Monday, December 31, 2012

New years eve reflection

2012 has been a frustrating year for me in terms of walking and enjoying the peaks.  My family have continued to enjoy and have wonderful adventures , their little faces in the photos and seeing the breathtaking photos has kept me sane and going through this difficult year.  We are all ready to embrace 2013 and I can't wait to enjoy the simple pure pleasure and delight of our family adventures once more.  Happy new year to everyone, feel free to leave comments if our blog has led you out to the peaks x

Magical Millstone

The best place to visit is Magical millstone, that's what Keisha told me and I would definitely agree. I enjoy climbing its magical corners and edges on summer evenings. Today was blustery and we sought some respite from the wind  chill by descending from the Surprise view car park to the quarried edges of Millstone.

The Shot holes SK245805 were used to deliver explosive into the rock wall for the purpose of extracting huge quantities of stone. This appealed to Louis we told him about how this rock was used to build the Ladybower, Derwent and Howden dams and how steam engines were used to move the rock. We enjoyed exploring the many bays from embankment wall to the Great slab. Before we started our climb up we had a snack near the Cioch.

Scrambling over the top of Millstone Louis was pretending to be a mountain climber and in hos excitement forgot about the wind chill we soon scrambled on to the top block of Over Owler Tor. Louis was quite excitable.

On the way down Louis took a liking to jumping in every puddle and squelching in every boggy bit. The area around mother cap boulder was particularly squelchy. Keisha found a pet rock monster and decided to cuddle it! We had all enjoyed our quick wander and scramble around Millstone and we're plotting further adventures for next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas carol and christmas tree picking at Longshaw

As we approached longshaw carpark the volunteers had placed tea lights all along the path with the icy ground in the dark it looked magical and the ground was sparkling as we made our way to the Christmas tree sales.  We got to work choosing a tree from the wonderful large collection of trees they had there.  The children found it exciting shining their torches on the trees as we tried to choose one. We soon choose the perfect tree and had it netted up whilst being warmed by the wonderful fire which had the aroma of pine. We made our way to the education centre for the carol singing and were greeted with a warm welcome by the NT volunteers we warmed up singing a few carols before being joined by three musicians on the accordion and violins. This certainly added to our singing. Keisha really enjoyed it and treated us to a German verse of silent night .  We made our way outside to enjoy some more carols around the fire.  The children were keen to do the Christmas crafts so they decorated pine cones and took home some willow and paper to make stars.
A magical evening.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eastern Edges

Rain was forecast today, fortunately it was wrong the forecast rain had passed early this morning and the darkened skies were the final vestiges were passing through. We started from the Moscar end of Stanage SK231878. Our objective was the Robin Hood Inn SK281721 near Birchen edge. The route we planned to take followed the eastern edges. Starting with Stanage, Burbage, White Edge, Froggatt Edge, Curbar dge, Baslow Edge and Gardoms edge.

The walk along Stanage was thoroughly enjoyable a few climbers were out, it was fairly nippy and the rock looked as though it might be somewhat damp, but Stanage gritstone has great friction.  By the time we had reached the Cowper stone end of Stanage it was time for something to eat.
We continued onto Burbage and walked  below Burbage along the Green drive. Continuing to Longshaw house we stopped for a cup of tea, this was turning out to be a rather pleasurable excursion! Walking through the Longshaw estate the skies cleared giving way to  blue skies and a pleasent evening.
Well time was marching on and we were definitely not marching! We decided that rather than follow the top of Froggatt and Curbar edges we'd walk over the top of White edge and green edge, a favourite running route of mine.

As we walked on the track over Baslow edge the sun disappeared below the horizon there was just enough light to get good shots of the Eagle Stone and the Wellington monument. The Wellington monument is interesting it's said that it was built in 1866 to commemorate a visit to the area by the Iron Duke. It's also claimed that it was built to match Nelsons monument.

The final section of the walk was quite tricky, we walked from the road junction with the Sheffield Road to the start of Gardoms edge. At this point there was still just enough light to cross the quagmire with the aid of the odd branch used to provide a convenient crossing. It was n't long before it became completely dark with our way lit only by the light of the waxing crescent of the 5 day old moon. Following Gardoms edge and the drystone wall near its top was easy, it became tricky as we got closer to the road. We were very pleased with our 16.6 mile walk.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rockets, Stars and Dark Skies

Amandas knee seems to be recovering after the recent surgery that she received. It was nice that we were all able to walk to the teashop on the Longshaw estate, this does not seem so adventurous. I cannot underestimate how pleasant it was for all of us to get out for a walk in such a nice place. I'm looking forward to a future visit when we might collect a Christmas tree!

