Eat five fruits and vegetables a day. That used to be the message from health-promoting government officials. Now there’s a message doing the rounds: limit your purchases of cucumbers and tomatoes. Great Britain is experiencing a shortage of fruit and vegetables. Europe is not, on the whole, struggling for green foods. The labour shortages on farms in the U.K. experienced since Britain exited the European Union, are being mirrored by asylum-seeking boat crews and filled seats. Unemployment rates in the U.K. remain high. Jackets and aid packages are being gathered and sent to earthquake-torn Syria and Turkey, whilst homelessness in the UK spirals into greater numbers. The U.K.’s economy is fragile, strike action is booming, and somewhere Shell, BP, Tesco, Rio Tinto, Legal & General, Unilever, HSBC Holdings, Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKilen etc are all doing really well. With the world being really stable, Shaun, Christina, Panda and I went for a wander.
The train journey duration from Manchester to the historic two platforms of Grindleford lasted just under an hour. Opened in 1894, the station bridged the lower reaches of Burbage Brook. The station close to Sheffield is just next to the 3.5-mile long (5.7km) Totley tunnel. Our path led from the toilet in the café, up the picturesque upper tributary stream. After a few hundred metres or yards (if you choose), we crossed a wooden bridge and ascended a pathway to a higher level. The deep narrow gauge of Padley Brook is completed by trees, mosses, and steep drops. All were avoided, thankfully. The rich, clean air, a welcome greeting, has left the air of Manchester behind. The temperate rainforest along this route are apparently the furthest inland of their kind, in Britain. Our route led uphill, with relatively unchallenging steps and climbs here or there.
At White Path Moss, a little further north of Toad’s Mouth, the moorland drains and forms the source of Burbage Brook. The gently flowing stream starts somewhere near Stanage Edge. On our walk we didn’t spot any water voles, but we did hear a variety of birdlife including the hawfinch and wood warbler. Nature perfectly cuts into the bleak moorland and offers veins of life amongst the scattered glacial stones and boulders. Dry wintery grasses jutted out from soggy soil and bogs. Walking boots were a cosy necessity.
Soon after crossing a road, stretching over the Burbage Brook once more, and ascending a slope we arrived at Carl Wark (370m/1214ft high). This rocky promontory juts out and on it are the remains of an Iron Age fort. The view from Higgor Tor (434m/1424ft) back to Carl Wark is impressive. You can really see Carl Wark as an island sat atop the sea of the moor. After scrambling through Higgor Tor, we moved onto the Stanage Edge (Stanage means ‘stone edge’). So we were on the edge of the stone’s edge. Popular with climbers, abseiling enthusiasts, walkers and artistic types we meandered a fair distance down the crinkly fragile crust prominence. We explored Robin Hood’s Cave and also crossed the Long Causeway down to Hathersage village for the train back. The famous crags and Panda, loose from his lead at times, make for heart-in-the-mouth opportunities. Luckily a well-behaved and heavier supervised dog could not be found. Panda behaved well when passing by St Michael’s Church and didn’t dig up the remains of the legendary 2.46m (8ft) Little John (Robin Hood’s buddy).
As we boarded the train, all shattered and hungry, I read about the Fat Boys Stanage Struggle and vowed to myself never to enter. The accent from Hathersage (91m/299ft) upwards is firmly not on my bucket list. More likely, a viewing of Pride & Prejudice filmed at parts of Stanage Edge. Perhaps, in the near future, we can wander up there again. The 13.5-mile (22km) route was most enjoyable in good company.