"Sunday 14/12/03 - Bakewell and Monsal Head circuit
Sue and I spotted Andrew as we drove through Bakewell at 9:45 am. Our arrangement to meet in the centre of town just about worked, as everyone seemed to assemble ok, but a rendezvous at the old station at Castle Hill (SK223689) maybe better in future.
The main car park is over the bridge to the right on the east bank of the River Wye; that would do. Anyway, by 10:15, Sue, Andrew, Graham, Tove, Sue, Phil, Mike Coldwell and GS had joined me for this year's Christmas walk. I had chosen Bakewell as the start point after many years of doing the walk from Tideswell, and whilst our day out was fine, the Tideswell route is better.
We joined the Monsal Trail for a 3.5 mile stroll (flat) to the Monsal Head Hotel, stopping only for a leisurely coffee and shortcake break at the old station behind Thornbridge Hall, a magnificent building that dominated our view on the route back to Bakewell, but it is hidden from the railway.
Getting to the pub at 11:45 was good for some (except that it was shut!). Whilst Andrew, Sue and I wandered down to the viaduct (unspectacular cloudy views),
the others gained entry and were installed in a couple of stalls (this used to be a milking barn) by the time we arrived back.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch, as usual, in the soon overflowing room (early arrival is in fact essential!).
Soon after 1:30 we escaped, after a discussion of future events rather than the traditional planning session, to a dull afternoon stroll back to Bakewell via Lees Bottom (Monsal Dale), Sheldon and Dirtlow Farm.
The walk out of Lees Bottom was steep, generating a long wait for GS, who has a bad knee.
A cool breeze hurried us across the tops until we dipped down by some opencast workings and finished off our flask contents.
Then on to the finish by 4 pm, just as the sun was setting.
Christmas farewells and a slow drive home."
Our route - shown above, was 16 km with 450 metres ascent. I wonder how long it will be this year...?