Monday, July 7, 2014

Peak District Day 2 (Part 2)

I turned back the way I had come, and eventually found the road to Winnats Pass, which was as remarkable as I’d hoped it would be. Once I’d crowned the summit, I continued on until I saw, away to my left, a solitary tree, sat in majestic splendour atop a hill. No one can resist the lure of a solitary tree, let alone one sat atop a hill in majestic splendour, so I pulled over as soon I could find a suitable spot, to have a better look.

Once out the car, I happened to notice a small sign pointing to a walking track that veered upwards through a tangle of shrubbery, so in the hope it would give me a better vantage point of said solitary tree, sat in majestic splendour atop said hill, I began to walk.

A stone wall stretching into the distance.

The rocky path climbed steeply up, past the edge of a disused quarry and continued on through sheep strewn fields and boundary stone walls as far as the eye could see. It actually took me away from views of the solitary tree, splendour etc, but I was in the mood for a stroll, and I had the quiet path to myself, so I was quite content to keep going.

I was hoping to get some nice rural shots, but there wasn’t actually much of interest to see, and more than once, as I negotiated tricky stiles, or particularly steep sections, I wish I’d left my camera gear behind. I also I’d wished I’d brought some water with me, as I was generating quite a thirst.

After a couple of hours I began to encounter a few other walkers, and their number increased the further on I got. This was explained by the presence of a very busy campsite up ahead, set in the grounds of a farm. The sounds of lively children and of people generally enjoying themselves, was enough to convince me to turn back immediately.

I’m not against people having fun, quite the opposite, in fact I have been known to enjoy myself from time to time, as the situation demands. But when I’m out for a quiet, contemplative stroll, the chattering high spirits of others are about as welcome as a shovel to the face.

A hay field and a row of trees under cloud. Like Roy Walker I like to say what I see.

Returning to the car, I unleashed my thermos, and another apple, before heading back down Winnats Pass so I could see the sights from the other direction. I thought about stopping at the bottom of the hill, so I could get some shots, but the £4 parking charge plunged me into a whirlpool of despair I thought I would never be free of. Thankfully I was soon on the road to Hope.

Hope is a small town not far from Chastleton, and I was heading there so I could take the road through Eden Valley. This very picturesque route travels for half its distance along the green wooded valley floor, and the other half high up, winding through delightful, undulating terrain, with fabulous views.

The light was so flat I didn’t see the point of stopping to get any pictures, so I just took the drive, admiring the handsome views along the way.

By the time I got back to the campsite, I was more than ready for dinner. There are many good things about apples and coffee, but keeping a person gastronomically sated is not one of them.

After dinner I drove to Stanage Edge to check out the possibilities for sunrise the next morning, but it looked so promising I decided to stay for sunset instead, and I’m glad I did.

As I walked up to the edge the sun pierced through the clouds highlighting a distant hill.
The clouds opened up to let more of the sunlight pour down
A view from up on the edge, looking towards the valley below.

Stanage Edge, or simply Stanage (from ‘stone edge’), is the largest of the gritstone edges in the Peak District, so I had plenty of places to roam about as I looked for shots of the evening light. It was pretty busy, but thankfully I managed to get a few pictures without too many people in them, and most of them disappeared before the sun hit the horizon anyway, which was handy.

A selection of images looking out from the rocky ledge as the sun heads towards the horizon.

I had hoped the big billowy clouds that moved ponderously above, would produce some tremendous colour as twilight fell, but it wasn’t to be unfortunately, they just thinned and faded to grey. But nonetheless it was a lovely evening, and it was peaceful to sit up on the edge, watching the light dissolve into darkness, before returning to the campsite for a final night of very little sleep.

A final view, looking back to Stanage Edge in the twilight.

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