From: Biggin to Miller’s Dale
Distance: 12m / 19.3km
Cumulated distance: 495m / 797km
Percentage completed: 41.8
There was no let up in the fog this morning. In fact it was a good deal gloomier than yesterday, as it dawned with rain. All rather disappointing.
I reconnected with the Tissington Trail which, after a couple of miles, became the Pennine Bridleway. The Bridleway is a relatively new National Trail which runs roughly parallel with its more challenging, long-established partner, the Pennine Way. It’s being constructed in stages and at the moment runs 213 miles through the Peaks and the Dales. I was thrilled to be reunited with the acorn logo of a National Trail. Footpaths were signposted off the Bridleway to intriguing sounding places such as Custard Field Farm and Bull-i’-th’-Thorn. None of them could I see, so they remained intriguing, without reality spoiling the imagination.
The temperature plummeted to a chilly 3 degrees and the wind seemed intent on slapping me in the face with my plastic map holder. At one stage, as I tried to take a photo, I pressed the selfie icon instead and only then realised how eccentric I looked ..
Close to Hartington on the Bridleway there is an old signal box. Beside it is a small plaque with a photo of how the box looked in the 1950s, when steam trains still pulled into the station, bringing day-trippers from all over the country to walk the beautiful Peak District.
Just before the segway of Tissington into Pennine Bridleway, I was convinced I’d seen a mirage. There on the side of the path was a bicycle hire centre, offering refreshments and public conveniences. I had been fantasising about a good latte .. and there was my dream come true! I walked into the building and went confidently to order a coffee and maybe a Bakewell Tart. ‘Sorry. Cafe’s closed .. weather’s too bad’. Booh.
I trudged on. There were a few brave cyclists and walkers along the way but none of us was prepared to stop for a chat. Eventually I went off-piste and stopped at The Duke of York pub in the hamlet of Pomeroy. Apparently it’s been a hostelry for centuries and if I were excited about ale, would have been very happy to find that the beer on tap is sourced from the renowned brewery, Robinson’s Ales. As it was, the coffee was more than adequate.
A short distance out of Pomeroy the PBW joined forces with the Midshire’s Way and I came to the village of Chelmorton. It’s the highest village in Derbyshire and at 1209 feet above sea-level, is possibly the highest parish in the whole of England. It’s affectionately known as the ‘mountain village’. The village has several other claims to fame but I have to say my favourite is the name of the delightful stream: The Illy Willy Water. It provides a source of pure water which was most likely the reason for the early Bronze Age settlers making Chelmorton their home. Nowadays, it’s piped underground so sadly I can’t pose, willy nilly, for a photo next to the Illy Willy.
There’s evidence from the ancient field system (which the village is internationally famous for among agriculturalists), that Celts, Saxons and Normans also lived in the village. It blows your mind sometimes to think about all the lives that have spun across the centuries in one place. The 17th century Church Inn is a big part of the community. In its previous life as The Blacksmith’s Arms, the blacksmith himself, who had his forge behind the pub, was also the landlord .. as well as its best customer, if folklore is to be believed.
The ‘street’ village is distinctively made up mainly of white limestone cottages with gritstone features. No doubt the limestone was mined locally and the community of houses is a visible reminder of its surrounding geology. It’s one of the things that I love about this country .. the character of the counties being hewed by their natural environment. Think Bath and its stone, the Cotswolds and its honeyed cottages and Cornwall with its white-washed farmhouses.
At the close of day I reached the riverside Anglers Rest in Millers Dale, where I was hooking up with Paul and my taxi to return home .. I have a wedding to go to tomorrow and am very, very excited at the thought of dressing up in something colourful and not decorated in mud. See you soon!
Black Dog Tails
Daisy brings comfort to patients on her hospital visits. Check out her story by clicking on the picture.