Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Cheedale disappearing stepping stones

Sunday saw a lovely day dawn, cold and bright, a great autumnal day, we parked up at Blackwell and headed through a farm and across the fields towards Cheedale Tor, quickly needing to wrap ourselves in our hat and gloves. Keisha was armed with her whistle and compass and was whistling along the way telling us when to start and stop and practising her emergency whistling.Keisha cleverly opted to put her waterproof trousers when she put her boots on,obviously planning ahead for the water and mud. We were suitably impressed. We continued down the steep path which was negotiated skilfully by all and we arrived at the dale. We had in fact been dying to go to Cheedale again for a very long time and we looking forward to taking Keisha over the stepping stones.

grid ref SK123725

We crossed the bridge and started our walk along the dale, it is a beautiful dale, the photos speak for themselves, the walk continued along with a mixture of board walks, squelchy mud and challenging rocky paths all which were skilfully negotiated with ease by nimble footed Keisha. We met a couple of people along the way who felt the walk was impassable with a overflowing river leaving no path and the stepping stones had disappeared.

The water flowing down the dale was high, very turbulent and clear and looked beautiful. We decided despite the comments to continue on and see for ourselves as the dale is fantastic and wanted to go as far as we could before turning back. We found a suitable spot to have a rest and eat our picnic lunch.The children fuelled up again, we continued along the rocky steep path with a sheer drop down to the fast flowing water, we reached the point of the river overspill and easily negotiated the river using some rocks and logs to help make our way across and continued on with dry feet.We passed a lovely crag, which Keisha and Louis were fascinated by the overhanging rocks and the constant dripping water which seemed like it was raining. We soon reached the first lot of stepping stones and were relieved to see that they were above the water apart from a few when we passed around the rock. We were rewarded by the dale continuing to be more and more wild and awesome. We all enjoyed our trip over the stepping stones and continued on.

The second set of stones was reached and were pretty much all under water, we made her decision to go over them, Keisha was anxious about a few of the stones and decided that she wanted to be carried over these, a sensible decision. I came up the rear and was ever grateful for the crag jutting out where the stepping stones curved round and was using the tiny finger holds on the rock to keep my balance as I made my way across the stones, I too needed Mikes hand to overcome a couple of the stepping stones.

We continued until we reached the viaduct where we made our way up onto the monsal trail and headed along the Pennine trail, the trail brings a variety of viaducts and railway tunnels which add to the scenic walk, we head up the valley and over the fields and make our way back to the car.

Keisha is very proud of herself, having walked all the way and was worried that because Mike had carried her across the stepping stones that it would count. She said that it was necessary and she was right. It was a great walk and hasn't lost any of its charm since we last did it.

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