Sunday, 20 May 2012

Monsal Dale, Peak District

We got to stretch our legs a bit again this weekend.  We took advantage of the decent weather and walked a circular path around Monsal Dale.  (By decent weather, I mean not miserable.  Low 50's and dry.  I'm not one to complain, but it's the middle of May and we can't seem to crack 60F or get much sun.)

Monsal Dale is in the Peak District a few miles past Bakewell.  We had done a walk around Bakewell, Ashford on the Water and part of the Monsal trail last year (link).  Some fellow ex-pats had suggested the Monsal Dale walk (Derbyshire Walks with Children, #17).  It was just over 3 miles with some decent climbs and took us about 2.5 hours.

Note:  a dale is a valley, particularly a broad one (I don't know the history of the name Monsal).

We didn't get our sheep fix on this one, but more than a few cows.  These guys were just off the very first stile as we started our walk.  (Sheep are prettier).

And we are off.  Might not even be 50F at this point, but it did warm up, particularly with our activity.

After a semi-strenuous and muddy climb we popped out into some old farmland.  Love the stone walls.

 Looking back down at the A6 somewhat near where we started.

The River Wye in the Monsal Dale.  Hills and scree (rocks) -- very typical in this part of the Peaks.  Note the weir (low dam) across the river (hint:  foreshadowing).

more dale photos

don't recall seeing these before

Farther around the walk on the viaduct and Monsal Trail looking down the valley.  (we came from the right and continued clockwise back to our starting point).

We hopped on the Monsal Trail briefly to cross the viaduct.  It's more for cyclists so I'm glad the walk didn't include much on this path.  My book said the tunnel was closed so it must have re-opened recently.  Nonetheless we did not continue this way but up the hill to the left . . .

. . . to get this great view of the viaduct.  The viaduct was built by Midland Railway in 1863 and is 300 feet long with five 50 foot arches.

 and another

 finally, one with Nicole

We then set off to actually walk down into the valley.  And here's the weir that I took a photo of from above.

Alex looks like he's either tired or simply tired of posing for photos (I get that from time to time).

our turn

it was fun to see some dogs about -- these guys were enjoying the water and then killing this deadly branch -- they were really going at it

It was a fairly muddy trek with one of the wettest Aprils on record.  Much to the kids chagrin, that means slugs.  Eww.   Since I'm not used to seeing ones like this, I had to look it up (link).   It's a European black slug (probably could have guessed that).

 they aren't small -- here's Alex's hiking boot for reference

Enough of the slugs -- time to head back.  We meandered along the river for a mile or so until we got back to the parking lot.

It was a nice day out.  I still think the Hartington walk (link) is my favorite so far in the Peaks.   Unfortunately, I got voted down 3-1 on my "stretch goal" (copyright Jay S.) of also visiting the plague village of Eyam.  Oh well, we'll have to do that one another day.

Side note:  I've not embraced the UK sporting scene very much mainly due to time (and somewhat interest), but I have managed to watch 2 football (soccer) matches on TV.  Both involved the London club Chelsea in the Champions League tournament.  They upset favorite Barcelona in the semi's and took home the trophy last night.  Enjoyed learning a bit about the sport from my buddy Ken (4+ years in Spain and the UK).  No worries about that becoming a time sink, but it was a nice activity. 

Have a good week everyone and thanks for reading.


  1. Ah yes! The giant slugs.
    They make for an interesting memory of time spent abroad!

  2. Nice pics of the valley. I have learned its best to tell them if an activity is a stretch goal AFTER we start the activity. The 3-1 tally is what I usually battle against also, how strange. Loved the playing dogs pic.