Sunday, 24 June 2012

Cromford and the High Peak Incline

We had a busy Saturday running errands and preparing for our dinner guests, our neighbors, the Clevelys.  Kuk treated them to some Korean fare and the time passed quickly as it does when we get together (so much so that I always seem to manage to forget to take a photo).

Because of the busy day, I was getting a lot of "this isn't going to take all day, is it" looks when we got stirring on Sunday.  As a result, I looked for a nearby and shortish walk to appease the masses.  I chose one based out of Cromford which is about 30 minutes away and just south of Matlock Bath where we ventured last weekend.

Cromford is at "B" and Matlock Bath (from last week) is hidden behind it as "C".

Collins Short Walks in the Peak District #15 is "Cromford & the High Peak Incline":

Richard Arkwright came to Cromford in 1771 and built a cotton mill using the Derwent to power his newly invented spinning frames, completely revolutionizing the textile industry.  . . . beyond the mill is the tow path of a preserved canal - the one time commercial lifeline of Cromford.  The towpath leads to the foot of the High Peak Incline.

According to Collins this is a 3.5 mile walk that takes 1.75 hrs.  Hmm -- not for us.

This was the first walk with my new toy (handheld GPS).  I'm still figuring it out but I did manage to find some free maps on the internet and load them in.  I also tracked our route.  We managed to walk 5.1 miles (?) with all the to-ing/for-ing and exploring.  It took us 3 hours of which 1 hour was not moving!  Now, that's resting but also reading, pit-stops, etc.  It will be interesting to see if that 2:1 ratio is normal for us.  (All sorts of geeky stat opportunities here).

The first part of the walk was along the canal and we got to see quite a few water fowl to Kuk's delight (she ranked this one very high by the time we were done).  This is a coot.  It would dive to the bottom and pull the moss (?) to the top to pick at it.

What's a walk without  a gastropod mollusc.  We upped the ante from slug to snail this time (much more interesting).  Plenty of slugs too -- none blog worthy though!

a pair of Little Grebes

parent and child moorhen (yes, I looked all of these up)

Moorhen nest.  Just missed the better photo op, but she jumped off and paddled around to the dark cove behind it.

some babies -- not sure which type this time

"regular" ducks -- check out those wakes; they were bookin'

a different moorhen looking for the right nesting material

and the nest with parent #2

The High Peak Junction (intersection of the Cromford and High Peak railways meeting the canal).  Allegedly the oldest train workshops "in the world" (according to Collins, wiki has them second).  We had a quick look around but carried on.

a sign inside the vistor's centre (notice date)

We took a sharp turn and headed under the A6 and then up the high peak incline.  The incline is 1320 yards long (0.75 miles) with an altitude change of roughly 150 meters (i.e. a decent little climb for us -- resulted in some of the stationary time!).

Alex pulling up the rear.  He had something to check out first.

The trains were pulled up/down the incline by an engine at the top.  Due to the grade, sometimes the cars would get away.  They built this off ramp (like for 18-wheelers in the mountains) for a controlled crash rather than barreling into the workshop, etc. at the bottom.  Not sure how they managed that to be honest (but there were "remains" inside).

Up we go.  Nice shady walk (we did get warm sheltered from the wind though)

we could tell it was a significant grade without the sign (that's not the ratio of those completing the walk though)

Alex alternated between complaining about the climb to finding interesting things to check out.

a view down to the village of Cromford (and the required, and enjoyed, sheep shot)

Willersley Castle, built in 1792 for Richard Arkwright (the guy who started the mill noted at the beginning).  Unfortunately he died before it was completed.  Today it is a hotel run by the Christian Guild.

We had some nice views at the top of the incline.   The castle from above is at the bottom.  The yellow circle is the tower we climbed last week at the Heights of Abraham.  The red oval shows the gondola cable cars that we road to the top.

it's not all pretty -- there's also a quarry

another one of a massive tree somehow growing out of a rock

have rock, will climb

we took a different, and considerably muddier, route down -- we are trying to avoid the worst of it here

big time mud

some nice honeysuckle after the mud

the last part of the walk was through the village of Cromford -- I'm required to take a photo of all Greyhound references (we used to have 3, Boscoe, Angel and Bumpy).

random odd photo outside a store selling hats, scarves, bags, etc.  A bag-lady mannequin!

This is part of the former mill.  Cromford Mill is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site (15 miles from Matlock Bath to Derby).  From wiki:

The modern factory, or 'mill', system was born here in the 18th century to accommodate the new technology for spinning cotton developed by Richard Arkwright. With advancements in technology, it became possible to produce cotton continuously. The system was adopted throughout the valley, and later spread so that by 1788 there were over 200 Arkwright-type mills in Britain. Arkwright's inventions and system of organising labour was exported to Europe and the United States.

