Peak District Drive Time Journeys - 15th May

Added on by valerie dalling.

Luck on my side.

There will no doubt be a few guys in shorts from Derby wearing their lucky pants and kissing the hallowed turf this weekend, but what does this have to do with my blog you might ask?

Well it got me thinking that like the footballers I also seem to have started a ritual when I’m off on my Peak District travels. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to wear lucky pants, I do have a favourite cd which I play constantly on my journeys. I like to think I have a fairly eclectic taste in music, anything from soul and motown, to r & b, rock and jazz but for this project it’s got to be The Killers every time.

So with the music playing I head off.

As you know, I’m never sure which direction I will be going in, making this project what it’s about, journeys of discovery, mystery trips, but then it’s so much more fun that way.

I was working in Belper during the morning so my Drive Time really started from there, taking me firstly towards the stormy skies of Beeley. I had never actually headed up through the village before, having only got as far as The Devonshire Arms on walks in the past. Oh dear, I will try not to turn this project into a guide to Peak District hostelries, as of course I’m driving, but let’s be honest there are some great pubs in Derbyshire.

Anyway my little car steadily chugged up the hill with a few stops on the way. The trees on this stretch of road were magnificent, and with the dramatic light provided quite a few photo opportunities for me from little copses and dense woodland where the light was playing hide and seek, to more isolated trees highlighted by the deep colours in the sky. When I got out the car to photograph this tree which had caught my eye, I was also treated to the sound of my first cuckoo of the day, an elusive bird and yet with a call that is simply quite wonderful to hear.

Turning the corner at the top of the hill I found myself in the middle of a very surreal landscape. A follower suggested “all that’s needed is a lion or two and you would think it was the Serengeti” I liked his thinking!

Beeley Moor is quite something and I spent a while here, taking a walk and enjoying this strangely beautiful environment. Time was passing, so I headed back along the same stretch of road, as sometimes it’s good to see the same landscape from the opposite direction.

This turned out to be a good plan, because otherwise I wouldn’t have met Pete the Argentine tango dancer, come harmonica and accordion player at Hell Bank Corner. He was quite a character, with a few stories I managed to tease out of him. If you’re lucky you might actually catch him hosting a quiz sometime in one of the local pubs. 

The stormy skies had disappeared by the time I reached Beeley village again, and the bright early evening sunlight was telling me to take a chance on that sunset I keep chasing, so after rather a pleasant drive through Chatsworth I decided to head over to Baslow.

It would seem I wasn’t the only one that had the same idea, but why was I on my own on Baslow Edge when Curbar was covered in tripods? I think Chesterfield Photographic Society had something to do with that.  Another good plan I thought, as I enjoyed my own peace and quiet watching the sun go down, save for the sound of more cuckoos, two this time calling to each other, it was lovely, A perfect end to a perfect day.

O blithe New-comer! I have heard,

I hear thee and rejoice.

O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,

Or but a wandering Voice?…

Extract from

To the Cuckoo by William Wordsworth