This weekend we ventured north into the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire 3 Peaks territory, a trip whose main star turned out to be the fantastically inclement weather. Our route was around 16 miles in length, and traversed approximately 1,500m of cumulative elevation gain. Present were my good friends Craig, Dom and James, and like all good journeys by rail out of Sheffield, this one began with a beer in the Sheffield Tap.
This Saturday’s walk was predominantly inspired by the inconsistent nature of rural public transport. We’d planned to walk around the northern arm of Ladybower Reservoir, then on to Strines via Foulstone Moor.The latest online bus timetable for the 274, going from Sheffield to Castleton, via Yorkshire Bridge, suggested that the first bus of the day should arrive at Broomhill around 08:16. At 08:30, it still hadn’t arrived, so my friend Craig and I decided to shake off our reliance on the transport system, and instead walk out to Fox House and see how we felt from there.
Despite the disappointment at my new lens still not being in stock, this week we were back in the Hope Valley again, this time joined by my good friend Craig and his other half, Dom. The MWIS had us believe that, whilst it was going to be pretty windy and therefore cold up on the tops, (up to 60Mph gusts), the rain would have accordingly blown off by early morning and patches of sun might develop. Having acquired a misplaced trust in the MWIS forecast over the past few months, I figured that I’d leave home without any hard shell protection, going for a more insulative, Vapour-rise and Primaloft, combo instead. That was, I believe, somewhat of a schoolboy error.
We started off at Hope after getting the somewhat empty train from Sheffield, taking the path from Edale Road up towards the holiday homes at Twitchill Farm, (apparently they have an indoor heated swimming pool). The extent of the aforementioned wind became evident the moment we set eyes upon the bridleway, and the unanticipated rain, around the point at which we were reaching Win Hill summit, where it was blowing a bit of a ‘hoolie’! I almost lost one of my Cokin graduated ND filters, as the wind sent it flying, shuriken-like, through the air towards Craig’s head. Thankfully it missed, and was retrieved, safely, from the dying heather by Dom. Nice one!
This Saturday myself and a couple of friends, (Craig & James), set out to do the east, west and north edges of the Kinder Plateau, preceding what turned out to be, a longer-than-expected ‘bogtrot’ over Brown Knoll towards Castleton. As Craig’s GPS-capable watch again gave up the ghost, this time as we reached Castleton, the following vaguely-accurate, hand-drawn route from Wikiloc will have to suffice for now. This weekend’s report is a short one and with fewer pictures than usual, as most of the route was covered here a couple of weeks ago.
Well, this Saturday’s walk began in Hathersage, mainly as I needed to visit the well-known and well-appreciated Outside shop for a pair of after-market insoles, (whilst my better half Sarah and good friend Craig stocked up on lunch and coffee). I’d been interested in getting a pair of Sorbothane Double Strikes due to some impact-derived pain in my metatarsals, (balls of my feet), that I picked up on last weeks epic, however no-one seems to be stocking them any more! Anyhow, I tried a pair of the Full Strike insoles from the same brand, and also a pair from Sidas. Whilst the Sorbothanes possess a lower volume and seem highly innovative, there was pressure on my heel from the heel pad, and though I may have gotten used to this over time, I decided against them for the short-term gain that the Sidas might provide. With hindsight, believing that they would prevent the pain outright on the first day of wear was probably wishful thinking, they definitely helped decrease the cumulative effects, but I still ended the day with my feet feeling a bit battered. Hopefully over time I’ll see more of a benefit but as always, we shall see.
As the crow flies, Ladybower and Edale aren’t that distant, perhaps 7/8 miles apart. There are however, plenty of ways in which an individual might be creative in terms of a route by which to get there. A favourite of mine is from the Ladybower Inn, round the western side of the reservoir, then up to Roman Road. From there, on to Jagger’s Clough, a mild scramble onto the Kinder plateau, then follow the southern edge to Ringing Roger, where I descend into Edale. This route is well balanced and fulfilling, with varying landscapes and natural features, from the reservoir and woodlands around Ladybower, to the gritstone and scrubby bogs of the Kinder plateau.
This week, being by myself, I thought I’d try for something a little different, settling on attempting this route the long way round. Instead of heading up Jagger’s Clough, I left the Roman Road bridleway a little further north, heading up to the plateau via Crookstone Knoll, where there are some nice views out to Mam Tor should the weather allow it. From here I followed the plateau edges on its northern side, following Blackden Edge, Seal Edge, then The Edge past the dinner plate rock formations at Fairbrook Naze. With the edges down, I rejoined the Pennine Way at the north-west corner of the Kinder plateau, from where I followed the western edge of Kinder, past the almost stagnant Downfall and then Kinder Low, on to Jacob’s Ladder, from where I descended into Edale. The original plan had been to head out to Castleton, via Brown Knoll and Rushup Edge where I would meet a friend of mine in the lovely Olde Nags Head pub however, it was already around 18:00 by the time I reached Jacob’s Ladder, so I decided against it. The views from the Downfall area were pretty awesome, looking out past the reservoir, out towards New Mills and Stockport, possible only due to the somewhat contradictory and non-inclement weather. My measurements make this route around 30 Km/19 miles, a significant increase on ‘southern’ route. Not only is the route longer, but for those used to the Hope Valley, this walk takes on a different character, with long, sweeping descents into the Ashop and Blackden moors, ghyll-like brooks and the distant horizon. This being Kinder the terrain is well, a mixed bag really. Boggy in parts, then hard-packed and uneven in others. It was getting to the point where I’d have preferred neither underfoot, (especially after re-joining the PW), each contrasting surface contributing to the ever increasing discomfort in my lower limbs, (oh for cushioning insoles…I am adamant I will get some before my next walk). Anyhow, this is a small price to pay for the privilege of having such views, which for most of the day, I had pretty much to myself. I must have seen maybe, two groups of people and a runner. I guess the sheer length of this route is off-putting for most, though inadvertently, I couldn’t have picked a better day. And now for photos:
People photograph what they find interesting. What is interesting is often heavily subjective, and I find that such motivations are driven by both, experience and circumstance, much like our personalities and behaviours. As such, being a scientist who yearns for the outdoors and is obsessed with detail, it makes sense that I am interested in the photography of both landscapes and ‘macro’ entities, or more specifically, surface features. Specialist photography however, comes at a price. My camera, a Canon 500D, was bought for around £700, complete with two basic lenses that would suffice for anyone starting out in the world of dSLR photography. There comes a point when some individuals desire to take more than the casual photograph at various social occasions. And for that person, to some extent, the subsequent path to technical and artistic progression is blocked by the requirement for another large-scale investment, or two.
I myself am at this particular stage, and am both, ruing the day that I decided against getting a single, all-round lens of a better quality instead of the two cheaper products that I have, and also despairing at the fact that I must now fork out at least another £600-700. For the forseeable future this is pretty much impossible, and thus, I have sought after temporary quick fixes, of which there are a few!
Firstly, we have a DIY macro lens hack, that I found on everyone’s favourite DIY instructions site, Instructables.com:
I slightly modified this design for my own phone and available materials, but to tell the truth, despite some limitations, (available light and the fixed focal distance and zoom), I’ve managed some interesting photos which I will post shortly.
Another tip, again from Instructables.com, is to use a technique called Reverse Lens Macro. This entails using a lens coupling ring, which screws on to one lens thread, allowing you to affix another lens in serial. You have to be a little careful with this technique, as the rear element of the front-mounted lens is exposed to the air. As such, I have had little opportunity, (or courage!), to use this to any real benefit as of yet. Anyhow, the following two links have some good instructions on how to do this:
And now for some photos!: