It has certainly been a year of highs and lows, be it physically, emotionally, weather-wise or walking. However, through it all I’ve had Nellie by my side as a faithful canine companion.
With pandemic restrictions lifted, 2022 was a year for exploring our beloved Peak District and beyond once again. We began the year with a hike up Shining Tor to bag an ‘Ethel’ summit which I also discovered to be a ‘Marilyn’ hill.
White Edge in late January was a delightful 9-mile circular route from Curbar Gap taking in guide stoops, companion stones and a medieval waymarker cross to boot.
I chose to be eco-friendly for our next walk, exploring from home with picturesque riverside paths beside the Lathkill and Bradford.
Stormy weather and flooding from Dudley, Eunice and Franklin in quick succession kept us on home turf for weeks because of slippery paths and gloopy mud. However, a keen frost enabled an amble around Alsop-en-le-Dale, when we called in at the quaint Norman church dedicated to St Michael and All Angels.
Daffodils were swaying in the breeze around Hope for our March walk when we scaled the summit of Win Hill at 462 metres. The hilltop theme continued in the next issue with a trek along the Great Ridge on a rollercoaster ramble.
A family walk in the school holidays from Hayfield followed when I led a couple of my grandchildren up Lantern Pike, visiting the ruins of Phoside Mill along the way for a lesson in industrial heritage. It was an education in ornithology for the next walk around Carsington Water.
For one of my May walks I took inspiration by delving to page 165 in Rod Dunns fabulous pictorial publication ‘The Peak’. I simply opened the book for a pot luck destination and consequently headed off in search of Heathcote Mere.
A banquet of bluebells featured next when Nellie and I bumbled around woods surrounding Birchover. Above us was a clear sky making blue the colour of the day, and this continued a fortnight later when I headed to Tideswell with a group of friends for a scenic hike incorporating a tour of the Church tower. However, it was back down to earth in flaming June when Nellie and I stuck to woodland paths around Crich to avoid searing sun and heatstroke!
The hot weather continued for our potter around Ashover but then broke in July so that we could actually enjoy a deliciously wet walk around Great Hucklow, testing my waterproofs to the max but drowning my mobile phone in the process. For weeks the Peak District appeared as a panorama of parched golden fields bleached blonde by day after day of relentless intense sun.
Nature reserves and industrial architecture with bridges and viaducts featured in our walk around Millers Dale and the Monsal Trail, visiting the recently restored Goods Shed at Millers Dale Station.
Another school holiday meant more time spent with Max and Grace, this time enjoying a Tesco meal deal picnic on a walk from Castleton.
The Peak District is a playground for Nellie and I. We love walking in either the Dark or White Peak areas and managed to incorporate both when we rambled around Calver.
August was a sad month and time for reflection. On the day following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II , I, along with most of the nation, was feeling a bit maudlin and consoled myself with a saunter over to Youlgrave from home.
Autumn arrived in all its glory. Every shade of gold appeared to dominate the landscape which I find pleasing to the eye and warming to the soul, so Nellie and I headed off to Hathersage for a walk of wellbeing.
The Roaches beckoned us in September. Swythamley Hall may have been snuggled away and out of sight to us, but it didn’t stop me researching its history. One time home to the Brocklehurst family, it made interesting reading to discover the amazing life stories of Sir Philip Lee Brocklehurst, 2nd Baronet and his brother Lt Col. Henry Courtney Brocklehurst.
Glorious Chatsworth featured in my November walk with a peek at the Christmas Market and a bit of retail therapy. This was followed by rain and yet more rain which seemed to dominate the end of the year and beginning of 2023. I scoured my maps for routes that might be walkable, being on solid ground, and came up with a meander around Manifold and then a most enjoyable walk from Monyash following part of the old King’s highway. The last walk of the year was supposed to be high and dry too, but I ended up slipping and slithering on the flank of Win Hill. In summer I had prayed for rain to water my garden and turn everywhere green again but think I may have overdone it! Let 2023 just be normal.
FOOTNOTE BY NELLIE: The other day I got a lovely surprise when we came across our postman delivering at the far end of the village. He actually gave me a fuss and I gave him a kiss. You could call it a sort of festive truce because normally when I hear him walking along our path I turn into a slavering gremlin! My New Year resolution is to keep calm when he goes past the window. Let’s see how long that lasts!! Lots of woofs, Nellie xx