Well this is great news. Dark Peak Walks, published by Cicerone Press has been shortlisted for The Great Outdoors magazine 2017 award in the book category.
It has been a busy few days of late. A couple of call outs with MR, SARDA dog training, and preparation work for magazine articles and walks for the forthcoming books.
Sunday was a big day in a nice sort of way. A group of us went for a walk in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park, one from my book Dark Peak Walks.
Fourteen people and four dogs set out from Grindleford Station and walked up to Higger Tor, PB Walk 5 in the book, only we did it in reverse so that we could visit Padley Chapel on one of its rare open days.
Walking up Padley Gorge with the stream thundering below us was a wonderful experience. We came across a money tree, lost of these popping up across the Peak District now.
It was lovely to meet and talk with so many people interested in the Dark Peak and have a leisurely walk in the wonderful weather. Considering all the rain we have had the day was sunny and warm. The recent wet weather did work in our favour though with a marvellous display of heather across the moors. I cannot ever remember seeing the heather so vibrant in colour, huge great swathes of purple and pink stretching as far as the eye could see. It made for wonderful photo opportunities and great shots appearing on social media later.
I got a chance to show people things that are not in the book. Writing and publishing a book becomes a balancing act of what to put in and what to leave out. It is one of the reasons I started this blog, there is so much out there that is interesting in fields as diverse as human activity, wildlife, geology, cartography, history, anthropology, war, it is all there if you know how and where to look.
On Sunday we covered the provision of clean drinking water for the major cities surrounding the Peak District National Park and land ownership of the landed gentry on the Longshaw Estate. Then we moved on to World War II training grounds in the Burbage Valley along with the air raid defences around Sheffield near the Houndkirk Road. We visited the Iron Age hill fort at Carl Wark, packhorse routes across the Peak District and cartographic surveying by the Ordnance Survey on Higger Tor. We passed by the boundaries of Union Workhouses in the 19th century around Hathersage and Sheffield, sheep and crop enclosures on Hathersage moor. Setting of back to Grindleford we looked at millstone production at Bole Hill and discussed the changing fortunes of millstone production caused by the fashion for white bread. Saw the massive civil engineering on the quarry incline that transferred stone from Bole Hill to the Derwent Valley dam construction.
Finally the fate of catholic martyrs in the 16th century at Padley Chapel that we were able to visit and have a guided tour.
We walked and talked for six hours and it was an absolute delight. And to top it all people gave £40 in donations that will go to Glossop and Woodhead Mountain Rescue Teams, for which I am ever so grateful.
To everyone who came thank you so much for your on going interest and your support of Mountain Rescue. After this success, general agreement seemed to be for another walk perhaps in winter, when we have had a good dusting of snow.
This is perverse I know, but believe me when I say there are people out there in the Dark Peak who will like nothing better.
As we have had some rain lately the moors of the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park will be wet, perhaps even boggy, maybe if luck is in, up to the thigh in deep clawing peat bog boggy. The bogtrotters will be in their heaven.
If you want a really good mash then head out to Dove Stones over in the north west of the park. Ignore the dog walkers and ice cream lickers around the car park and disappear down the Bradbury Lane, noticing the Ordnance Survey benchmark on the wall and aim for Alphin Pike a short hop up on to the top.
Incredible views if the weather is playing the game. Follow the edge around, above the Chew Road, spot Dead Man’s Layby, then head out across to Ashway Gap.
You are on your own across this and don’t blame me if you lose a boot or one of those ballet slippers the fell runners wear. Just keep heading north. Cry if you want, no one is around to hear you. Pass the Platt memorial, the irony of a shooter getting shot.
Then DOWN Birchen Clough. I am supposed to let you know here, if you are scared you can go up, reverse the route. Me I loved the challenge of dropping down those two sections where decorum is lost, almost as good as trying to get out of a grough after a heavy storm. Look you take responsibility for you own actions, if it is too much for you then don’t do it. Stay in the car park with the ice cream lickers.
I love this bit after heavy rains. The water just thunders. Deafens the ears. Gets the blood pumping. Take your time and enjoy it. This is one of the best waterfalls in the whole Peak. This is the outdoors, not a bloody shopping mall. At the bottom, if you are lucky it will be deep, not that deep that you cannot cross with care, a bit of excitement. It has never been more than knee deep when I have done it. The best way is to avoid trying to keep yourself dry and just step firmly out, poles might be needed for stability, just enjoy it. For crying out loud when do you get to wade across a stream, a stream, not a river, in the Peak District.
After that it gets boring, a reservoir track, a slog back to base. Get yourself an ice cream, you are the only one there who has earned a lick.
I fully believe in adding value wherever I can. As a writer, I make my living by showing people something they may not be aware of, some interesting facts, beautiful walks, wonderful photos, being helpful wherever I can and generally spreading the message that outdoor walking is great, especially in the Peak District.
I earn money by selling my book and writing articles. I like to add value by being a little different. Anyone can sell something, but making that purchase special I think takes a different mindset. Lots of people have bought the book through our shop and that makes me feel a little emotional if I am honest. Being told that someone trusts the work is quite a powerful thing.
I sell my book Dark Peak Walks from our online shop at Wapentac. I know you can get it for less elsewhere. When you buy from me, you get more and hopefully that added value makes a difference. Whether it is the special gift wrapping the book now comes in, or collection on a rainy day in the Dark Peak, or some advice about a walk on Facebook or Twitter, or the general banter about walking in the Dark Peak, guidance on who best to go to for training, I think it all makes it unique. In the coming months I will add more to a purchase, to make it even more special. I hope this adds up to more than the sum of its parts, and that makes the pound or two extra worthwhile. If it does, thank you, really I mean that, because what you do helps me continue, and I very much want to do that, because I just love being involved in this community of walkers.