RAMBLERS: Walk leader Jack Frobisher celebrates 80th birthday

On the Bank Holiday Monday six ramblers joined Phil Baker for a circular walk starting from Wingerworth, passing through woods, with native bluebells in full bloom, to Alton enjoying views of Bolsover Castle, Hardwick Hall and the Churches of North Wingfield and Clay Cross before reaching Ashover Rock,(The Fabrick), to enjoy panoramic views whilst stopping for lunch prior to returning via Press to Wingerworth. The walkers were interested to discover that the Fabrick was once owned by the Basset sisters descendants of the family who created Liquorice Allsorts.

Six walkers joined David Selkirk for the strenuous Saturday walk on a challenging 18 mile route around the Dane Valley and Macclesfield Forest. Starting from the Cat and Fiddle Inn, they crossed Danebower Hollow and dropped down to follow the infant River Dane to the iconic Three Shires Head and Panniers Pool. The group met the river again at Gradbach Mill, climbing up to Roach End and walking along the ridge with panoramic views before descending to the river again at Danebridge and Wincle, busy with preparations for the annual village fete. The route continued to Wildboarclough, over Shutlingsloe, through Macclesfield Forest to Forest Chapel, down to the curiously named hamlet Bottom of the Oven, and finally up Chest Hollow back to the Cat and Fiddle.

David Blackburn was leader for the Saturday car walk when joined by 14 ramblers he set out for a walk in ‘Surprising South Yorkshire’. Starting from Elsecar Heritage Centre, the walkers viewed several of the Wentworth follies, including the Eye of the Needle, built as part of a wager and Hoober Stand, built to celebrate King George II’s victory over the Jacobites. The walkers marvelled at the great house of Wentworth Woodhouse whose frontage is the largest of any stately home in England, possibly even Europe, moving on to explore the village of Wentworth, including pretty Paradise Square and the two churches, before returning to Elsecar where ice creams proved very popular. Christa Pritchard had 16 ramblers join her for the circular short bus walk starting from Alfreton and covering Oakerthorpe, South Wingfield Church, where the group had lunch, then through Shaw Wood with bluebells still in evidence back tO Alfreton via the Golf Course - a walk of 5.5 miles.

Jack Frobisher led the Wednesday car walk with 23 Ramblers enjoying perfect walking weather and with Jack being ‘made’ to walk the whole route with five coloured balloons adorning his rucksack saying ‘Happy 80th’, interestingly enough Jack was the youngest of five octogenarians. The route was just short of eight miles, starting with a climb to Fabrick Rock the highest point in the area where extensive views were enjoyed and the history of the hill discussed. During the circular route around the hills surrounding Ashover the group visited Fallgate Mill, passing through Milltown and climbing to Overton Hall and on to Goss Hall, where in 1586 the occupant, Anthony Babington, incurred the wrath of Queen Elizabeth by conspiring to free Mary Queen of Scots and on 20 September 1586 he was convicted, hung, drawn and quartered. The route proceeded via Butts Quarry and Ashover church ending at the Old Poets Corner where Jack invited the Ramblers to join him for a drink to celebrate his 80th and he was presented with a bottle of his favourite single malt.

David Sanderson led the Wednesday long bus walk taking a circular route beginning at Eyam and traversing Darlton Quarry to ascend by Black Harry Lane to Blakedon Hollow. From there the group of 13 walked via Wardlow into Cressbrook Dale, then on to Foolow prior to returning to Eyam to catch public transport back to Chesterfield. Mel Hardy was leader for the Wednesday evening walk standing in for Joyce Denton when 18 members set out from the Birchen Edge car park in beautiful sunshine for an evening stroll taking in Birchen Edge and the Nelson Monument before crossing Bar Brook to ascend to the Wellington Monument to take in the wonderful views down the Derwent Valley towards Beeley. After a short dally among the colourful Highland cattle the group dropped down to cross the Owler Bar road then climbed to the end of Gardom’s Edge for more eye catching views over Baslow and Chatsworth Park. From here a short downhill stroll led to the Robin Hood for a well earned pint.

On Sunday, 13 lucky ramblers enjoyed a superb 13 mile walk ably led by Robert Kelly. Starting from Hathersage, the only serious climb of the day led them to Stanage Edge from where the group enjoyed stunning views of Win Hill and beyond. The walk then dropped down to Moscar Lodge and Yorkshire Bridge descending gradually below Ladybower Reservoir crossing the River Derwent over the scenic stepping stones at Bamford Mills. After crossing a golf course they stopped at Thorpe Farm for an unexpected but very welcome treat of locally made ice creams. An easy descent with views of North Lees Hall of Bronte fame took the group back to Hathersage.