Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Weather Hot - England Not

So, after spending half of my valuable weekend shut away in a hall at some conference I had to attend, I awoke on Sunday with just one thought - how to squeeze an entire weekend into one day? A tricky enough question at the best of times but what, on what was set to be the hottest day of the year so far, would fit the bill?

Rising early provided part of the answer – a quick breakfast and a walk before things became too hot. We chose a regular local circuit that we enjoy: nothing too strenuous and no need to burden ourselves with unnecessary maps, just a pleasant route on lanes and field paths. Also we decided to travel as light as possible, so took only a drink with us. Although this is a regular walk I have yet to do a trip report for it – as today I was without my camera, it will have to wait a little longer.

The beauty of a regular circuit is you can walk it throughout the year and really get a feel for the changing seasons. Today the weather was indicating high summer, but closer inspection revealed touches of late spring still in evidence. Crops, although ripening, were still green, and here and there flocks of young birds flitted about the hedgerows. A couple of Buzzards drifted lazily overhead, riding the thermals driven by the rising temperatures of still-early morning.

Further on we crossed fields of wheat and barley and tangled oilseed rape. A hare, startled by our arrival, bolted along the field edge and we watched in silence as it sped over the rise ahead of us and out of sight. It is always exhilarating to see these wonderful creatures and we are lucky that they seem to be thriving in our local area.

The final section of the walk took us over further fields and along the road back home. By now it was over 30 degrees in the sun, so we had a wash and brush up and a bite of lunch before popping to the pub to watch England’s dismal World Cup exit to Germany. At least the beer was good! By the time the debacle was over the temperature was a little more bearable again, so to cheer ourselves up we opted for another walk – this time a short circuit to the next village and back – before eating.

So, beautiful weather, a couple of nice walks, wildlife sightings, a bit of football, a pint or two and some lovely food – not a bad way to do a weekend in one day, even if I do say so myself!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Looking Forward

I must confess to a certain amount of recent frustration. In the last couple of weeks since I completed a super 3-day jaunt in the Peak District we have been blessed with the most glorious weather, but to date I have been unable to take any real advantage of it. Except for a couple of very short trundles around my local area, I have either been at work, stuck inside, or fulfilling other commitments.

What is adding to the frustration is that I usually take a week’s walking holiday in late spring to try to relax, clear my head and clock up a few miles. Last year, I did the southern half of the Offa’s Dyke Path: this year I have not had the chance to take a break, so, periodically, I find myself staring outside with a far-away look on my face, daydreaming about having a wonderful time on some LDP somewhere.

Disappointing as it is to realise that I am not, in fact, on my travels, but sitting at my desk contemplating a pile of work full of imminent deadlines, there is an upside to all this because these imaginings are the beginnings of future adventures. The seeds of dozens of ideas will be sown; some will fall on fallow ground, but some will germinate into possibilities and, given time and a little nurturing, one or two might even become fully-grown plans.

And good thing about that is that when it’s cold and raining outside, when it’s dark when you go to work and dark when you come home again, and when you are missing your walking and the feeling of the sun on your face, there is something to look forward to that you know you’re going to enjoy, borne out of that frustration. A negative becomes a positive; a modest dream becomes a reality. And that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Derby To Leek 12th to 14 June 2010

This 3 day walk was designed to link the outskirts of Derby with the outskirts of Leek, making use of the transport options offered by the two and passing through a mix of rural south Derbyshire countryside, classic limestone dale scenery and lonely, dark Staffordshire moorland.

As well as a self-contained walk, I intended it as research into a possible longer route circumnavigating the Peak District, taking in a variety of destinations important to me personally and highlighting the blend of natural beauty, wildlife, history and industrial heritage that makes this National Park unique.

Saturday 12th June 2010

Day 1: Mickleover to Ashbourne – approx 14.75 miles


OS Explorer 259 Derby


Mickleover – Black Wood – Radbourne – Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk – Dalbury Lees – Long Lane – Over Burrows – Brailsford – Centenery Way – Ednaston – Shirley – BPCW – Osmaston – Ashbourne


Pubs: Lees, Brailsford, Shirley, Osmaston and Ashbourne
Cafés & Kiosks: Ashbourne
Shops: Brailsford, Ashbourne
Transport: Derby, Brailsford, Ashbourne
Accommodation: Derby, Brailsford, Ashbourne


A bright, sunny morning, slightly cool early on, with patchy cloud becoming warm in the afternoon.