For bonfire night the request came that we should all attend a fireworks display and bonfire. I suggested that we might visit Hathersage..... I had an ulterior motive! Garbed with glow sticks we enjoyed the bonfire and right on time the fire brigade started the firework show.

photographs from
photographs from
The fireworks were splendid. After briefly arguing over who should sit on my shoulders, Keisha and Louis enjoyed making up all sorts of names for the different fireworks. We thoroughly enjoyed the display at Hathersage it is worthwhile making the journey from Chesterfield.

On our return we stopped at Surprise view which is a dark sky discovery site. Louis thought it quire funny that I wanted to switch off all of the lights he was happier when I armed with a torch. The torch  was a wicked "Darth Mull" red so that went down well. Oh... the red light did n't destroy our night vision! Apparently here the skies are 15x darker than the centre of Sheffield. Jupiter looked excellent but the view is a marvel as you can make out the band of stars comprising the Milky Way.

The peak district is a great location to view the stars and this brief visage of our view of the universe
has sufficiently motivated me to make a return visit. This time armed with telescope! The forecast had indicated that we should get a few hours of clear skies. On my arrival the sky looked good but my observation of the horizon did not make me optimistic. As it turned out, by the time I had got the telescope set up the cloud had covered the skies.

It's quite funny because my view on that second cloudy evening was still rather inspiring and I strongly suspect I'll make another attempt to take my telescope to the dark sky site. I have even thought of a location closer to home which will be similarly dark.

All we need is a reliable weather service!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

And relax...... at the Owl House Day Spa

I havent blogged for a while very frustrating year awaiting surgery on new and missing walks in the peak district like mad.  Cant wait to get out walking again.  Last week we were in for a real treat, we were booked in to the Owl House Day Spa at Diseworth
 for a day of pampering via a Groupon Voucher.  We arrived and were greeted with a warm welcome, a welcome drink and a heart shaped dish of jelly babies.  We filled out our pre treatment questionaires and surveyed the surroundings.  Really beautifully created space.  We were shown round, the changing rooms, relaxation areas, day beds, treatment rooms and once changed we were led to our first treatment.  We were treated to a Mud Rhasul Treatment inside a Turkish Steam Chamber, there were two incredibly comfortable seats and we sat back and rubbed a gorgeous smelling scrub in and let the steam get to work, there were twinkling stars on the ceiling and pleasant music.  We both enjoyed this experience and quickly relaxed, the aroma was wonderful and our skin felt silky and soft.  After 20 minutes a tropical rain shower cleansed us of the scrub and we were squeaky clean and ready for the next treatment.  After changing, we sat on the day beds and soon I was whisked away for a full back massage and facial.   The massage was incredible and the facial included a wonderful head, neck and arm massage.  I felt completely spoilt and pampered. I then lay in one of the relaxation rooms reading a magazine on a pile of cushions and beanbags and fell asleep.  Mike in the meantime was being treated to a back massage and wet shave with facial.  This he enjoyed thoroughly and his back felt wonderful afterwards and he had a super smooth face.  We then enjoyed a picnic hamper, brought to us in the relaxation room  and we enjoyed a private romantic lunch for two with prosecco. The picnic was delicious and plentiful.
We changed back into our costumes and proceeded to the outside hot tub and enjoyed a relaxing time.  One of the therapists brought us another glass of bubbly to enjoy in the tub.  It was with reluctance that we went and got changed.  I arrived in the owl house cafe to find Mike enjoying a complimentary cupcake and joined in and we had a latte before heading home.  We both loved the day, were unsure why we didnt do this more often and treat our body and mind.  If you are heading to the peak district and have the time I would definitely take advantage and visit this day spa.  The experience was very personal and unique in this boutique day spa.  When I have recovered from my surgery we will definitely be returning.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dark Peak Scramble

The castle Mountaineering Club discussion area announced a scrambling meet. It's a while since I've been out with the Castle mountaineering club so it was great opportunity to get out. Lots of members were waiting at the Birchen Clough bridge car park SK109914. The plan was to scramble up Upper Red Brook and Nether Red Brook, descending via Fairbrook Naze a fairly short route but it would allow time to watch the Olympics!

