A Peak District challenge

On the evening of Tuesday 10 September, members of the Longer Walks Group gathered in Buxton’s Old Sun Inn to discuss the next day’s walk over dinner. The weather forecast threatened early rain which would clear mid-morning, suggesting a decent day for our Wyedale walk.

It turned out to be somewhat wet when the bus deposited us at Topley Pike quarry, but as we headed off along the Monsal Trail to Millers Dale, the skies cleared and we were able to enjoy the limestone scenery around us. After watching some youngsters abseiling off a viaduct, we were ready for morning coffee in the former Millers Dale station.
Next came the serious business! A descent into Millers Dale was followed by a lung-busting climb through the woods to reach the open moorlands near Priestcliffe. A level walk then took us across the A6, before we climbed again to reach Taddington Moor at over 400m above sea level.

Following a stretch across the moors, we descended into the village of Chelmorton, and headed for Deepdale. Deep Dale is a fine example of a dry, limestone, valley that has been very aptly named. The descent is steep, and is probably one of the most challenging we have done. However with care and a lot of mutual encouragement the group made it safely down to the valley floor, only to have to climb out of the other side.
We were now on the home stretch, with only farmland and a few stiles between Deep Dale and Buxton. After 11 miles of walking and 550 metres of ascent, we finished our walk with a drink in the Buxton Brewery Tap, refreshment being absolutely essential!

On Wednesday, we exchanged limestone for sandstone and a walk along the Goyt Valley. Trying very hard not to be mistaken for disaster tourists, we took the train to Whaley Bridge, passing the recently damaged Toddbrook Reservoir as we headed out of town.
Our route climbed steadily towards the Goyt Forest, finally arriving at the Fernilee Reservoir. A gentle walk along the water’s edge followed until we reached Errwood Reservoir and the beginning of the moorland section of our walk. We continued south, above the reservoir, climbing away from the shore to meet the track of a dismantled railway at Goyt’s Lane. Following the track across the moor, we eventually reached a bricked up tunnel entrance from where we climbed to the watershed of the Goyt Basin at 420 metres above sea level.

From here there were fine views, north along the Goyt Valley to Whaley Bridge, and south to Buxton and the area we walked on the previous day. On reaching the edge of the moorland plateau, we descended a steep, wooded hillside to reach the Cavendish golf club and soon arrived at the outskirts of Buxton. After a stroll through the beautifully restored Pavilion Gardens, we ended the walk having completed another 10 miles and climbed another 530 metres.
There was just time for another visit to the Buxton Brewery Tap, before catching trains for London, and no doubt a well earned snooze as well.

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