I set off from my overnight stop on the western fringes of Derby at just after 9.00am, looking forward to the prospect of three very different day’s walking to come. Although still cool for the time of year, there was plenty of blue sky showing between bright white clouds and it felt good to have the sun on my face again after a week hidden away in the office. I felt slightly self-conscious plodding through the leafy suburbs sporting hiking boots and a sizeable rucksack, but I soon forgot about that as the streets brought back happy memories of friends and events from thirty or so years previously when I was growing up in the area.

Soon, I crossed the disused Derby to Burton railway line and, reaching the fields proper, left suburbia behind. Already wildlife was abundant and birdsong filled the air. As I passed into the parkland surrounding Radbourne Hall a fat Grey Squirrel shinned up a fence post and disappeared noisily into the trees, and butterflies flitted past at regular intervals. The 18th Century hall is renowned as the home of the Chandos-Pole family and, briefly, of Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin’s grandfather) - physician, philosopher, naturalist, poet, inventor and member of the Lunar Society - who married into the family in 1781. Approaching the village I spotted a Jay and watched Swifts swooping after insects overhead.

From the village I picked up the well-established Bonnie Prince Charlie Walk (BPCW) formed to commemorate the route Charles Edward Stuart marched between Ashbourne and Derby in 1745. This leads easily across the fields to the attractive village of Lees where, from the green outside the Black Cow pub, I followed the road north to meet Long Lane (a Roman road that linked Derby with Rocester in Staffordshire and beyond) at the brow of the hill. Crossing this ancient thoroughfare I threaded a line northwards towards Brailsford. A couple of Buzzards circled up on the thermals. Meeting the lane near the unlovely agri-business farm of Over Burrows, I turned left and dropped down into Brailsford, taking the path over the golf course to reach the village centre.

For the next stage I picked up the Centenary Way (CW) westwards. Having forced my way through fields of Oilseed Rape - almost 6ft high in places - on the way to Brailsford Church (located some half a mile outside the village) I skirted Ednaston and took my lunch, undisturbed, sitting in a field just beyond. It was by now a very pleasant afternoon, so I pushed on to Shirley and had a drink at the Saracens Head: a little food-y but nicely situated with tables out front in the sunshine.

I continued on my way again, once more following the BPCW. Along Park Lane, I passed the cricket field and paused to watch a couple of overs. Soon, the lane gave way to a shaded track running through Osmaston Park, dropping down to pass Shirley Mill and the lakes before rising again to Osmaston village. The usually quiet village was very busy; not only was the local school’s summer fair in full swing, but there was also a country show underway as well. A row of parked cars some third-of-a-mile long hugged the south side of the road forcing me to walk down the middle of the lane and battle with the oncoming traffic for right of way.

So I pressed on, taking the BPCW out of the village and back into the fields. I was by now nearing Ashbourne and the path began showing the signs, passing through a large caravan site and crossing the by-pass before winding through a quiet housing estate. The drudgery of this last mile was relieved slightly when the route cut across a last field and dropped down steps behind the houses, affording some pleasant views over the town to the hills beyond and hinting at what was to come tomorrow.

In the end, I felt that the majority of this walk was really good although the beginning and end were necessarily through housing estates and the section between Long Lane and Over Burrows was slightly scruffy in places. However, any such route (across farmland and well outside the National Park) is likely to encounter one or two places where the quality of the scenery drops a notch or two and, as an experiment, it seemed to work out well enough. Although I might consider other options in future such as a line further north through Kedleston and Hulland, I ended the day supping my cup of tea with a contented smile on my face, so mission accomplished.

Sunday 13th June 2010

Day 2: Ashbourne to Hartington – approx 13.25 miles


OS Explorer 259 Derby
OS Explorer OL24 Peak District (White Peak Area)


Ashbourne – Tissington Trail – Thorpe – Thorpe Cloud – Stepping Stones – Dovedale – Milldale – Alstonefield – Gipsy Bank – Coldeaton Bridge – Wolfscote Dale – Biggin Dale – Dale End – Highfield Lane – Hartington


Pubs: Ashbourne, Thorpe, Alstonefield and Hartington
Cafés & Kiosks: Ashbourne, Tissington, Milldale, Alstonefield and Hartington
Shops: Ashbourne and Hartington
Transport: Ashbourne, Thorpe, Alstonefield and Hartington
Accommodation: Ashbourne, Thorpe, Alstonefield and Hartington


A bright, sunny morning, slightly cool early on, with patchy cloud becoming showery in the afternoon. Heavy rain in late afternoon and evening.

