Peak Forest

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Peak Forest. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So on Sunday, at about 4pm, we arrived at Peak Forest in the Peak District to start a 4¼-mile walk that would take us about 2½ hours. It was gloriously sunny but a tad chilly, so we had to wrap up fairly warmish but in layers that could easily be removed. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, apart from those lovely white fluffy ones, so we didn’t expect rain.

At first we started to go in the wrong direction, because the poet was reading the route map upside down … and then we had a false start when we went along the wrong footpath. But some friendly locals told us the right way to go, which was along a lightly-trod footpath across various fields and stiles. And I took control of the map …

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

The sheep were quite friendly and Rufus wasn’t at all interested in them, which is always a good thing. And the scenery was absolutely stunning. I’ve shared only six of the pictures here, but friends on Facebook can see more if they’d like.

Every few hundred feet we had to keep stopping to enjoy the view and take pictures. Only once on the way around did the dog ask for a drink of water. Then, when we offered him another towards the end of the walk, he turned his nose up – obviously a dog that knows what he wants and when he wants it.

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

About a third of the way around, at a fork in the path, we had to have another map debate as the route map said to “go up a wall-lined grassy path” but so many of the walls had tumbled down that the first uphill path that looked as though it used to be lined with walls needed some discussion.

Here, the poet took over and identified the terrain and predicted the correct path to be another few hundred yards away. And, quite right he was too. As we reached a cleft in the cliffs, sure enough another, properly wall-lined path did indeed lead up a hill. Though the grass left a bit to be desired due to …

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We had company. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

… the fact it’s used by off-road bikers. We heard these guys coming (there were 3 or 4 of them, actually), and I initially thought it was a tractor in a field. But when the cows in said field promptly scarpered, I thought it wise to shorten the dog’s lead.

The bikers were very careful as they went past us and nodded acknowledgement at me keeping Rufus out of harm’s way. I didn’t know that Ian had taken a very sneaky snap of them, but I think it’s turned out quite well. Especially for an accidental shot. (He was trying to catch stonechats, I think, at the time. Or mistle thrushes.)

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

I was starting to tire of the hill (I don’t really *do* hills) and when we saw the route divert away from the lane only to join it again, we decided to cut that part out. The middle, or even towards the end, of a walk is not the most ideal of places to slip in a hill, and we were all a bit tired by now.

It was very stony terrain and quite hard going underfoot in places, but at least it wasn’t muddy.

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Old iron hand pump at the start and the end of our walk. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We also decided to cut the last half a mile or so off the end of the walk and keep to the edge of the road, as by now it was also getting late. That meant our 4¼-mile walk became a 3¾-mile walk. But at least the last bit was all downhill. 🙂

At the end of the walk the poet was able to take a picture of the iron hand pump at the start of the walk, something the sun was in the wrong place for when we started. When we got back to the car, even the dog crashed out on the back seat and turned his nose up, again, at a drink of water. We had planned to nip into the pub where we’d parked the car at the end, but by the time we’d taken our boots off and had a drink, we just wanted to go home and have some tea. It had been a long day, and another busy weekend.

Enjoy the pictures, and hopefully they won’t have taken too long to render.

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