Monday, 23 September 2013

Hope to Edale: another fine day walking (and other bits and bobs)

Greetings, Blog Fans.  Apologies for the one week delay.  I ended up working last weekend and didn't get around to the blog.  I have enough for two this week but I'll stuff it in to one.

I'll lead in with our Sunday activity this week:

Superb weather (19C/66F, sunny) led us back to the Peak District.  Our starting point was Edale (north of Castleton) and a good 75 minutes away.  Nicole and I did our Kinder Scout walk from Edale a year ago but we (all) had different plans this time.

The walk was our first linear walk in the Peak District.  I felt we've built up our endurance enough to try walking from Hope to Edale (cyan with red arrows).  Take a look at the other walks we've done in the area -- 6 in total!  [Kinder Scout is to the west, Castleton/Mam Tor to the south, Ladybower and Derwent Reservoir to the north, Hathersage and Stanton Edge to the east.]

This was a haul:  9.5 miles in 5:10 (4:10 moving) with 2170' total climbing.  You can see from the graph above that we had two separate climbs of 800+ feet.  (Given Kuk's reaction at the end, the walk might have been 1.5 miles too long.)    Joking aside, the troops did well.  We've definitely stretched our abilities.

Once again, we misjudged the weather.  This time in the other direction though as we were quite warm.  Could have pulled those shorts back out but alas we were in long sleeves/trousers (pants) and got quite toasty.

So if we drove to Edale, how did we get to Hope?  This little guy.  We hopped on the train (£6.10 for the fam) for one stop.  How cool is that?  The only downside was on Sunday in runs infrequently so we didn't want to miss it, that's for sure.

Check out the blue skies.  This day was about walking out of the valley and then around on various ridges for some great views.

like this one (though we haven't climbed that much at this point)

monster stile to climb before catching our breath after the first part of the climb (it always talks a little while to get your mojo)

 fuzzy sheep this time

looking east past Heathersage (where Nicole and I walked 2 weeks ago) and on to the ridge line of Stanage Edge

zoomed in a bit to see Stanage Edge and Carl's Wark

 a look back down in the valley

 working our way towards Win Hill -- bonus look back at Ladybower Reservoir on the other side

taking a rest at the top of Win Hill -- great views from here


 and another

The next bit was a little, um, brown -- looks like we are heading to the waste land.  Fear not -- just some Dark Peak moors

lunch time

 walking towards the lone tree in the area

 climbing up

 and another rest break at the top (more family shots this time!)

 across the valley -- Castleton would be on the other side (I think the lump is Mam Tor)

other than the prime "hills" we had the trails to ourselves for the most part -- that's why it was unusual to run into this group, presumably a walking club (or tour)

 still smiling (and a little backlit with the bright sun)

 cool rock

 and the dreaded path down -- it actually wasn't too bad.  Glad to have the poles and a knee brace though.

 a few last fuzzy sheep

I didn't include all the scenery shots, including Kinder Scout in the distance but the views were great all around (though there was a dry stretch in the middle).  Really proud of us doing this semi-challenging "walk".

We stopped off at the aptly named "Ramblers Inn" in Edale and enjoyed a well deserved refreshment at the end.  At least 2 passengers had a doze in the back on the way home so we must have done some good (fortunately the driver wasn't one of them).

Not sure how many more of these chances will get . . .

Bit and Bobs

I've got a few extra things to cover this week since I didn't report in last week.

School Awards
First off, both kids had their Speech/Award day ceremonies (for last year's efforts).  Both did really well last year and are off to a good start so far this year.

Alex received the award for Mathematics for his year (that nut didn't fall too far from the tree).  He's actually accepting a House award for something here as this photo turned out better. 

Nicole received an all around academic award given to the top 4 in her class (that's her head).  I didn't have the best angle for this one. 

Fun with Animals

Last Saturday my boss invited us back for his son's 5th birthday party.  He hired a animal group and thought our kids would enjoy it along with the others.  I've got quite a few photos of them even though it isn't their birthday!

