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Mar 01 2014

Walk 76 – Calved On Stone

Calved On Stone

route: ox stones from bents green
Date: 1st march 2014
distance: 7.9 miles
ascent: 1197 feet
time: 3 hrs 30 mins
walkers: abigail, chris, claire, dave, graham, jane, jill, leanne, marc, sandra, simon & steph

Two weeks earlier, the weather had been so bad that only three Badgers braved our walk from High Bradfield. Fast forward two weeks, the weather was set fair and the numbers were back up with 12 in attendance. Claire and Jill joined us for the first (and hopefully not only) time, Steph was trying out a walk in a National Park for the first time after a couple of sections of the Leeds Country Way. Those three, plus many of the familiar faces made up the team for this walk, a walk that had been extended due to our desire (maybe not the girls) to start/finish at a pub with Sky Sports. It was just before 8.30am when we met in the car park and readied ourselves for the off before using the slope outside the pub to line up in reverse height order… although some people clearly think they are taller than they are 🙂
img src=”http://www.theramblingbadgers.walkingplaces.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/76th-Walk-1.jpg” alt=”76th Walk 1″ width=”650″ height=”488″ class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-3820″ />76th Walk 2The first 5 – 10 minutes of this walk were extremely simple as we followed Ringinglow Road towards Ringinglow, funnily enough. A footpath sign appeared on our left which we ignored, choosing to take the bridleway which soon came into view. We followed a long tarmac lane which brought us to the edge of some school grounds before skirting them to the right and joining Coit Lane.<76th Walk 376th Walk 4 As the path headed gradually downhill it began to narrow and ahead of us we could see a farm come into view. The wall to our right sat on a grass banking which meant it was too high for everyone to see over, everyone apart from me that is. On the other side was a massive pig and I notified the others, most of who found a way to gain the height they needed to see over the wall.76th Walk 5At Whirlow Hall the path narrowed and we found ourselves in single file as we continued to descend towards the A625 near Whirlow. As the path levelled off we didn’t quite reach the road before we doubled back to take a path almost parallel to the one we used to descend. From here we began the long gradual climb up to the trig point and the Ox Stones.76th Walk 676th Walk 7The next 15 minutes were spent following the beck that runs through Limb Valley as the path continued to rise. The underfoot conditions were nice and easy and those who were new to this walking lark could be forgiven for thinking it was always this civilised. The sun was shining, it was impossible to get lost, the company was great and the conversations were both interesting and ridiculous in equal measure. At one point we passed some old stone steps but we couldn’t work out what purpose they used to serve during our short inspection from on high. From here we continued on a short way before pausing for a re-group to allow L’Autobus to catch up with the rest of us, the headed onwards, upwards and out of Limb Valley.76th Walk 876th Walk 976th Walk 10We had a quick map check as we left Limb Valley to make sure we were still on course. It isn’t often we take a wrong turn but it has been known in the past so it is always better to check if in doubt, especially when I know I won’t be flavour of the month from some quarters if we do extra distance (you know who you are) 😉 The Badgers made their way towards some houses ahead, as I stood guard over Leanne who needed to powder her nose behind a bush. The team waited for us by a stile on the other side of which was our original starting point, Ringinglow.76th Walk 1176th Walk 12My decision to inform everyone that this was the intended start point of the walk didn’t seem to go down well with some, Steph seemingly being the most distraught that all we had done to this point was an added bonus. I am sure L’Autobus had an opinion on the extra distance too, but they kept their thoughts to themselves. I won Steph over by telling her we were almost at the trig point and we set off for it following a track up the side of Lady Canning’s Plantation.76th Walk 1376th Walk 14The scenery transformed as we reached the high ground above Ringinglow, with the short green grass being replaced by brown heather as far as the eye could see. It was fair to say that it was beautiful on a day like this but in bad conditions it would be nasty up here. That wasn’t an issue today and people were unzipping jackets because it felt so warm. I checked my GPS for location of the trig and mentioned we would need to leave the track soon otherwise but we felt