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Monday, 18 June 2012

5 Wells Chambered Cairn and Illy Willy Water

View from inside 5 Wells 
When we saw the giant words England on the hillside above Chelmorton last week we thought we have got to go and have a closer look.
We parked at the base of Chelmorton Low and followed a footpath for a short while and after consulting the maps we realised there were no official footpaths to the top so we just started going up. Over a short distance we climbed over 250 feet, pretty hard going for us old uns.
Ike & Geoff on the hill with me & Rob in shadow.
Ike & Geoff
Rob gives an idea of the slope on the hill
This is supposed to be summer.
View of Chelmorton

This view shows the field system around Chelmorton
Look at the beak on that Curlew.
After the climb to the top of Chelmorton Low we decided to have a look at 5 Wells Chambered Cairn which is only about 3/4 mile away.
From the Neolithic period circa 4500BC to 2000BC, 5 Wells Chambered Cairn would have originally been covered with a mound but this stone was recycled by wall builders about 200 years ago. Local man Thomas Bateman excavated it in 1846, he discovered human bones (both sexes) and a flint arrow head. Other finds were discovered later by different people.

Me inside the East chamber

I had a bit of trouble coming out of the chamber (my bag got stuck!!!)
After a lot of pics around the chamber we started back towards the track to Chelmorton.

Leaving the cairn
Geoff with his eyes in up mode

Sign to Chelmorton

You can just make out the Chelmorton church spire above the trees.
This is the source of Illy Willy Water which supplied Chelmorton in the past.
Chelmorton claims to be England's highest parish at 1209 feet above sea level and the highest village in Derbyshire. The church is the highest church with a spire in England.
The inn has been here since 1742 when a certain George Holme opened it as an alehouse called the 'Blacksmith's Arms', but it was renamed the 'Church Inn' in 1884.

A view of St Johns Church in Chelmorton
Chelmorton is still a farming community 

The primitive Hall built in 1874

England on the side of Chelmorton Low.
This walk was only 3 miles but with a climb of over 250 feet to the top of Chelmorton Low it gave us some fantastic views. The weather looked a bit grim at the start with low cloud on the distant hills, it was bitterly cold on the top with a strong wind. By the time we got to the 5 Wells Cairn it was starting to get a bit better with the sun showing through.
I'll be missing next week but be back the week after.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Return to Thirst House Cave

Cave in Bull hay Dale
After missing a week because of the inclement weather we embarked on a 5 dale marathon. We started on the footpath into Bull hay Dale where we found yet another huge natural cave which has signs of past mine workings. The walking at this point was on a nice flat grassy surface.
Rob & Ike at the Bull hay Dale Cave entrance.

Bull hay Dale
From Bull hay Dale the track took us into Horseshoe Dale and then onto Deepdale (North). Some of the track through here is very hard going. The surface is not only uneven but the rocks are hidden under the grass and you have to carefully watch you you put your feet. I have referred in the past to this area as ankle breakers and this week was worse than the last time we came.
Priests way in Horseshoe Dale
Definitely not a couple of priests!!!!
Plenty of wild flowers
Entrance into Deep Dale (North)
Geoff scrambling across the rough terrain

After battling our way through deep Dale we eventually got to Thirst House Cave. We came equipped with torches this time so we could have a proper look around inside.
There was a couple of surprises for us the first was shining in the darkness on the cave floor just about 40 feet in was a 10p piece. We ventured right to the back of the first chamber, the floor was all over the place, up, down and holes, the torch had to be pointing down to see where your feet were going. At the back the floor drops away very quick into a second chamber, rob & Ike went in, Rob first and we heard the shout "there's bats in here". he had caught one in his torch beam and watched in go into a small hole in the face of the cave. He just took a pic in the general area where he saw it (its pitch black in there) and got a brill pic.
The third surprise was a small sculpture showing 2 figures perched on a crack in the wall. They were only a couple of inches high and you had to shine a torch directly at them for them to be seen. It was only luck we spotted these.
Ike about to go into the second chamber

Rob & Ike emerging from the second chamber
This shows the scale of the cave.

These small figures were perched on a ledge in the first chamber

Bat in the second chamber
Geoff & myself 
Entrance to Thirst House Cave
Out of the Bat Cave
 After coming out of Thirst House Cave we walked back the way we had come towards Back Dale.
We stopped for breakfast at the junction of 3 dales, Deep Dale, Horseshoe Dale and Back Dale. After our breakfast stop we headed down Back Dale. This was a nice flat surface to walk on and once again this dale is full of birds and wild flowers.
Breakfast stop at the junction of Horseshoe Dale and Back Dale.

Even the flies cant resist the Orchids.
Geoff, Rob & Ike lost amongst the Cow Parsley
Me & Geoff in the Cow Parsley
Looking back into Brierlow Dale.
Flies everywhere even on the Daisy's
 Back Dale leads onto Brierlow Dale and this track ends up at the bookshop in Brierlow Bar on the A515, from here we walked down the road until we reached the car.
On the way along the road we spotted next weeks target. On the side of the hill above Chelmorton in letters about 15 feet high is the word "ENGLAND"
The cave in Bull Hay Dale in the foreground with ENGLAND  on the hill behind.
England in huge letters on the hillside.
For me this week the highlight couldn't be caught in the camera, i wasn't quick enough to capture the fantastic spectacle of a vixen with several quite large fox cubs running up the hillside quite close to us. The colour of these animals was a rich reddy brown and they just took us by surprise. A truly stunning sight.
Roll on next week and if the weather is clear enough we'll be on top of ENGLAND.