Mable goes Over Haddon
Time taken 1 ½ hours
I was convinced by a friend to do this walk as she said it offered some of the loveliest Peak District scenery she has seen and until I stood outside of the Lathkil Hotel and admired the view whilst getting ready to start. I had thought that she was exaggerating – even Mable was taken in, I am sure, with the stunning beauty of this old agricultural landscape - although that might have just been the anticipation of the fine winter walk to come, with extra canine company!
We started with the Hotel to our rear and turned left to climb through a stone stile, heading right into the fields beyond ,with the Dale to our right. We could see a church steeple ahead, which marked the village of Youlgreave and the river below us as we walked along the top of the Dale. Continuing along the top I resisted the dogs urges to descend to the river and headed towards some trees in the near distance with some farm buildings in amongst them.
Keeping the buildings to the left we continued along a solid path towards a hill with a large aerial at the top of it. At the outskirts of Alport we came across a road which we crossed taking the lane alongside a tall house, turning right at a grass verge, passing village houses until we reached the main road.
Again, crossing a road we went through a stile making our way along the valley for a distance until we reached a narrow lane leading to a bridge over the river. Even though the weather was chilly on the day we embarked on this walk, Mable could not resist wetting her toes, though I refrained from letting her go any deeper as she was wearing her coat – she wasn’t best pleased at being pulled out even though her canine companion had shown no interest in the icy water. “Fighting” with Mable to get her out allowed us to admire the setting before getting back onto the path and heading further along the valley.
Reaching another road we ambled along the drive to Meadow Place Grange with its old farmyard some distance along. We followed the markings and took a route through the farm buildings into the fields at the back, where we continued to head to the right, to a gate accessing some managed woodland.
Meandering down the path the valley bottom it really felt like a “glad to be alive day in the Peak District” crisp, fair and cold, with the near bald trees, interrupting the light from the weak wintery sun. The dogs were enjoying the rummaging and Mable had found part of tree trunk to carry. It really was wonderful.
The log she was carrying didn’t help us across the next bit of river via an old bridge, but being in a good mood, I refrained from tipping it over board – mainly because she wouldn’t let me take it. We trundled up to the road and all headed back up into Over Haddon, passed the church and back to the waiting car at the hotel.
If I am honest, winter walks are my favourite, especially with a dog, as, although they are muckier there is always that sense of chilled satisfaction. There is also no need to worry about drinking stations for the dogs, although the river on this would have been ideal.
At the end of a winter walk there is nothing better than the heat of the car (a darn nuisance in summer) or the friendly warmth of a Peak District dog friendly cafe or pub – chilled cheeks and a tired well behaved dog – what in life can be better than walking in the fabulous Peak District at any time of year!