A hike through the Dove Valley

The view west from High Wheeldon

A week ago today my wife kindly dropped me off in the White Peak of Staffordshire where I then set off and made my way north to The Roaches over several days – and despite the odd day of poor weather it turned out to be a cracking trip.

Apart from having a good crack with the locals in pubs along my route and taking in the scenic sights of the area I also enjoyed a two night stay at Wheeldon Trees Farm. The owners kindly offered me a bed for the night to help me complete some video work they’ve commissioned me to do for them. Their hospitality and kindness was really quite overwhelming – they make truly great hosts if you ever consider spending some holiday time there.

I even managed to head out one evening using one of their electric cycles (as part of the Peaks cycle network facility) to the Pack Horse Inn in Crowdecote! I have to admit they do feel a little weird to ride but they aint half fun too! But it helped me make a speedy round trip to one of my favourite Peakland pubs. If you’ve not been – do make the time to do so.

It’s set amongst some of the finest scenery you’ll find with superb views of the western moors along with the distinctive Chrome and Parkhouse hills. The locals are friendly and welcoming (there’s some real ‘characters’ that  pub) and the real ale range and condition is superb. Mick and Sharon the licensees (and outsiders from ‘darn sarf’) have done a fantastic job of transforming this often overlooked public house in to one where people from miles around come to visit.

This trip also formed the beginnings of me working on a commission for Staffordshire County Council in helping to promote the Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District – a project I’m really excited to be working on and hope to complete by mid-March.

Anyway, as for the trip in detail? I’ll let the pictures do the talking….

Sunday night was spent in a favourite (and handy spot) up above the delightful Dovedale. Unfortunately the weather
was a bit grim so I wasn’t very productive work-wise. But I learnt to become familiar with Vango’s new Helium 100 tent.

The next day I wandered through Dovedale under dull skies and onwards to Wolfscote Dale. I’m hoping to finish a short
video of this wonderful limestone gorge soon.
After paying Hartington a visit I then went back on myself to spend the night up Wolfscote Hill. A fine peak that affords
excellent views of the lower and upper White Peak District.
The day finished with some superb visibility and made for a fine reward after a hard days walking, backtracking and
climbing around Wolfscote Dale.
Vango Helium 100 – a solo shelter that really is rather roomy on the inside. Porch is small though.
The winds had picked up later in the evening and were really quite biting. Here’s a pic of the trig point on
Wolfscote Hill. Quite a few times I’ve been here now.
Even the moon decided to come out at one point. No need for the head torch now. Moonlight and frost/snow laden
ground makes for a wonderful black and white world on the naked eye.
Looking north from the summit to the central area of the White Peak.

The next day was miserable. So, no photos for that. However, the following few days were quite simply superb.
After filming at Wheeldon Trees Farm for the day on Wednesday, I took the time to enjoy the sights from the adjacent
High Wheeldon.
Later on, I nipped to the Pack Horse Inn in Crowdecote for the evening. The electric bike I arrived on made for many
laughs and conversation with the locals on this bitterly cold evening (picture taken on mobile phone).
This blurred image is likely a mark of my over all condition after leaving the pub! It’s the electric bikes control panel.
It really was fun riding on one – though the cold smell of cow manure in the air and owls screaching overhead made the
journey back interesting to say the least – never mind black ice on the lanes.
The next day I made my way via Buxton on the bus to Upper Hulme where I got off to explore and film The Roaches.
The afternoon was overcast but things did improve again eventually. Here is a scene of the Roaches at night.
I spent a cold night in the tent by Doxey Pool. A nice spot that gives some of the best views of this fine area.
The Vango Helium had really impressed me on this trip.
I had hoped to capture such scenes as this under clear skies – alas the cloud didn’t clear until 3am. The light pollution
from the nearby town of Leek makes the sky almost appear as if it’s sunset, no?
Pretty much the same scene but not long before dawn the following day.
You’ll notice a slight sag in the tent in this photo. It’s not meant to be like this. I had problems inserting pegs into the
frozen ground and it made for hard work erecting the shelter.
It really was turning into a wonderful day to be outdoors. But alas my wife was en route to collect me and head home later
in the morning.
Camp with much of my crap scattered about before packing up and heading back down.
I’ve been commissioned by Staffordshire County Council to produce a video showcasing the Staffordshire Moorlands –
hence an explanation to the keen eyed as to why I was back so soon on The Roaches. A project I’m really looking forward
to completing!
And so as the sun rose ever higher – it was time for me to leave and head back home. Another pleasant trip in Peakland.
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