It was a little later than the previous morning that I set off from Ashbourne for day two of this walk. Once again, the weather was fine early on, but once again, showers were forecast, and it was already clouding over: today they would be making an appearance.

I wandered up through the market place and turned left keeping on the road towards Mapleton to reach the start of the Tissington Trail on the north west edge of town. The Tissington Trail, formed from the former the Ashbourne to Buxton railway line, is a 13 mile cycle and walking path running between Ashbourne and Parsley Hay. Most summer weekends, cyclists dominate and walking can be tricky, but early in the day it provides a quick route into the dales.

Near Thorpe, I left the Trail behind and cut across fields to the road where, directly opposite, a narrow lane led into the village. A few squally raindrops blew by - a foretaste of things to come. I rested for a few minutes on a handy bench and, as I did so, visitors began to pour in. I was heading for one of the busiest parts of the Peak District on a Summer Sunday, so I knew peace and quiet would be at a premium. As they were busy adjusting laces and walking poles, I hurried away ahead of them.

My next objective was the distinctive mini-mountain of Thorpe Cloud, a steep-sided but modest peak situated at the gateway to Dovedale that I had not climbed it since I was a teenager. But today it seemed like a good idea so I clambered up it and found myself there surprisingly alone. Despite clocking in at less than 300m, the views from its rocky summit are excellent and give a wonderful “birds-eye” view of the gorge that is Dovedale.

After a few moments in quiet contemplation of the scene spread out below me, I left my airy perch and took the obvious path northwards down to the stepping stones where I joined the main path through Dovedale. Needless to say, it was very busy. I stopped for a few moments at Lover’s Leap waiting for a break in the procession before carrying on. There was plenty of wildlife to be seen, and evidence that although it is technically Summer, nature considers it to be late Spring. Both Mallard and Moorhen were to be seen with chicks in tow, and, in the slower-moving, deeper stretches, Trout broke the surface searching for insects.

Despite the huge numbers of people flocking through, Dovedale is a beautiful - even spectacular - steep-sided gorge, justifiably feted both now and in history. A series of pictures showing artistic scenes of the dale accompanied by literary excerpts had been fixed to trees at regular intervals, highlighting the draw this place has had on visitors over the years. I approve of illustrating the art and literature inspired by the dale, but I’m not sure I found the method to my taste. Soon afterwards, I passed the caves at Dove Holes from where it was a short walk to Viators Bridge, the old packhorse bridge made famous by Izaak Walton in his book “The Compleat Angler”, and into Milldale in time for lunch.

After lunch, I took a detour from the dale and climbed the hill to Alstonefield. Taking the bridle path northeast past the Youth Hostel. As I wandered through the fields I heard a Skylark and a Curlew and moments later saw both.

I dropped down into Wolfscote Dale at Coldeaton Bridge via Gipsy Bank. It began to rain, but the trees afforded some shelter and the gentle patter of raindrops on the water brought an odd calm. During this quiet I spotted a Grey Heron, a Grey Wagtail and a Dipper.

I ambled northwards, turning right into Biggin Dale, another fine example of the Limestone dales of this area. The rain continued to fall steadily as I worked my way towards Dale End and picked up Highfield Lane, one of a network of farm tracks that criss-cross the high ground hereabouts, providing far-reaching views for the final mile before bringing me into Hartington by the Youth Hostel, my lodgings for the evening.

Today’s walk was very enjoyable. Despite being busy, the wonderful variety and beauty of the scenery makes it worthwhile even so. There are very many options on this route, all of which would be equally enjoyable, but I am happy with the route I took and would recommend it thoroughly. Hartington is a good place for an overnight stop with pubs, shops, B&Bs and the Youth Hostel all to be found, and walkers are well catered fro, especially those looking for a couple of pints of real ale and a hearty meal – a fine end to a fine day.

