2 Mar 2018

A Full Day of Exploring | Monsal Dale, Snake Pass and Stanage Edge

Last weekend I really felt the need to have a full day out exploring.

I'd been busy with work the weekend before, so was itching to get out and absorb as much of nature as I could.  It was cold and breezy, but bright sunshine and perfect for hiking.  Armed with a flask of peppermint tea and a picnic of sandwiches and salads, we first headed to Monsal Dale.
We parked at Monsal Head, which has an absolutely stunning view over Headstone Viaduct, the Monsal Trail and the River Wye. 

I've not been along the Monsal Trail, which was once a railway line and now a track for walkers and cyclists, since we got Doug a couple of years ago.  It is a lot of fun to cycle along as you pass through old railway tunnels and over amazing bridges like the viaduct.

We took the narrow, wooded path to the left down towards the very enthusiastic weir.  The spray coming off the water was a little ridiculous and the wind was whipping at my tripod, so the shots I took didn't turn out quite as planned!

I've walked along this area a few times before, but never at a time where it would be warm enough for a paddle or a dip.  Whilst the water is understandably higher than it would be in the summer, it did get me thinking about whether this would be a good spot for a swim in the warmer months.
As Doug ran alongside the edge of the water in search of ducks to bark at, we made our way through the valley and under the viaduct, before crossing a narrow bridge over the river.

On this side there is a beautiful farm with a stunning garden that I'm particularly envious of.  We said hello to a couple of horses and some rather friendly cows before heading back up the hill to car in search of our next location to explore.


Our next spot was the woods just off Snake Pass.  We've been up here a few times recently, but not when there's been no snow on the ground.  We followed the marked blue route through the trees and along the river, trying to avoid frozen puddles and thick mud.  Thick icicles hung from mossy banks where water running down the hillside had frozen solid.
The walk eventually crosses over to the other side of the river, where you climb further up the hillside and are greeted with views of the hills reaching above the treetops.  The sun was low in the sky by the time we got there and the hills were flooded with a rich, golden light.

By this point little Doug had grow rather tired, so we made our way back to the car once more to go off in search a great view for golden hour.
We decided as it was more or less en route home, that we'd stop off at Stanage Edge to watch the sunset.  We'd still got some of our picnic left, so parked up at the top and had some food and a much needed cup of tea. 

Despite being able to hear the wind battering the sides of the car, I got out to say hello to yet more cows (not as friendly this time) and to take some photos of the view.  Let me tell you, I'd forgotten quite how cold it can get up there.  It is so exposed and high up, that I couldn't stand being out of the warmth of the car for more than a few minutes.  Fortunately the view from inside was still pretty spectacular!
By this stage we were all feeling rather sleepy.  Doug had even given up trying to bark at the cows through the window and came and curled up in my lap for a snooze. 

We often only head out to one location because we don't want to over-walk Doug what with him only having little stumpy legs.  This type of day, with a few shorter stops was such a good idea.  It made the day feel much longer than normal and we got to see much more variety than we would normally.  A type of day that I would like to repeat again much more often!



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4 comments

  1. As always the photos are absolutely glorious. You are so lucky to live near such incredible natural beauty! xx

    Lynsey || One More Slice

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  2. Hi Anya, lovely....just like your instagram feed. Serene captures, isn't it fun to have a blog? Keep it up!

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    1. Thanks so much Nancy, glad you like it!

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