Walk over Thorpe Cloud and Dovedale
We have visited the Dovedale Valley in Derbyshire on several occasions and previously have walked up through the Valley to Milldale Village, which is just over 3.5 miles in each direction. It is a relatively flat walk, with only a little hillock in the middle. There is the call of yummy fruit cake and tea at Milldale and the greater pull of scrummy ice-cream back at the Dovedale Car Park.
Inspired by my #walk1000miles challenge and a feature I found in Country Walking Magazine, Route Walk 27, July 2015, I decided I would tackle Thorpe Cloud, which majestically overlooks the Dovedale Valley.
Thorpe Cloude rises 287 m (nearly 1000 feet) in under a mile.
I was walking into a gale force wind, so this did not help.
Most of the climb is on a path, although somewhat faint in places, however the last 100 metres or so are a fairly steep scramble up over a rocky outcrop to the top.
I have found that I have struggled with walking uphill. My pace slows down and my calves really ache. It is almost as if I am walki9ng with my calves and not really using the rest of my muscles. I really struggled with this climb. My calves were burning and the pain seemed to shoot right up my legs. I tried to climb 10 steps at a time before I rested, but found it was down to 1 or 2 steps before each rest. I set myself little goals of getting to the next little rock before I rested.
Turning back was not an option, as I would never have lived that down! As the pain in my legs intensified, I also felt quite dizzy and felt like I was going to be sick. I kept reminding myself of the pleasure I would feel on completing it and sitting on the top of the rocky outcrop.
I have walked up hills and mountains before but I don’t think I have ever struggled as much as I did with this climb.
I was very glad to get to the top and to balance myself on the rocks, so I did not get blown away. I was very glad to sip my warm tea and to munch on some home-made flapjack (that my neighbour had kindly given me). Despite the wind, the views from the top were quite spectacular. I could see most of the Valley and was looking down on the famous stepping stones.
I walked down over the ridge to pick up the little path to take me down into the Valley itself.
I came out by the stepping stones.
I walked along the valley to Milldale, with a few stops for tea. I decided not to do the rest of the walk listed in the Country Walking Magazine as it involved a further climb up over the valley from Milldale and my legs were already aching from the ascent up Thorpe Cloud. Perhaps I will do that one another day when I am feeling a bit fitter.
I set off back along the path from Milldale towards the car park at Dovedale. There is usually an ice cream van there, so there was great draw for my little legs to pick up pace.
There were a couple of groups of school children in the valley and it was lovely to see children outside, having lessons in the sun and interacting with the environment in a very practical way. There was one quite large group, who were fishing at Milldale and then walked along the valley. It was wonderful to see children walking as part of their curriculum. They were a very well-behaved group of young people. They were polite and moved to one side to let me past.
As it was mid-week, there were very few people around and it was wonderfully easy to cross the stepping stones.
When I got back to Dovedale car park, the ice-cream van was there as expected and I enjoyed a large tub of two different flavours of ice-cream. They are huge scoops, so £3 was well worth it.
Although Dovedale Valley belongs to the National Trust, the car park is privately owned and is £3 to park for the whole day.
It was brilliant sunshine, with temperatures in the mid 20s C, so the layers of woolley hat and gloves, thick coat and jumper gradually all came off and made their way into my bag, although I was had been very glad of them on top of a very windswept Thorpe Cloud.
I had started out at around 9.30am and was back at the car by about 2pm, so it was a very enjoyable 6.5 mile round trip walk.
We visited Dovedale again on the following Sunday and this time I just walked along the Valley with Greg. I did not attempt Thorpe Cloud again as my legs were still aching from the first trip.
It is a lovely day out and well worth making the effort to get there.