I Saw Three Ships (15/05/2011)
Distance: 20 miles
Time: 7 hours.
At Trafalgar, Admiral Collingwood’s flagship, HMS Royal Sovereign, was in action so quickly that I’m surprised that Nelson did not fly a second signal, ‘Slow down Collingwood, leave some prizes for the rest of us.’ Collingwood blasted several enemy ships before being joined by the second ship in action, HMS Bellisle.
On Birchin Edge they got things a little wrong; they have misspelt the Royal Sovereign's name. Also named on the three great boulders are, of course, HMS Victory and HMS Defiance (Capt Durham. Took the Aigle), a ‘74’ that also fought in the Battle of Copenhagen, as well as a monument to Admiral Nelson. Two miles away the Duke of Wellington got a more splendid monument. So much for the Napoleonic wars.
(P.S. Has anyone read the book 1,001 ways of annoying the French?!)
On Sunday morning, wondering what sort of turnout I was going to get, I was delighted to find the road in Calver fully parked up. Ten fresh and keen people, none of them French (fortunately) all ready for off. Please do not ask me to remember all their names, that would require a memory. Now who am I, oh yes, the prologue walk. Actually there should have been eleven of us. John, can you get your watch right, the walk started at 08:30 not 09:30.
From Calver we headed over the hills to Rowland. After a short stretch on the Monsal trail we enjoyed the fine traverse of the Carlton Pastures. Manners Wood, containing lovely displays of Bluebells, a delight of the walk, took us to Rowsley. Crossing the Derwent, Rowsley wood carried us upwards past massive, moss encrusted, boulder falls in Smeltingmill Brook. Crossing pastures we ascended Beeley and Hell Bank plantations on concession paths. Another concession path took us across the Moors to Hob Hursts House, not so much a house as a prehistoric burial mound. It made a fine lunch stop. We traversed Gibbet Moor, said hello to Robin Hood and ascended Birchen Edge there to find Admiral Nelson and his fleet. I’m not so sure that it is quite right to use the Nelson monument as a climbing belay. A couple of miles saw us by the Wellington monument, followed by a traverse of Baslow Edge. From here it is an easy descent back to Calver.
Everyone said they enjoyed the walk, I found it a pleasure to lead them.Duncan