Monday 14th June 2010

Day 3: Hartington to Upper Hulme – approx 12.75 miles


OS Explorer OL24 Peak District (White Peak Area)


Hartington – Beresford Dale – Narrowdale – Gateham Grange – Back of Ecton – Sugarloaf – Wetton Mill – Hoo Brook – Butterton – Hayes Farm – Lane – Mermaid Inn - Hurdlow – Upper Hulme


Pubs: Hartington, Butterton, Mermaid Inn and Upper Hulme
Cafés & Kiosks: Hartington and Wetton Mill
Shops: Hartington
Transport: Hartington, Butterton and Upper Hulme


A beautiful, bright morning, with blue sky and fluffy white cloud, cooling and clouding over in the afternoon with rain in the air.

Today, I awoke to a beautiful morning. More Spring-like than Summery, fluffy white clouds drifted across a bright blue sky. I wanted to make good use of the good weather, so I slipped out of the Hostel at just after 8.00am and picked up a few supplies on my way through the village.

I headed south into Beresford Dale across meadows sprinkled with wild flowers. Recent refurbishment has upgraded this path from the muddy mess it used to be. Soon, I reached the woods and followed the riverside path as it wound through the grotto-like dale. The heavy rain of the previous night was still dripping through the trees and, brushing past the dense foliage, it was difficult not to get a soaking.

By a small wooden bridge over the river, the dale opens out to reveal water meadows covered in wild flowers. I remember these meadows well: I used to visit them as a kid and in winter, when the river overflowed, they would be frozen over in one vast sheet of ice.

From Beresford Lane, I followed a cycle track southwards through a scene of bucolic perfection as the dale dropped away to my left. Beyond a gate, as the cycle path forked left, I carried straight on reaching a farm at Narrowdale. I contoured around Narrowdale Hill on the metalled lane, went straight over at the crossroads and took a westward-bound path, rough with tussocky grass, from below Gateham Grange towards Back of Ecton. From here, I wound my way up on to the ridge before picking up the path that runs past Sugarloaf and drops down through a scruffy farm towards Wetton Mill.

I stopped for a rest and a cup of tea and something to eat. By now the sky had clouded over and the remainder of the day looked set to be grey. Break over, I chose the bridle path along side Hoo Brook and made for Butterton. The nature of the underlying Geology had changed: instead of limestone of earlier I was now heading towards the darker moorlands of Staffordshire. Underfoot, the paths were slick with dark mud and the ground more easily churned by cattle. At the footbridge, my route aimed for Butterton, taking a rising path through meadows to reach the village: a tumble of houses divided by the brook that spills onto the main street.

So far, today’s walk had been very different from yesterdays. Just as I knew that walking the popular areas on a nice Sunday was likely to be busy, I guessed that these less-favoured parts on a cloudy Monday would be much quieter, and so it proved. Truth be told, I was hoping for a bit of peace and quiet and, since leaving Hartington, I had seen less than a handful of people; most of those being at Wetton Mill. The next stage was likely to be quieter still for I planned a traverse of the rising moorland northwest of Butterton as far as the Mermaid Inn, using a mixture of field paths, tracks and lanes and skirting the villages of Lower Elkstone and Upper Elkstone along the way. On the high ground beyond Hayes Farm a brusque shower swept in giving me just enough warning to put on my waterproof jacket in time. This area somehow manages to exude a loneliness far greater that its actual remoteness would suggest.

I plodded on. Farming hereabouts must be a precarious existence and almost on the edge of what is practicable, but it never ceases to amaze me how untidy some of them can be. Rusting farm implements, broken down cars, plies of old tyres, rolls of wire fencing, plastic cans, buckets and sheeting; all must have had some value at one time but have been simply left to rot, and I can’t see the benefit of it.

So, to avoid these unlovely farmyards, I stuck to the lane, reaching the Mermaid Inn in the early afternoon. I tried the door, but it was shut. I wasn’t unduly concerned as I had expected it might be closed anyway – out of the way pubs sometimes are on weekday lunchtime. I sat on a bench outside just to rest for five minutes and get my breath back when the landlord stuck his head around the door. “We’re not open”, he grunted in an unfriendly manner. I stared at him for a moment, and phrased my reply to suggest he perhaps didn’t mind if I sat there for a couple of minutes. He looked decidedly less than chuffed but went back inside. I am always happy to try to support rural businesses and would have bought a drink if they were open. But, from his attitude, I assume he, like the farmers hereabouts, can afford to let money go to waste since I will be telling all who will listen to try other hostelries.