The scrambles were both grade 1 and taken from the Scrambles in the Dark Peak Guide an excellent guide book reviewed on the Cicerone blog. I must add that one of the authors has attended past Castle Scrambling meets. Also, Ali who lead the meet told me that she had done a lot of the routes with Tom Corker.

It was great to catch up with friends on the walk into the scrambles. We followed the Snake path along Ashop Clough and started walking up into Upper Red brook, SK079904. The scrambling was good excellent fun and some good problems. These are excellent routes which can be easily turned, if required. As there has been a fair amount of rain some of the problems were quite interesting when clambering over green rocks!

We all enthusiastically walked along The edge and descended to the start of the nether brook scramble. The rock was somewhat drier and the scrambling more fun!

Once on the top a lot of people suggested returning to watch the Olympics. The Olympic fever has hit the CMC, well it is exciting. John and myself, both wanting some extra mileage, walked across Kinder to the Downfall and then returned along the Snake Path.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Touching the Crag

After the bad spell of weather, it's so great to get out to the crag again. I had an early start at work so left early promising Keisha a trip out to the crag. We wandered to Birchen edge the cows were enjoying the shade of the trees by the path up to the crag. The sand of the path glistened in the sunlight, Keisha likened it to fairy dust and started making up stories. We arrived at the edge and had a look at some of the routes near Trafalgar wall. We decided on some routes to the right of Trafalgar wall which we christened Trafalgar junior. Keisha came to the top and experimented with placing different pieces of gear while a rigged a top rope. Keisha enquired about the Hex's, Wall nuts, Rocks and friends. Climbing was good fun and we tried two lines quite close together I could easily move the belay across to the next route. The first route was slightly undercut and Keisha was slightly off balance with a shortage of handholds which she found quite disconcerting. We had to practice lowering off. Although Keisha has practiced lowering off at the climbing wall she needed more practice. The problem here is that Keisha felt out of control. As soon as she had learned the techniques for steadying herself she was happy and started having fun. The second route was easier and she tried this repeatedly show good technique with friction, trying side pulls and mantel shelf moves. It was excellent fun. I was allowed a moment to wander up Trafalgar wall, bonus!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Sun Spots and All

This evening we had glorious sunshine, well, with a lot of gardening jobs to do we asked Keisha to suggest what we should do. Her suggestion was to view the sun with the telescope. At this point it is important to stress that Solar observing is dangerous and can be hazardous to eyesight. Safety is everyone's responsibility. Never view the sun directly if you are unsure of how too observe the sun safely then seek advice. For our telescope we purchased Baader solar safety film from Sherwoods. We have constructed two filters which fit over the main telescope and over the finderscope. It's a particularly interesting time to observe the sun with the Solar maximum in 2013 there are many active sunspots in the equitorial regions of the sun.

Below is my image of active region  AR1520, there is a good SDO movie of AR1520 evolving over the last few days. The image was taken using a Philips toucam, webcam. The best 150 frames were chosen from a 600 frames and these were aligned using registax.

A selection of pictures of AR1520 may be found at, the picture below was shows one of the wonderful images that may be found.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Troll Hunt at Stanage Plantation

We drove to Stanage Plantation ( SK240841 ) this afternoon with the promise of a Troll hunt. We were informed by a contact that the Trolls live in some of the caves of Stanage but on bright summer days such as this they like to cool off on the boggy pools of the moors above Stanage. My motivated troll hunters eagerly made there way through Stanage planation and up to the edge.

We all enjoyed scrambling over the boulders, Louis really goes for it. Keisha climbs with style and elegance we really must get her out climbing soon. I'm looking forward to developing Louis excellent potential too!

 Looking back to the Plantation

 No Trolls here!

Holly bush gully

I enjoyed figuring the moves on the climbing route Holly Tree gully, Keisha and Louis urged us on , they were keen to get to the top. We found a convenient nick at an easier part of the edge. They climbed easily through the minor problem which challenged us. I stood behind ensuring the moves were completed safely!

Looking northwest along the top of Stanage edge.

After eating a snack bar at the top of Stanage we wandered along to the track leading from the top and down to the Stanage plantation. They both decided that running would be excellent and ran all the way back to the Plantation! Perhaps they were motivated by the desire for ice cream!

