ah the first of october, a time when the trees are golden brown and losing their leaves, whilst the air turns cold and you are in that in between stage between a bare neck and a scarf (or in my case, bringing out the small, autumn scarf). or not. this weekend i went for a walk in the baking sunshine, which drifted from the top of a hill down towards a pub with a packed beer garden, full of families enjoying the near tropical climate.
this was the first weekend i’ve had off from doing anything since moving to sheffield, no thoughts about work to do on the house or anything like that. so, following a quick trip to a popular high street book seller to pick up the ordance survey map that covers the bit of the peaks not included on the one used for getting around edale, it was time to jump on the train from sheffield to grindleford. whereas manchester to edale takes 40 minutes at the other end of this train line, sheffield to grindleford is a short hop of 15 minutes via the totley tunnel, which is the second longest inland railway tunnel in the uk.
enough of the train ride. from the sleepy railway platform, the map led us up the hill, through an amazing old forest. the trees had this wistful air of longevity to them, and as if to prove that they were somehow better than me one of the oak trees lobbed an acorn at my head. there were some lovely bits of stonework, which i honestly couldn’t tell you whether they were natural or man made. the path for example, not the faintest idea how long it had been there, or indeed if the rocks were there first and a path second. needless to say, the national trust appeared to be doing a cracking job of looking after padley gorge.
once out of the forest, we hit what appeared to be picnic point. families chucking around flyaways, hipsters in their toms, the works. it was dead nice, but not where we were planning on stopping for our lunch. no, more hard work required first. more good nt work was seen at the longshaw estate, from where the map continued taking us up the hill towards wooden pole. which was a wooden pole, quite a good name actually…
from wooden pole, with it’s ominous looking crow (which flew away from atop the pole as i got my camera out) and confused looking sheep, it was off to totley moor, and a walk over the top of a ridge which pretty much followed the route of the afore mentioned railway tunnel. this moor offered the kind of desolation that reminded me a fair bit of hiking in peru (which at the time i did comment on the fact it looked a lot like yorkshire). a quick lunch stop, accompanied by an inquisitive/confused sheep wandering around in the background, offered a view down the city of sheffield in the distance. this was the first time that i could really quantify just how close to home i actually was, whilst being in the middle of nowhere. i get the feeling that this access to the countryside is going to more and more become one of my favourite things about moving to sheffield.
onwards and downwards, after lunch there was only one aim. well two in fact, given that i’d already decided that the pint of shandy would definitely need a pint of ale to back it up pretty swiftly. an hour or so later we came out at the cricket inn in totley, which was the perfect place to be on a late summer’s afternoon. in fact, so good was the experience here that i was back in the pub for lunch this afternoon – they have amazing food to go with the excellent selection of thornbridge ales. of particular note beer-wise was the thornbridge brown rabbit, which was surprisingly crisp for an autumnal beer. pretty apt actually, given the weather.