sure there would be some sort of walked path because of the popularity of the area. Sure enough there was a single file clearing through the heather which we followed for a hundred yards or so until we reached the Ox Stones.76th Walk 1576th Walk 16We spent a few minutes at the stones then reverted back to the usual procedure of visiting the trig and taking some pictures before we returned to the stones. It was here we took 15 minutes to chill out and take in the surroundings. Some had a snack whilst others took photographs, I decided to take Abigail up on top of the highest stone, not that she was awake to appreciate the view.76th Walk 1776th Walk 18With our time at the top over and Abigail still asleep, we headed off on the same path until a fork off to the left allowed us to save a few yards and angle back towards the track.76th Walk 19This track soon brought us out at Ringinglow Road, which we crossed and continued onwards on a footpath that would lead us to the most pointless fence ever. I am not sure it was a fence to be honest but we couldn’t work out what the need for it was. Most of us went around it, in fact all of us did apart from Jane who climbed over 🙂76th Walk 2076th Walk 21Our path went right and descended over lush green fields towards a big patch of boggy mess. The more experienced (or stupid) of us waded straight through, knowing that it wouldn’t do any harm and it would save the time and effort of finding a way around. Claire and Jill tried to follow the fence to avoid the deep stuff but I aren’t sure how successful it was. L’Autobus were the last to cross and chose to climb the fence and then the wall rather than entertain the squelchy mud.76th Walk 2276th Walk 23With the last few safely through/round/over the bog, we set about catching those who had carried on whilst the last few pondered their desired route. It wasn’t long before we could see ahead that the advanced party were waiting by an open gate and we were one large group once again.76th Walk 2476th Walk 25Yet another quick map check revealed that a short distance down the road we would find a footpath and indeed we did. This took us through Porter Clough above Porter Brook as the route continued to descend. Abigail who had woken shortly after leaving the Ox Stones was chuntering away to herself quite happily when we joined the path, but was asleep again by the time we reached Clough Lane. After a quick re-group at the top of Clough Lane Abigail had woken again but this time (and for the first time on any walk) she decided she wasn’t happy. She began to cry and scream and nothing would placate her, so we just walked as normal trying to ignore the noise. The more people tried to talk to her in an attempt to make her smile the more she cried. By this point I was walking faster to try and get back to the pub even though we had a good half hour or more.76th Walk 2676th Walk 27As we reached the bottom of Clough Lane Chris shouted that Abigail had pulled her hat off and thrown in on the floor, I turned to thank him for picking it up but noticed the silence. It seemed that the reason behind it was she didn’t want her hat on any more! Thankful for the peace and quiet I followed the road upwards with the rest of the Badgers in a line behind me. I was still determined to reach the pub as quickly as possible in case we had another outburst. I wasn’t sure if as she gets older and more independent she wants to be down rather than carried everywhere. If only she knew Leanne would happily swap and be carried along 🙂76th Walk 2876th Walk 29The short drag up was soon over and the road levelled for a short section as we passed a hay bale decked out as a turkey before it went upwards again. I could tell now that a few of the gang were wanting to get done so we didn’t waste time asking for opinions on which way to go back. We left the road for a short stint on a footpath before we came out next to Ringinglow Road and turned left to head for the pub. From here we were only 15 minutes away from the pub and a well-earned drink.76th Walk 30 With the walk over we changed and enjoyed a couple of drinks of varying strength depending on whether people were driving or not. With these drinks we order some lunch and watched the football too. It was the perfect end to a fantastic walk with great company. I know people often question why we get up early to drive miles just for a walk, but it isn’t just a walk, it is so much more than just a walk. Over the last four years I have seen so many wonderful things and discovered so much about myself because of our walks. For me they are what life is all about, doing something you enjoy, with people you like and sharing experiences that will last in the memory forever. If that is wrong, I don’t want to be right 🙂

Sir Edmund

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