 Alex doesn't think much of this one (a cockroach I think)

  a small golden (?) tarantula -- recall that Nicole held a big one two years ago (link)

now for the good stuff -- Alex gets to "hold" the lizard

 I couldn't pass this one up.  Kuk, as usual, liked asking questions and must have gotten a strange response

 bearded dragon (and cockroach eater) on Alex's chest

 small snake

 Nicole's turn

 and Nicole's magic to actually have a snake poo on her (or at least attempt to while she was holding it)

 a little big bigger now -- that's the birthday Alex on the right

 and a different one

 never knew Alex liked snakes so much (doesn't mean we are getting one though)

 on to some furries -- a chinchilla

 Nicole's turn

Heritage Trust Day at Rolls-Royce

Once a year, Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust opens its doors to the public.  The schedule fit, so I took the kids on Saturday.
look at that -- way in the back they had a cutaway/exploded view of a Model 250 (what I used to work on back in Indy).

 Alex was most fascinated by the 1/2 scale and spinning Trent 1000 lego

 Trent 1000 -- what I've been working on since I got here

 curvy fan blades

 hot section of the Trent 1000

and an RB211 for good measure -- the RB211 was the first 3-shaft engine that Rolls-Royce did and is the precursor to today's Trent family of engines.  It also caused the company to bankrupt in the early 70s which led to the government stepping in and splitting out the automotive and gas turbine businesses

speaking of automotive, they did have a few out front -- this is an early 50's model

So there you have it:  a nice walk on a glorious day and some bits and bobs from the last 2 weeks thrown in.  Take care everyone and have a good week.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Hathersage, Stanage Edge and First Day of School

Hello, Blog Fans.  I wasn't expecting much of a post this weekend.  Mid-week, the weather forecast was pretty dreary and we thought we'd lay low.  However, the all-day rain was on Friday and weekend cleared up so we were able to get out and about.

We had a rare Friday night event by dining with fellow ex-pats, Doug and Tara Schetzel.  It was good to catch up with them (they are even more organized and busy than we are).  Thanks for having us over guys.

We did get some rain on Saturday but we had planned an indoor outing.  Both kids did really well in school last year so we gave them each a "bonus" so to speak and Alex had been wanting to see the new Percy Jackson movie (PJ Sea of Monsters).  He's read the books so we thought that was a good reward (despite the cost).  He enjoyed it.  Me?  Not so much -- oh well, it was his day.

Alex had a party to attend on Sunday but it looked a like a nice day so Kuk was kind enough to let Nicole and me out without them (though I imagine she didn't mind the free time).  So, I got some great father/daughter time and we found a new walk to do.  (This was almost a year exactly from our big Kinder Scout walk).

Our starting point was the Derbyshire Peak District village of Hathersage.  We didn't spend too much time poking around but it looked nice.  Supposedly Charlotte Bronte stayed there when writing Jane Eyre (link).  More recently, team GB heptathlon gold-medalist Jessica Ennis(-Hill) got married there. 

This is an interested shot from my GPS software.  We've been all over this area -- love it.  Today's walk was the green one.  The others are Kinder Scout, Mam Tor, Derwent Reservoir, Lady Bower Reservoir, Stanage Edge and just out of view to the southeast is Padley Gorge.  We've been to other areas in the Peak District but I guess this is our sweet spot.  The long yellow route from Hope to Edale is still on the wishlist.

We started from Hathersage and walked up (and up) to Stanage Edge.  We overlapped every so slightly with the farthest point in our Stanage Edge walk with the Seppanens.  We walked down from the cliff edge through some great scenery and then made a circle route back to Hathersage.

6.6 miles, 3:20 (2:54 moving) -- pretty decent climb (900-1000') right at the start.  1700' total elevation change.

