemmon Cake)  was so good, we simply had to give them and their great work a mention. I love their the name, ‘Dying for a drink’, it’s a statement so many of us utter flippantly, yet the people in Africa, who are now receiving the charitable donations literally were “dying for a drink”. dying-for-drink-youlgraveA large party arrived, so we gave up our chairs and headed off back down the valley. Martha invented a sort of ‘Pooh Sticks’ game using buttercups instead of sticks and we wound our way back to the car, happy.

Our Route
River Bradford Walk - 2 K

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