This is the sixth Ramsoc weekend to be mentioned in these pages – Sue’s University Rambling Club reunion has come round again. This year she inherited the organiser’s mantle from Sue W, who retired after a twelve year stint but remained in a crucial position as she bankrolled the whole event. Thanks Sue.
Click here to view all the Ramsoc postings.
We assembled outside the impressive if rather crumbly facade of Eyam Youth Hostel.
Once in Eyam village, the group stood outside a closed café – showing a bizarre reluctance to follow their leader across the road!
The day’s first geocache - 'A Stoney stroll part 7 through the plague village', was easily located by resident expert Tom (aka HoratioP), ably assisted by David (aka david1.7).
Here Kate and Andrew rather fail to suppress their bafflement that folk leave tupperware boxes with log books scattered around the countryside.
The second cache was found further on along the path to Stoney Middleton, near here - the boundary stone where in 1666 the quarantined villagers placed their money to pay for the food that was left for them in the time of the plague.
'HoratioP', ‘Phreerunner’ and 'david1.7' recorded their visits, and down in the village ‘The Grove’ soon revealed our third cache of the day.
Meanwhile, Sue busied herself with autumnal pictures like this one.
Cache number 4 (‘Rocket’) just outside Stoney Middleton provided an excuse for another pause, before we headed over the top to Coombs Dale, passing a cache – ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 1’ - that had been ‘Muggled’ (evidenced by a bare strip of velcro) and another well hidden cache, ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 2’, our fifth find of the day. Others enjoyed some tea and cake whilst the geocachers sought this one out.
After finding ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 3 – Big Log’, we continued along the track up Rough Side that was almost inundated by a stream emanating from a forceful gurgle beside the path, guarded by a small but perfectly formed frog.
After a short pull onto Longstone Moor, cache number 7 – ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 9 - Pond the Replay’ – was soon located under some rocks. [What happened to Pts 4 to 8? I have no idea!] Moving on towards Wardlow we passed a brightly coloured pond where many seagulls were braving the chemicals and there were dire warnings of ‘Thin Ice’. There is much evidence here of the area’s past history of mining of various minerals.
Lunch was taken on Longstone Moor, in the shelter of a well grassed spoil heap.
Returning to face the fresh breeze, we paused by old mine shafts to take in the view by our next cache – ‘Take in the View’, before descending through Wardlow and down to Tansley Dale.
We came across some familiar figures, identified from afar by way of a rather overdressed, but admittedly less scruffy than usual, gent in a stalking hat. It was Sue W’s group, on a similar route, but aiming for pub stops rather than geocache pauses.
We waved them off towards Litton and headed past Peter’s Stone towards the delights of the Three Stags Heads inn at Wardlow Mires.
In bright sunshine, we found our next two caches – ‘Beyond Peter’s Stone’ and C.O.D. Petrus (Derbyshire) – the latter being almost at the top of Peter’s Stone, from where the image at the head of this posting was taken.
Peter’s Stone is seen here as the distinctive feature on the left of the valley, looking back from the path to Wardlow Mires in the shade of the valley.
Tom then found geocache number 11 - only revealed to 'Premium' members like HoratioP, so Phreerunner and david1.7 were unable to record this one, though we did sign the log and note the superb hiding place.
Whilst some bravely sought beer in the cramped surroundings of the Three Stags Heads, and in the company of various other dead animals secreted as good luck charms within the inn’s walls, others continued to Foolow, and many more enjoyed a caffeine fix at the Yondermann Café.
Then it fell to Tom to find 'A Silly Cache'...
... from where there's a view down Silly Dale.
Luckily, Tom had found the cache before David, a member of Sue W’s now well-oiled group, selected its position for his 'call of nature'.
Soon our rather diminished little band reached the duck heaven that graces the pretty village of Foolow.
Cache number 13 – ‘Foolow’ – was soon discovered by resident expert Tom, but its clever concealment – “a small camo style cache with a micro inside it … stealth may be required” – may well have fooled the rest of us for some time.
The path continued across fields towards Eyam, with late afternoon views to Eyam Edge and a failure to find the ‘Foolow Bound’ cache, which it later transpired had gone and has subsequently been replaced.
As we returned through Eyam, Hall Hill Troughs became the site of our 14th and final cache of the day - another Premium cache available only to HoratioP (aka Tom) to record his visit on the geocaching website.
The Youth Hostel is a little out of town. It was a pleasant walk up the sunlit road. I was alone, having now managed to ‘lose’ all 23 of my charges!
Everyone turned up eventually, and the hostel meal was fine. After the previous night’s poorly attended ‘Pyrenean Adventure’ slideshow, tonight’s offering of ‘An Hour in Knoydart’ filled the room to bursting point, mainly with people who had been on that trip and had the stamina to view the 900 or so pictures.
Today's route is shown below - 20 km, 450 metres ascent, 7 hours, 14 geocaches.
We assembled in the car park for a circular walk/bike ride.
“Any chance of a lift on your crossbar?” the finely honed athlete asked the portly gent in the cycle helmet.
Today’s route, led by local guide Sue W, took us back past the puzzled sheep with a long neck and down to Eyam, where the Miners Arms was proposed as a possibly suitable venue for a future Christmas lunch.
The road past the Wesleyan Reform Chapel, built in 1787 when John Wesley was still alive, led to the Riley Graves, where Mrs Elizabeth Hancock buried her husband and six children, victims of the plague, between the 3rd and the 10th of August 1666. The Hancocks farmed the field, known as Riley’s field – ‘Riley’ comes from ‘Rois Ley’s’ which means ‘Kings Field’. It was part of William the Conqueror’s Royal Hunting Ground.
Then we marched off through pleasant woodland towards Froggatt and the River Derwent.
The Derwent Valley is very well signposted hereabouts, though the drainage is a bit suspect.
We lunched outside the very posh Hazelford Hall, where a resident arrived in a chauffeur driven carriage whilst we admired the views towards Hathersage and Stanage Edge from the perimeter of her garden.
Heading on towards Abney Clough, Sue found this curious item.
Sir William Hill - 429 metres, fell to a splinter group comprising just one person, whilst everyone else hastened back to Eyam in a race with the predicted storm, involving winds up to 100 mph and other dire warnings.
It did look a bit threatening…
Our route today is shown below - 16 km, 450 metres ascent, in 5 hours.
All in all a most enjoyable weekend in surprisingly fair weather. Thanks go to the Sues for making it happen, and I must thank Tom for his expert assistance in tracking down Saturday’s geocaches.
A 95 image slideshow, probably only of interest to those who were there, is here.