Eyam 9/4/17, depart 10.01, weather superb, 10¾ miles.
Our diary correspondent missed my walk today (but I know there are always good reasons), so here is my own account.
This was based on one of the first walks I ever led in the Peak District, back in the late 70's, but with several modifications since then, and now reversed to a clockwise circuit, originally anti-clockwise, as I think the views are better this way round.
I did this walk for the group four years ago, on a day of extreme heat, when most (sensibly?) did not come. This time I achieved a 250% increase in attendance, despite several regulars missing, with 14 of us making the journey up to Eyam, including a few almost new participants. Plus the usual dog, of course.
This time, three months earlier in the year, it turned out to be another day of constant glorious sun, but now with a much more pleasant temperature, making it the absolutely perfect conditions for walking.
We set off from Eyam with an easy two miles across meadows to the small and attractive village of Foolow. Then it was on to the serious hill walking, turning to the North and a steep climb to the top of Eyam Edge. At the top, a wide vista of moors and hills appeared before us, a perfect setting for our morning coffee stop. Abney Grange was clearly visible ahead, but with a deep gully in the way, so a very step descent and another climb (a viaduct would have been useful here), but then we could do several miles of easy walking high up. Good tracks took us round Abney Moor and then on across Offerton Moor. On the latter we had our lunch stop, like a perfect Summer's day with a gentle breeze, a leisurely lunch, with a panorama of Hathersage and the River Derwent below and the edges behind, and watching the Sheffield/Manchester trains passing by. We descended to Offerton Hall, then past Highlow Hall and further down to and across Highlow Brook. Now, for a change, a short stretch through woods, passing below Bole Hill to Stoke Ford. Here we had the biggest climb of the day, initially alongside Bretton Brook, 700 feet of ascent onto Sir William Hill for a much needed afternoon drink break. Then downhill all the way (and it really was this time), to bring us out at Eyam Church.
Finally we walked through the village, always busy with visitors but especially on a day like today. Most of us stopped for tea/coffee, and in some cases cake, in the café next to Eyam Hall, before returning to our cars. My view is that cake is fully justifiable after 10.7 miles with a total ascent/descent of 2,137 feet.
As it was my own walk, I cannot of course say how good it was. But, for a fully independent appraisal, looking back at my archives I see that four years ago David is his report included the terms "a perfect walk on a perfect day" and "the views have blasted this walk to the top position on this year's top walk list"!! But the weather alone, which I did not actually organise, was enough to make this a memorable day, as well as the almost total absence of mud.
Thank you to everyone who came today, and especially to James in his role as photojournalist for the day.