Friends on the Skyline

After meeting our friends in April we decided to attempt a long distance walk. We were disappointed as the White Peak walk was fully booked and so we decided to do our own walk. It was agreed that we try the Edale Skyline. Starting from Hope Railway station we approached the slopes of Win Hill.
Hope Railway station
Approach to Win Hill

Hope Cross

Grinsdbrook Clough

Rushup Edge
Mam Tor

On our approach to Mam Nick we could see poor weather and as we got closer our families descending the hill side. After an excellent days walk we opted for a pint at the Millstone before our friends returned home.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Well Dressings-2012

The website for information about Well Dressing in the Derbyshire tradition

Eyam August- Woodland Trust

Eyam - August 2012
Eyam August 2012- The Childrens well dressing - "The Hobbits Garden"
Barlow - August
Barlow - August - "The Wind in the Willows"

The well dressings at Hope and Litton share a common theme, the forthcoming olympic games. We particularly liked the Hope well dressing as this talked about "Letting your Light Shine" this is something that the children hear about at school.

Hathersage 8th July

Hope 30th June

Litton 30th June

Cressbrook 23rd June
We visited Cressbrook to collect on Saturday 23rd June to collect some pictures of the beautiful well dressings, our first this year.

The childrens well dressing "The Owl and the Pussy Cat"

Katherine Parr Henry VIII sixth wife.

Oxfam water week.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Adventure To Northumberland

A blog entry by Keisha age 6

On Saturday I travelled to Northumberland. In the evening I got in the swimming pool. I enjoyed having the pool to myself. I practised my diving and my swimming. I went to bed and was sharing a room with my brother Louis. On Sunday, we went to Seahouses we paid to go on a boat trip ,on Tuesday. After that I went to the shop and we got a fishing net because we wanted to do some fishing , and we got a bucket and spade . After I got in my silver car to go to the beach near Warkworth . Next I went in the shimmering and glittering sea. After that we made a massive sand castle. When we had finished it, Louis destroyed my ginormous sand castle. Again we kept running into the sea to get buckets of water to put them in the giant sand castle to make it wet sand. Then we went back to Pottery cottage where we were staying for seven days. On Tuesday it was the day to go on the boat trip at Seahouses and it was a freezingly cold day on the boat. The boat was called Serenity [link farneislands seahouses boats twitter]. It took us to an island in the ocean and you had to wear a hat because birds might peck you on the head and pooh on your head. Then we had some lunch, I had a Nutella wrap. It was delicious, I loved it. When it was Wednesday we went to Holy Island. Me and daddy went to the castle but we had to be quick because of the tide. When you are late you will get surrounded by the water. In the castle we did a trail it was about lots of questions to answer about kings and queens. Whatever letter it was you had to write it down on the piece of paper that was on the clipboard. Only the letters could be A, B, C or D. The man said that all my questions were right. He gave me a chocolate egg (from easter), some carrot seeds and a book all about activities. Then we got on a bus to the cafĂ© where mummy and Louis were. Louis was pleased to see me and daddy. Then I asked mummy if I could have a mint choc chip ice cream, we paid for it quickly so we didn’t get surrounded by water. Then we got back into the car and drove back to Pottery cottage. On Thursday we went to Cragside to meet mummys friend. Meanwhile we were waiting for Vicky, mummys friend. We played in the adventure playground we had some climbing and balancing competitions over the little hut. Then Louis and me went on the zip wire. Louis went on my lap on three of the goes. By the time me and Louis had our last go on the zip wire daddy and mummy told us that it was time to go and meet Vicky. After that moment we had a drink and food to eat. We had a nibble or two. Next we all went into the shop. Louis bought a person on a horse and I bought a bug hunter set. There was everything that you needed to find bugs. Even a poster and a book called bug hunter. At Cragside there was a beautiful and colourful iron bridge. We all went over two bridges except mummy but she was waving to us by the house. Only I waved to her but I don’t know if she noticed. Next, I did a trim trail with monkey bars and lots of other adventure things. Then we walked back to Nelly Mosses car park where mummy was in the car waiting for all of us. Then daddy drove us back home to Pottery cottage. On Friday morning daddy and I went in the swimming pool. In the swimming pool we daddy threw the diving sticks and I had to dive and get them. Then I did a couple of lengths and I practiced my frogs legs. I went swimming for a second time. I said my favourite thing about the whole day was that I liked mummy and daddy helping me to swim. Then I went to Pottery cottage. Next I had my tea we had pizza and jacket potato. Then we got in the car and went back to chesterfield. A little latter we stopped for some lunch . finally we got in the car and drove off . When I got home I was excited to see my bedroom.