Saturday, 14 September 2013

Walking on the Edge: Hathersage. . .

While gazing anxiously at tomorrow's forecast (heavy rain, strong gales), it's a pleasure to look back on last week's walk near the pretty village of Hathersage in the northern bit of the Peak District.  The sun was out, there was a nice breeze and the length of the walk - thirteen miles - was just perfect.

I love nothing more than a good, long ridge walk where you can see the countryside for miles and miles in every direction. This walk is all about edges and outcrops, and after just a little bit of climbing, the views are constant and gorgeous as you wander through the landscape. This is my idea of walking bliss. We were heading for Stanage Edge, the longest gritstone edge in England. 

In addition to walkers, the area is very popular with rock climbers and paragliders. 

There are lovely paths that stretch the whole of the escarpment.

Old millstones that were crafted at their source decades ago have just been abandoned in the bracken but somehow suit their surroundings.

The heather was out everywhere - not quite as vibrant as it can be, but a beautiful sight regardless as we came down from Stanage and headed up towards Bamford Edge.

Where we caught this picturesque glimpse of the Ladybower Reservoir.

And of course the sheep were everywhere, hidden in all sorts of unexpected places.

We turned onto Bamford Edge and headed back towards Hathersage.

But there was one small literary treat in store. Unfortunately our route didn't take us right by it, but we saw it up above our path and I managed to get this shot with my zoom lens. This is North Lees Hall, built in the 16th century and said to be Charlotte Bronte's inspiration for Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre. Bronte stayed in Hathersage when she visited her friend Ellen Nussey, whose brother was the local vicar.  So it is very possible that we were walking on the very same paths that Bronte once trod while creating arguably one of the greatest works of literature ever written. Certainly one of my favourite novels. I felt quite tingly.

As an aside, the English landscape also inspires lots of knitting patterns, especially by Rowan. Autumn Knits, one of their latest fall pattern books features this flowing sweater which would look lovely in deep purples and greys. The name?  Hathersage of course. 

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