A final watefall shot near the second mill.  It was really bringing it today.  (It's been raining a lot).

We were able to get back home for lunch (and a nap!) so I'll claim victory on this one.  Hope everyone has a good week.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Heights of Abraham / Father's Day

Today, like in the US, was Father's Day.  Fortunately, we got a break in the really crappy weather we've been having so we could have a decent day out.  I decided to head 30 minutes up the road to Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham attraction.  They've placed a small visitor's center up on a hill with nice views and a few mined caverns for tourists.  The neat bit is that you can take gondola cable cars (the first in Britain) up to the top.

Here's a nice photo of my girls as we start our ascent.

 a quick look along the A6 and the River Derwent (down river or north)

boy's turn

  and a look in the opposite direction -- the ride up was a bigger thrill than we expected

another scenery shot on the way up -- typical English countryside

looking back down

We made it!  Now we are ready to explore.

Nice views from the top.  That's Matlock (as opposed to Matlock Bath) on the left and Riber Castle on the left.

Riber Castle was built in 1862 as a country manor (meant to look like a medieval castle).  Sounds like it has a bit of a checkered history.  Looks nice on a hilltop at least.

We sometimes forget to let the kids be kids.  There were two nice playgrounds suitable for older kids on the site and we spent a reasonable amount of time letting them enjoy them.  This one was a nice obstacle course.

The Victorian Tower was built in 1844 to (a) take advantage of the panoramic views and (b) provide work for the unemployed (i.e. a make-work government program).  Of course, we had to climb it.

two heads up top

 and now a third

 I love these countryside photos, especially on a nice(ish) day

 another with the kids -- the best part of Father's Day

I was fearing that this would have to do for the domesticated animal photo of the week.  (the ice cream shop is underneath it)

They had some chain saw family carvings.  Fittingly, this was the Father.

Alas, an actual animal photo.  Can't say I've seen a peacock on a door before.


in all his glory -- there's a peahen off to the side that we was claiming/protecting

Ooh, special Father's Day duck race.  We had #3.  (Yes, it's as cheesy as it looks).

they are off!

look at that -- #3 breaks into the clear!  Unfortunately, they had a duck race on nearly stagnate water and he let the pack catch up.  5th overall.  His racing career is done and a bathtub awaits.

They have two small caverns on site and guided tours are provided.  As with most in the area, they are natural to some extent but were actually mined (for lead in this case).


 some water dripping from above -- pretty neat the way the light shone on it

Take a quick look up at picture #2.  See any necklace?  Kuk picked up a new necklace and earrings while here.  What?  On Father's Day?

I actually picked it out so I can't complain (much).  It's Blue John (link) a semi-precious stone that is found only in the Peak District.  I think it looks great.  (That's your birthday present for next month, btw.  :-)

some big slides at the second playground

 curly ones too
 too much activity for some? (never fall asleep when your photo-happy husband and his camera are close by)

another shot towards Matlock

All in all, a nice relaxing day out.  I didn't take a photo, but I got some nice gifts as well.  Nicole had a first and actually purchased a gift for me:  a spice rack lazy susan.  Cool.   How many dad's get that?  

Kuk got me a new gadget as a combo belated birthday/Father's day gift:  a hand held GPS for hiking (link).  I've got some playing/figuring to do now!  I fear this is a truthful comment on my orienteering though! Stay tuned for some geeky hiking stats once I figure it out.

To top it off, we also went out to dinner (I can't cook on FD after all!).  We tried the Bull's Head in Repton (our friends the Seppanens have been wearing it out since they found it).  The food was good but it was unbelievably slow (even for British standards).  We'll have to try it on a non holiday.

 Kuk's softshell crab starter

Nicole's wood fired pizza

my beef roast (a little rare for me, but I wasn't sending anything back after 90 minutes)

along the food theme, Nicole was back at it and cooked this homemade mac & cheese w/ ham casserole earlier in the week

On Friday night, Nicole had her belated birthday sleepover.  Phoebe, Annabel and Anna joined in on the fun.

Obviously, Father's Day can't pass without me thinking about my own dad.  This is my 4th without him.  Not a day goes by without thinking of some connection/lesson/trait that I owe to him.

 Here's to you, Dad.  I hope I am half the man you were.  I could not have asked for a better role model.

And one of my favorites.  He was great with the kids.  I need to summon his patience some times.

Thanks for indulging me in a personal moment.  I hope you all had a great Father's Day weekend.