Land Cruisers on Tour in the Peak District

Posted by Mary Coles on 11 December 2023

Peak District 1

What’s all this?  A couple of tiady-looking males (albeit somewhat woolly) doing a skull-thumping head-to-head, with the aim of getting all the girls (also woolly).  A great slab of gritstone, known as the Eagle Stone, which the local young men had to climb prior to wedding the girl of their choice.  A cloud arch over the valley. Had we stepped onto the set of the latest David Attenborough production?  No, it’s just the HOEOCA Land Cruisers on tour.

Eleven of the stalwart members of this sub-set of HOEOCA, plus our faithful hound, Rune, who started walking under lockdown in the Covid pandemic, decided to ‘go large’ and took a trip to the Peak District, there to sample the delights of the Derwent valley.  After a delayed start due to traffic problems and dressed appropriately for the drizzle, we set off from Chatsworth House for a walk around the estate grounds.  The place was thronged with families desperately trying to keep their offspring entertained by spending a King’s ransom on entrance fees to the house (half term).  Rune, our pack leader, declined to wear his bright orange jump suit.  His expression suggested that he didn’t want to look like an escapee from a Hollywood prison caper, he’d rather be damp, thank you very much. 

A five mile walk in beautiful countryside took us to lunch in the parish church doorway of St Peter’s in the village of Edensor, built by the 4th Duke of Devonshire as he didn’t want the original location of the village to intrude on his view from the house. He’d obviously not heard of noblesse oblige.  Then back to the big house for tea, cake and some retail therapy.

Peak District 2

We were staying in Grindleford and enjoyed a pleasant evening in the convivial pub that was our home for the night.  An early start the next day with a much better weather forecast, although the day began very misty.  We walked from the pub through the village and up the opposite side of the valley on to Froggatt Edge, then turned towards Baslow.  The sun kept threatening to break through, but the clouds hung on tenaciously, forming an unusual looking cloud arch over the valley.  We continued to Curbar Edge, passing through a very placid herd of highland cattle, who wanted to own the path.  Some amongst us had a strong desire to pet the young cows, but the adults with their very pointy vicious-looking horns dissuaded them.  We assembled for our traditional group photograph by Eagle Stone.  This rock, according to local legend, had to be climbed before young men could marry.  Not easy, as this Youtube video shows:

We descended to the pretty village of Baslow, with the sun now shining and ate lunch in yet another churchyard.  The route home led along the valley of the River Derwent, when we encountered battling rams amongst a field of ewes.  The jousting contest of who had the stronger skull was followed by much barging and kicking.  The views up to the edge where we had walked earlier were stunning, or at least I think that’s what the rams said.

Peak District 3

We had two days of wonderful walks in a beautiful part of this country of ours.  Many thanks to Rhoda Simpson and Martin Woods for organising our little adventure.  Hopefully to be repeated in future years.

The HOEOCA Land Cruisers walk on the last Wednesday of each month, apart from December.  Our walks are normally 7 to 8 miles in length and range all over the West Midlands – and further afield occasionally!  If you'd like to receive our mailings, please contact Peter .

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