The walk along the dale was beautiful with the sparkling water to our left. The path starts as a very well constructed track but as we got deeper and deeper into the dale the track became more rugged and the feeling of walking in the bottom of a steep sided valley was more intense. There are caves on the way and one was explored by two of the younger group members!
To reach the head of the dale the route was really quite challenging for some of us and required care by all. Eventually we were at the top of the cliffs and began our walk back. The views were such a contrast to the earlier ones. These gave the wonderful feeling of expansiveness that is so precious to urban dwellers. It was a D of E weekend and it was great to see cheerful groups of young people out in the country side working together and enjoying themselves. Some of their map reading needed a bit more work though and one of our group gave a good piece of advice saying that if you thought you had to climb a wall with no stile you had gone wrong.
From here a well trodden path went through a farmyard where a Blue poster pointed the way to the various nearby places. The route then dropped back into the valley bottom and we walked somewhat slowly back to Over Haddon. Of course there was that slog up to the car park but there was the reward of the Garden tearooms with huge pieces of fantastic cake. A good walk with a few challenges and beautiful weather.
|Setting off up the Dale|
|The path follows the river for much of the walk|
|Enjoying a break by the waterfall|
|Caving in Derbyshire!|
|The path to the head of the Dale|
|All Routes thataway!|
|First of the summer flowers|
| Cowslips, early purple orchids and meadow saxifrages|
. The limestone grassland was full of them.