Sunday, September 23 – Some Derbyshire Dales

Up at 6am this morning, we had an early breakfast and were on the road at 8. The morning bid fair to be a fine day, a steady breeze faced us, and put a sharp tinge in the air.  A series of bewildering streets led us on to the Stockport road, at Withington.  Over this none too good stretch we sped, reaching Stockport before 9am, and then taking the setts (cobbled streets) to Hazel Grove.  Uphill now, through High Lane to Disley, then level through Furness Vale, Whaley Bridge, then a stiff climb.  As we mounted higher, the dale of Goyt below opened out, giving a wonderful view of the hills across with the narrow Roman Street climbing over the hills.  After a while came the horseshoe bend, and at Horwich End, 1,401ft high, we stayed a moment to regain breath and view the extensive scenes around.  The motors were just beginning to show themselves as we negotiated the big dip into Buxton.

Turning left in the town we began a ‘tour’ of the Sewage and Gasworks at the entrance to Ashwood Dale on the Bakewell road.  The River Wye kept us close company on one side, and the railway on the other, constantly crossing and recrossing the road.  Low, limestone cliffs fringed the valley on each side, wooded eminences blending and making a fine picture.  Soon we entered Wye Dale, similar to Ashwood Dale, but the quarries rather disfigure it.  Chee Dale followed, the cliffs became higher, the scenery more beautiful, and it was with some regret that we began to climb out of it on the road.  The climb was steep and, walking, we had plenty of time to note the narrow dale below, the great quarries across, and the river, and even the railway, cut as it was in the solid rock, seemed in place.  After a mile or so of climbing, we reached the head of Topley Pike, and, at the Waterloo Inn, we turned left downhill.

Again we were running between walls of rock, and once we stopped, to explore the numerous shallow caves.  Soon we entered Millers Dale, where the scenery entranced us.  Pottering along, we came to Cressbrook, where the River Wye widens and forms a large pond or small lake with miniature islands, and flanked with the all prevalent limestone rock.  After a stop, we took the narrow road along Tideswell Dale to Littonslack and Tideswell for lunch.  Later we tried to get into Tideswell Church, which was closed.  This church is of considerable age and size and is built in the cathedral style – indeed it is called the ‘Cathedral of the Peak’.

Crossing the Baslow road, we came to Little Huckley, where, after a sudden drop, we entered Bradwell Dale, another limestone gorge.  Then joining the main road, we ran along the Hope valley to Hope.  After a little map reading we found the Edale road, and started on a gradual circuit of Lose Hill.  Once more we entered a valley – the well known and glorious Vale of Edale.  Our road led us for miles beside the River Noe, and, of course, the railway.  At length we came to Edale, and then commenced a climb.  At a gradient of at least 1 in 7, for two miles we tramped uphill towards the top of Rushop Edge.  At last we stood on the top with a grand view of the Vale of Edale with High Peak beyond.

Turning about we were met by an equally extensive scene, the Hope Valley, with Castleton below.  As we reached the main road at 1,400ft we faced the grim rocks of Mam Tor, the ‘shivering’ mountain.  Tea was now calling, and setting the views behind us we took the road to Sparrowpit where the CTC house bade us welcome, and gave us a good tea at 5pm.  Leaving at 6 we dropped downhill towards Chapel-en-le-Frith.  On this road is a well which ebbs and flows throughout the year, even in times of drought.

Chapel was soon passed, and still dropping quickly past Combs reservoir we came to Whaley Bridge, where a mist descended on us.  Dusk gathered as we dropped down through Furness Vale and Disley to High Lane.  Taking what we took to be a direct road to Cheadle we traversed a swampy moss with lamps lit.  At Bramall Green we got lost and wandered to Stockport.  Rain was falling and our capes became necessary.  Eventually we found the right road and at length reached Cheadle where we parted.  I soon got home via Stretford and Barton, arriving at 9.30pm.  Today we have traversed nine Dales, eight of which are new to me, visited several famous places and covered over 20 miles above the 1,000ft mark.  Grand Derbyshire!

95 miles, 13.5 hours