We started our walk today in one of Derbyshire's oldest villages, Winster. It was very big during the lead mining era, and used to have a superb seat decorated with lumps of lead. Of course, these didn't last long before they were stolen. This is a photo of just one of many very old date plaques on houses and cottages in the village.
This is Winster's biggest claim to fame, the market house. It's now an information point, but it still 'looks the part', standing as it does on the main corner of the village.
A REAL rarity these days, a village shop! Once upon a time, all the villages had their shop, but due to improved personal transport, etc etc, most now have nothing.
Evidence of a much older business in Winster.
Winster hall, once a public house, and I've eaten and drank there in the past, now a private residence.
A delightful path, passing between the cottages.
Celandine were beginning to peep through in the more sheltered places. I had decided, as the weather was so good, today would see the unveiling of the shorts! Sue was a little more cautious, deciding to stay in trousers until maybe a few weeks later.
This stile has a nice 'boot pass' hacked out of the natural stone.
The ubiquitous daffodils were making an appearance too.
Every year I just LOVE to see them bloom. Sue & I SO look forward to the different species taking their turn. Bluebells are my special favourite, but Daff's and early purple orchids are a close second.
One of our goals today - Robin Hoods Stride. That's one HELL of a stride for anyone (mind you, he WAS a legend).
This is a small carving of the crucifixion in the 'Hermits cave' on Cratcliffe tor. Again, there was some sort of statue, possibly the Madonna, in a little alcove but this had gone too. No doubt stolen.
The outside of the cave. The bars didn't prevent the theft of the Madonna though.
No wonder climbers love these rocks. Cratcliffe offers some very great challenges.
This 'chimney' would take a strong climber to conquer it!
The view as we topped the climb to Robin hoods stride. You can just see a stone circle in the fields. We were going to visit that later.
But for now, we climbed up onto the towers of the Stride.
Pass me that Union Jack, Sue.
Those striations in the top of the rocks are caused by weathering. They are very pronounced, and the last time I saw some as good was on the standing stones at Machrie on the isle of Arran.
I wonder if this date was genuine?
After messing about on the stride, we decided to press on and take a look at the standing stones close by. I know no history of these - how old, who did them, or why they are there.
The sun was in and out as it played with the clouds. As we walked along a lane just beyond here, a hare ran out RIGHT in front of us. He was confused at first, but then cleared a wall and took off over the fields at a VERY impressive pace - we were amazed at the sudden burst of speed it produced!
We topped Harthill moor to get this stunning view of Youlgreave, ahead of us. We weren't going into the village today, but instead turned left towards the outskirts of Elton.
Shortly afterwards, we sat with our backs to a stone wall and ate our lunch. The sun was strong, and belied the fact it was only March. Out like a lamb indeed, and we sat, bathed in what felt like a June sun. After lunch, we got up to progress, and Sue amazingly spotted this deer in a wood to our left. Talk about 'Hawkeye'! I would NEVER have seen it but she has a penchant for spotting wildlife. He watched us for a while, and we watched him until, deciding we were no threat, he wandered off.
A fabulous day today for both walking and photography. The views all around were just terrific.
A fine example of a set of stone troughs, just outside the village of Elton.
There must have been a LOT of passing animal traffic in the day, to warrant building this big set of troughs. As you can see, they are made so one drains into the next.
There was a boulder in the way of the waller here, so what did he do?
We reached the end of Gratton dale, where we saw this very unloved red phone box.
Gratton dale on, what felt like, a Summers day - beautiful!
We saw several pairs of buzzard today, this was one of them, wheeling high above us.
Sue makes her way up the rocky dale.
Today was a real day of 'ticks'! We saw deer, hares, skylarks (Sue's favourite call), Lapwing, Curlew (my own favourite), buzzard and even heard a woodpecker. Here's a skylark, sitting on a post.
Lapwings, with their call of; 'PEE-WIT....PEEEEEE-WIT' (which gives them their other name - the Pee-wit).
Not to be outdone on this bird-calling day, this fine cockerel was giving it his all.
And the little lambs were growing in numbers, the weather suiting them perfectly.
We made our way along Long edge towards Aldwark, as the sun began to set over the horizon. I wasn't worried about time though, as we still had plenty of light to finish the walk.
A fine end to a wonderful spring day.
This blog was brought to you by Les Singleton of Ricci's Takeaway & Cafe