I shouldered my pack and set off for the last leg of my walk. One of the upsides of this route is the great view of The Roaches, Hen Cloud and Ramshaw Rocks. These were spread out in front of me as I began my descent to Upper Hulme. A well-marked path makes an almost direct line for the village; first over tussocky fell, then by farm track and field path.

Although only mid-afternoon, and with The Roaches beckoning, I had to end my trip here as I had to connect with transport and make my way home. It had been a very enjoyable and varied three days incorporating a huge diversity of terrain, changeable weather, seething honey-pots and lonely moors, but I am pretty content with the route I chose and am looking forward to continuing on later in the year when I will get that Roaches traverse done. And with that to start the next leg, who could resist?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Planning my LDP

This coming weekend, I am going to begin researching a long distance path I am trying to devise in the Peak District. I have already worked some ideas from the maps of the area and planned the outline of the route, but now need to get down to the business of walking it "on the ground" to see whether it is as good in reality as it looks on the map, and filling in all the vital detail.

I've got 3 days in which to test out what would be the first three legs of the route. Hopefully, with decent weather, no problem paths and reliable public transport, it should prove to be good fun! As I am already familiar with many of the paths I shall be using I am hoping for a relaxing long weekend as well.

It feels exciting to be making a start at long last!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Deepdale and the Occupation Road – Approx 7.25 miles

Monday 31st May 2010

Deepdale and the Occupation Road – Approx 7.25 miles


OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western Areas


Starting Grid Reference: SD722859

Chapel by Whernside Manor – Dyke Hall Lane – Blakerigg – Deepdale – Occupation Road – Nun House Outrake – Deepdale Lane – Bridge End – Chapel.


A beautiful, warm morning; clear with blue skies and patchy cloud.

Another glorious Bank Holiday morning dawned and, with avoidance of the hordes descending on the otherwise peaceful dale being the order of the day, a quiet morning’s walk was needed before our battle homeward with the traffic commenced. Although some of the paths described here are well known, others are less so, with the possibility of at least a little peace and quiet.

From the chapel, we followed the lane southwards into Deepdale. Gradually, the lane gave way to a track linking the delightfully positioned farms and houses in this part of the dale. Just beyond the last house, we came across a run-down barn occupying a beautiful spot. Unbidden, dreams of a conversion flew into our minds – the setting, with it’s view across the valley floor to Great Coum and Crag Hill behind, was so idyllic we could almost picture ourselves living the good life here.

A little further into the dale, we began to find the relaxation we were seeking. After crossing a small beck we accidentally disturbed a Curlew; it’s plaintive cry sweeping across the dale on the breeze. The path continued through fields of reedy grass and meadows flecked with carpets of wild flowers.

At the end of the dale, as the fields gave way to fell, a steep climb brought us up to the road. We stopped for coffee just below the stile, drinking in the views as well. From this vantage point the whole of Deepdale stretched away below us, with Aye Gill Pike beyond. A hill-farming Geography lesson spread out in front of our eyes – the relationship between field and farm, man and moor, livestock and livelihood never more clearly illustrated.

The ensuing road section is mercifully short. Cresting the hill the Occupation road is reached on the right; a track that contours around the fell-side as far as Barbon Dale. It can be notoriously muddy after wet weather, but the first mile or so has been refurbished and the subsequent sections are more manageable and firmer in drier conditions.

Although rocky underfoot, the next couple of miles are easily negotiated. Wonderful views are to be had in a sweep from the Howgills to upper Dentdale. At the top of Nun House Outrake, we stopped for lunch, gazing across the fell-side into upper Dentdale, the station building visible on the side of Great Knoutbury Hill in the distance.

Then, in the heat of the middle of the day, we began our descent towards Slack. Again the going was easy – a blessing in the warm conditions of one of the hottest days of the year so far. At Deepdale Lane we turned left and, a few minutes later, took a field path on our right down to Bridge End, a short walk along the lane from the start.

All in all, it was a good morning’s walk – not too strenuous, which was a blessing given the heat. Although a fair proportion was along rocky tracks, the going is relatively easy and the views are wonderful. Deepdale is a hidden treat and, in an area awash with great paths, often overlooked for walking; which suited us just fine.

