It's a landmark day - the 5th anniversary of my giving up full time work. Tradition dictates a (ever shortening) walk.
It's also the first birthday of this blog, but more of that some other time. Here's my first entry, posted a year ago, when Darren was to be my first reader.
Today, setting off from the Navigation Inn at Buxworth at 12.30 meant that my lunch kit was soon on display. Together with 'winter' boots triggered by showery weather.
A short, steep climb brought me to the red-rock summit of Eccles Pike, some 360 metres above sea level, with views stretching from Kinder to the north (see above), west down the lower Goyt valley, south across Coombs Moss, and east towards the limestone hills of the White Peak. There's an intricate orientation point, from which this image is a small detail. Whilst the paths were quite boggy and I was glad of the waterproof boots, the signs were very posh. The path signed below heads across the field in the direction indicated by the arrow. Coombs Reservoir is in the distance. The lush green grass showed little sign of having been trampled. I saw just a few casual dog walkers today. "Do Not Stray From The Path" or some such utterance, was the sign that greeted me on this section of the walk at Tunstead Milton! The fence soon disappeared and the path led through Himalayan Balsam, and a marsh, up to Coombs Reservoir, which appeared to be full. A fleet of sailing boats lingered, inactive, on the far shore whilst ducks quacked in the foreground.
After Tunstead Farm an indistinct path led to a boggy hollow before descending pleasantly through fields to join the old Cromford and High Peak Railway. A memorial plaque commemorates the railway's incorporation in 1825.
This fine bridge precedes a suburban section where the old railway line passed very close to workers' accommodation. A section of road through Whaley Bridge led me to the much renovated Peak Forest Canal and an easy walk back to the start, just avoiding a deluge.
Here's the 10 km route, with 350 metres of ascent, which took me nearly 3 hours at a very leisurely pace, including my lunch stop.
On display today were Ragwort, thistles, bright yellow gorse, tormentil and even harebells. Carrion crows outnumbered the jays and magpies, whilst various birds of prey kept a greater distance and blackbirds and grey squirrels scurried in the undergrowth.