Since I ran the London Marathon 20 years ago (I use the term 'ran' loosely), I've really grown to enjoy walking.
A Walk to Eagle Stone
I'm semi-retired and living in Derbyshire, which is in the East Midlands of England and home to the beautiful Peak District National Park. I think my county gets overlooked, as everyone talks about the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, but I think Derbyshire is just as beautiful. I have lived here all of my life and have visited the Peak District many times.
My brother suggested we have a nice, gentle walk to Eagle Stone at Baslow Edge in Derbyshire. Baslow is near Chatsworth Park, which is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Eagle Stone is a 6-metre block of gritstone. We live 20 minutes away, so it wasn't too far.
The weather was fine but a bit blustery. We parked in the free car park not too far from Eagle Rock. We couldn't find the ticket machine to pay for parking. It used to be there but has now disappeared. We aren't used to parking for free. Anyway, it was a good start to the day. Everyone loves a freebie!
We could see Eagle Stone from the car park. I have no sense of direction, so having a massive rock showing me the way is extremely helpful. Even I couldn't miss it.
We walked up the well-used footpath. My brother doesn't enjoy walking as much as I do. He has to have a reason to walk. In this case, he was hoping to see the Highland cattle. Approximately 40 years ago, a local farmer purchased a herd of Highland Cattle that still roams Baslow Edge today. Unfortunately, we didn't spot the herd, and only their cow sh*t was visible. I'd be terrible at being a tracker. After spotting the second cow pat I couldn't find any more, so lost track of the cows.
A Test of Masculinity in Olden Times
It didn't take us long to get to the stone. It was quite impressive standing there on its own. According to local folklore, in years gone by, the young men of Baslow had to prove their masculinity and fitness for marriage by climbing to the top. Knowing that amused me no end. You still see the odd person trying (and sometimes succeeding) in getting to the top. It looks harder to get down. I decided to stay on terra firma as I have no head for heights.
Wellington's Monument on Baslow Edge
After a bit of a photo session at the stone, we carried on to see Wellington’s Monument. I've never actually seen it before, even though it's been there for years. It is dedicated to the Duke of Wellington and was put there by a local man, Dr Wrench.
Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, is best remembered for his victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in 1815. The monument is about 10 feet high and is quite imposing. I could just make the inscription out.
BORN 1769 WELLINGTON DIED 1852
ERECTED 1866 BY E. M. WRENCH
LATE [3-7?] REGT
After having a bite to eat, we then did a circular walk going back to the very edge of the rocks. There are some fantastic views of Curbar down into the dales. In the summer, the moors will be covered in a lovely, purple carpet of heather. It might not be as boggy in parts either. Sometimes your wellies get sucked off your feet!
We didn't spot much wildlife but heard a few curlew with their distinctive sound. We also spotted skylarks high up in the sky. Skylarks remind me of my childhood. My dad and brother used to point them out to me in the sky, singing and hovering over their nest on the ground.
It was a nice, flat walk. Depending on your abilities, you can choose a short walk or go further afield. The area appears to be shared between walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Well, that's who went past me on the footpath. It seems to be a popular area without being overcrowded.
There is also a monument to Admiral Nelson in the area. I will look for that when I return in the summer, along with the lovely, purple heather.
I Love Walking (Just Not Uphill)
Since I ran the London Marathon about 20 years ago (I use the term 'ran' loosely), I have really grown to love exercising—more walking than running though. I've carried on since then. I don't go for miles and miles, but ideally, I enjoy four- to six-mile walks, avoiding hills at all cost. For some reason, I forget to breathe when walking uphill and end up with a bad headache.
I love the physical and mental health benefits when you take up some sort of exercise, especially when we've been confined to our local area for a year with the Covid 19 situation. It's really beneficial to get out and be at one with nature. Some people turn to drink or cigarettes when stressed but I go walking. Oh ... and eating chocolate! Thankfully, I don't get stressed very often.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Julie Ripley