Fox’s Pulpit from Sedbergh – Approx 12.00 miles

Sunday 30th May 2010

Fox’s Pulpit from Sedbergh – Approx 12.00 miles


OS Explorer OL19 Howgill Fells & Upper Eden Valley


Sedbergh – Howgill Lane – Bramaskew – Dales Way (North) – Crook of Lune Bridge – High House – Lane (Firbank Fell) – Fox’s Pulpit – New Field – Lincoln’s Inn Bridge – Dales Way (South) – The Oaks – A683 – Brigflatts – Birks – Sedbergh.


A fine, sunny day which was slightly cool early on, with patchy cloud providing dramatic interest. One slight shower early afternoon.

It is often ambitious on a glorious Bank Holiday Sunday to expect much in the way of solitude but, while the honeypots of the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales heave under the weight of the holiday influx, this circuit of the Lune valley from Sedbergh manages to avoid the worst of the onslaught.

Sited right on the Western fringe of the YDNP (but actually just over the border in neighbouring Cumbria) this walk strays out of the National Park and into the area of Firbank Fell, currently under consideration for inclusion into the YDNP if the Park is to be extended in future years.

As well as relative peace and quiet, this walk offers great views of the Howgills, Dentdale, the Lune valley and the Lake District with only moderate climbs, along with more intimate sections of riverside walking.

From Sedbergh, Howgill Lane heads west then north skirting the base of Winder as it rises steadily to a high point around Ash-hining. Views abound in all directions with Whernside visible at the end of Dentdale behind us.

The lane then drops down over Crosdale Beck where a bridle path on the left leads to Bramaskew to join the Dales Way. Although a part of this famous trail, the Dales Way is often fairly quiet here. Heading northwards, we passed through Hole House and crossed Smithy Beck before meeting the Lune. We stopped for coffee on a rocky beach where Chapel Beck joins the river. In this sunny spot we watched Dippers, Pied Wagtails and Oytercatchers hunting amongst the smooth stones.

A footbridge crosses the beck, and we wound our way onwards. At Crook of Lune Wood, the last of the year’s bluebells bear testament to the show that would have been in evidence a couple of weeks ago.

From Crook of Lune Bridge we took the bridle path past Davy Bank, over the road and up on to the fell, turning southwards near High House to meet the lane along Firbank Fell. The views from here are magnificent, across to the Lakes in the west and eastwards to the Howgills.

With wonderful views in all directions, we ambled along the lane, taking our lunch at Fox’s Pulpit where, in 1652, George Fox preached, laying down the foundations of the Quaker movement. We took our lunch here on the sunny bank in front of the memorial plaque. I had been reading “White Spider” – Heinrich Harrer’s account of his and other’s attempts to scale the North face of the Eiger. They had to spend three nights bivouacking on the sheer face; each night suspended on a miniscule ledge, in freezing conditions, thousands of feet above the valley below. Stretched out on the warm grass, I chuckled at the contrast between that and our comfortable, sunny perch.

After lunch, our path dropped steeply down from the fell through Hawkrigg Wood where more bluebells littered the shady floor, once again reminding us of the superb show that had so recently been in evidence.

Below the wood, as a few drops of rain scooted overhead, we crossed the B6257 on the way to Lincoln’s Inn Bridge. Here, we joined the Dales Way again, this time heading southwards towards Sedbergh. After a short stretch by the River Lune a mixture of paths and tracks threaded their way across the fields, passing the beautiful, quiet, picture-postcad hamlet of The Oaks along the way.

A quarter-mile section along the busy A683 followed, then it was back to riverside walking; this time by the River Rawthey. The lack of water in the river bore testament to the dry conditions experienced during this Spring. Passing the Quaker houses at Brigflatts the path took us up and over the disused railway line. Discussions abound as to whether these lines could be pressed into use again. Re-instatement to rail track could be both expensive and difficult, but it is perhaps a more realistic ambition to consider using them as foot or cycle paths, similar to those in the Peak District.

The last mile took us past the confluence of rivers Rawthey and Dee to the tiny hamlet of Birks, from where we followed the lane back into Sedbergh, picking our way through the maze of paths surrounding Sedbergh School to the church and the town centre, where we rounded the day off with a welcome cup of tea.