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Hartington Weekend - March 2017

There were 17 on the weekend, including 11 at Hartington Hall YH, 4 in B&B and 2 camping. The 17th century manor house was a great place to stay, located on the hillside overlooking the village.

On Friday we were joined by Debbie and walked as one party. Our original plan had been to catch the bus and walk back from Tissington but, due to a mix-up with the bus times, Ian led a superb circular walk from Hartington instead. The highlight in the morning was a steep climb to the top of Narrowdale Hill where we were rewarded with good views. After passing a remote camping barn, we reached Alstonefield where we stopped for lunch and drinks at The George pub, as well as to admire the dinosaur statue in a cottage garden. We also passed a statue of a bison kneeling down! In the afternoon we stopped to look round St Peter’s Church before a steep descent to Milldale valley. After a brief stop at a kiosk we followed the River Dove through the steep sided valley back to Hartington for a welcome tea stop.

In the evening, Chris and Martyn kept us entertained with interesting quizzes, including one with a walking theme and one based around Easter.

On Saturday Barbara led a great walk via Longnor. We were joined by 13 from the Northern group and walked as one large party of 30, which made passing through the numerous small stiles a challenge. It was good to 'catch-up' with everyone. In the morning we followed the Manifold Trail to Longnor for lunch. Barbara had conveniently arranged the seating outside a teashop in warm sunshine, so many of us took the opportunity to supplement our lunch. In the afternoon we returned via the upper Dove valley and Pilsbury Castle, an Iron Age fortification. We finished at our favourite tea shop in Hartington.

In the evening we enjoyed part 2 of Martyn’s Easter quiz followed by entertainment from Colin's Pictionary game with his super-duper new coloured buzzers!

On Sunday, being Easter, some 6 of us decided? that we would go to an Easter service at the local church in Hartington village. It was a bonus to do so in a 13th century church. The church and the people were welcoming and the vicar could be heard with ease. Another bonus was being able to see the bell ringing and we were all treated to a nice cup of tea and Easter cake after the service. Following this, Ian led a walk starting from Hulme End (terminus of the narrow gauge Leek and Manifold Light Railway, which closed in the 1930s). We ascended Ecton Hill to a preserved copper mine shaft and our lunch spot. Thence to Wetton for the obligatory teashop stop and, afterwards, down to the Manifold valley to return to the start via the track bed, now cycle track, of the aforementioned Light Railway. For the rest of the group, Mike led an 11 mile walk heading southwest via Banktop, Scaldersitch and Townend before crossing the river Manifold and on towards Warslow. We stopped at The Greyhound pub for a warm drink whilst listening to some fun 80’s music (!) before sheltering in the nearby church porch to eat our lunch. Martyn kindly shared his Fry’s chocolate bar with us and we reminisced over the taste! After lunch we descended to the Manifold valley and walked along the disused railway line to the Visitor Centre at Hulme End. As it was starting to rain we took shelter in the 'The Tea Junction' and enjoyed some tasty treats before returning to Hartington via Haysgate, Townend and Crakelow. A few of us popped into the church to have a look round before heading uphill to the hostel.

In the evening, we enjoyed quizzes from Dave and Martyn. On Monday morning we said our 'goodbyes' to those leaving early. For the remaining 9, Ian led a shorter walk from the hostel via Beresford Dale to Biggin. We stopped at The Waterloo pub after lunch for drinks before returning to Hartington via a field that had just been spread with muck! We cleaned our smelly boots as best we could back at the hostel before heading into the village to enjoy a final cuppa at our favourite tea shop.

Thanks to Ian for organising a fantastic Easter break, to all the walk leaders and to those who provided the evening entertainment for us to enjoy.

Greg, Eva and Aline