Hard Workin’ Man

LETJOG – Day 25: Friday 11 June – BUXTON to GLOSSOP (18 miles)

So goodbyes this morning, after breakfast, to friends Rick and Eleanor, before I set out for my walk a little later than usual, up the prolonged climb and over the hill behind Buxton, for a few miles along tracks and lanes, then eventually descending into Whaley Bridge.

I have some 50-year-old memories of this Derbyshire town, from a childhood family holiday, and although I have returned since, on business, I have failed to take in all the historical interest within the landscape and the fabric of the place. Alongside the River Goyt, first the Peak Forest Canal (in 1796) and then a branch of the Cromford and High Peak Railway (in 1831) were built, in parallel with an important highway (now the A5004), all together ensuring that Whaley Bridge became an important thoroughfare for commerce and trade as the Industrial Revolution gained pace. The amount of engineering work and building construction surviving today is astounding, especially when one considers the extensive man hours and the huge effort demanded in creating these transport arteries and in building the requisite urban infrastructure. The historic legacy gives the town a unique character and attraction, easily missed when passing through by car.

My path along the course of a former railway line through the heart of Whaley Bridge
This old stone-built building formed the trans-shipment point for horse-drawn tramway wagons, loaded with limestone from local quarries, that entered at the rear for transfer onto barges, enabling onward transportation. The canal terminates at this point, and there are now a number of nearby marinas housing narrowboats for living and leisure . . .
. . . making for some timeless and tranquil scenes

After a compelling three miles or so along the Canal, my route branched off at New Mills, climbing inexorably through the town, past New Mills Golf Club, and finally along a lane, before a final ascent up a farm track, then steeply over rough pasture to the Crown Edge ridge. From here, as the walk followed the ridge across grassland for two miles, some wonderful distant views of Manchester and the hills beyond opened-up, serving well to reassure me of my northward LETJOG progress over recent days.

Not a bad view from the ‘back nine’ of New Mills Golf Club . . .
. . . and the distant towers of Manchester shimmering in the afternoon haze

Presently another new vista appeared, this time northwards, of the hills and moors behind Glossop, as I finally descended the steep gradient to my destination for today.

Approaching Glossop in the late afternoon . . .
. . . for tea and Eccles cake in my Travelodge room (the building itself a converted former textile mill, making M&S knitwear on the first floor and underwear on the second floor)!

3 thoughts on “Hard Workin’ Man

  1. Hi Nick. Every day I’m amazed by (a) your progress – do you have a secret footpath recipe? (b) your never ending supply of good friends, (c) your energy to then write a really interesting blog and great photos. I’m sure it’s on your to-do list, but I hope this is all going into a book one day.

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  2. Obviously a book must come out of your adventure – think of the Salt Path…. So much is spoken about the slaves in the W Indies etc – but I have often thought of the sheer hard graft those working on the canals / the railways / bridges had to undergo and not much is said about them.

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