Our first walk totalled 11 miles and took us from the hostel and down Biggin Dale to the River Dove along which we walked to Milldale. From here it was up to Alstonfield and then over fields before slithering down a very muddy Gypsy Bank back down to the Dove. We again followed the river but in the opposite direction back into Hartington and the hostel in time for afternoon tea. During the morning we experienced torrential rain, but it cleared in the afternoon to give a beautiful finish to the walk and some wonderful light for photography. Just down from the hostel we pass a fabulous Derbyshire Dales barn that, over the years has gradually fallen into disrepair until last year the roof had gone completely. Thinking it was only a matter of time we were not optimistic as we approached it this year but to our delight it has been completely restored. We did well for bird life this year: goldcrests, a family group of long-tailed tits, teal, three kingfisher sightings, excellent views of three dippers, marsh/willow tit, tree creeper and a heron in the same spot we always see one. We also had a sparrowhawk fly over when we stopped for an afternoon coffee. An excellent day.
New Year's Day dawned wet and stayed wet all day with gale force winds. And I have never seen so much mud; wallowing best describes it at times. In a perverse way though it was pleasurably. There is something very satisfying about staying warm and dry inside good waterproof and immune to the elements. It has been said there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate gear. Our walk was another 11 miler along the ridge separating the Dove from the Manifold to Longnor and back along the valley of the Dove via Pilsbury Castle. Not surprisingly wildlife sightings were few and far between and the camera didn't come out once.
Our final walk on 2nd January was a circular walk from Alstonfield, down to Milldale, along the River Dove and back via Hall Dale and Stanshope. As shorter one of 5 miles as we also had to drive home. We had much better weather today with some great light for photography and a wonderful rainbow over the river.
All photographs were taken with my new compact Panasonic LX7. I have bought this to use when I am out walking and don't wish to be encumbered by large and heavy DSLR equipment. It does the job admirably. As it is easy to change the aspect ration on this camera It was good to experiment. I find 16:9 pleasing for landscape format but 4:3 much better for vertical shots.
To view large, click on an image.
|Detail on Stone Wall|
|Hartington Village and Church.|
|River Dove, Ilam Rock.|