This is a small back road out from the village.  We got a reasonably early start and we were a little concerned about the late fog that we drove through near Hathersage but it started to clear.

random English house name that we easily take for granted (there's a Robin Hood's cave along the walk)

a view of the far end of the village and the fog as we catch our breath on the ascent

Nicole in the early shadows.  It was a little crisp to start but we were in short shirt sleeves eventually.   Having repeatedly learned our lesson, we came prepared with a fleece, rain jacket, gloves (!), and over-trousers (and plenty of food of course).  Much better to have and not use than the other way around.

another view looking back at Hathersage and the Hope Valley (at least I think it is still the Hope Valley)


looking across to Mam Tor and/or Kinder Scout

we took the path less traveled -- definitely a wee bit jungly.  Didn't realize we needed our over-trousers for the dew-covered plants (no worries, we dried off later)

a higher vantage point with some of the fern jungle in front

our first sheep of the day -- looks like they lost the paintball match

What, blinding sun?  Yes indeedy.   Looking back to Higger Tor which we did on a former walk.

Stanage Edge up ahead

closer to Stanage Edge -- one more climb to get there

made it -- a well deserved rest at the top

looking towards Kinder Scout

 a lone sheep on the edge of the earth

 great views all around

I probably took this shot last time too

 another nice one of Nicole

 a final shot from Stanage Edge--gorgeous day

 starting down and looking back -- lots of rock climbers come to this area as you might imagine

 she still indulges me with posing

 great, varied terrain on this walk -- now in clear with a view of the valley

all the sheep dotting the hillside

 looking back to Stanage Edge

 now we are with those sheep on the hillside

 bonus horse, and a pretty one at that

 rare chicken warning sign

 and now cows -- covering all our livestock bases

Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but I wanted to show the cows coming through this gate.  Probably 4-5 of them.  We patiently waited our turn from a distance.

Better vantage point to see Mam Tor, etc.

cow close up

Ah, back to Hathersage

Seems like I was getting a lot of "talk to the back, the head's not listening" with sheep today

 rolling hills (and sheep dots) towards Stanage Edge

 there's a close up

Nicole waiting for her old man to ease down the hill.  Both knees a little achy at this point.

We rewarded ourselves with a stop in a cafe.  Nicole had a slice of lemon cake . . .

. . . and I had a Cream Tea.  Very nice.  The whole cakes and coffee/tea in a cafe in the afternoon is very British.  We usually don't bother but it was a nice treat this time.  More quality time.

Really enjoyed the walk -- great, varied scenery and a nice length.  For those wanting a slightly shorter route you could cut out the cows and head back to Hathersage at the sheep (no kidding).  Probably 4-5 miles instead of 6 1/2.

I'll say it again, I'm really going to miss this.  I love these walks and there is simply no comparison back home.  It was great to be outside, soak up some Vitamin D, and spend the day with my wonderful daughter.  Tough to beat.

1st Day of School

Monday was Nicole's first day back at school (Alex has been at it for a few days already).  Nicole is starting year 10 (9th grade) which is the start of high school back in the States but the start of GCSE's here.  There are some standard classes (English, Maths, IT, PE, and a few others) but the students select 6 additional classes for which they want to receive qualifications.  After 2 years they "sit" exams and get scored.  After that, some may branch off to vocational studies or proceed to "A levels" which are a further down-selection of classes that go toward college entrance admission.  It seems to work for them but it's a bugger for translating back to the States.  That's probably the primary reason we aren't seeking to extend our stay.

Alex is starting year 7 (6th grade) and has moved to the Senior School wing (same school).  He's taking multiple classes and has multiple teachers for the first time (though I believe he changes with his class in most cases).

Both seem to be quite happy and are quickly getting into the swing of things after their relatively short summer break.

as is tradition, we get the front of the door, first day of school photo -- don't they look smart? (that's sharply dressed in UK-speak)  (except for those shoes, son --yikes -- trying to eek the last few months out of them I guess)

for fun, I pulled together a collage of the last 6 years (all the ones I had digitally) -- cute, huh?  Alex was in first grade and Nicole in 4th in the oldest picture (2008)

It's taking me forever to write this blog because I keep "watching" the Colts on ESPN Gamecast.  Horrible way to watch, but free.  If I thought it was worth £10 a game (less for the whole season), I could stream it from but I'm not there yet.  We'll see.  [They pulled out a close one against the Raiders -- phew.  A win's a win but that's a team that would be facing relegation in the Premier League.]

Have a good week everyone and thanks for reading.