Day 11 Fenny Bentley to Waterfall (11.1 miles)
Duly refreshed and suitably fed I left the Bentley Brook inn in Fenny Bentley. The day was going to be shorter than recent ones so I had a slightly later breakfast than usual and proposed to have a more leisurely hike. My objective today Waterfall, another curious name for a village I thought as I trundled along towards the attractive moorland village, not far from Ashbourne. Its size and isolation meant I needed to stay off trail in the Colourmill B & B in Winkhill so contacted the owners to arrange collection before setting off. The day was another glorious one, crisp but sunny and the garb chosen was silly sun hat and sun specs. Just for clarity I am not a pervert and wore other suitable clothing too. I rejoined my route after a few minutes walk from the Brook at the local church and then headed up for a brief spell on a National cycle route the Tissington trail formerly route of a light railway. The route soon took me through the pretty village of Thorpe which was dominated by the curious pyramid shaped peak above it as shown in the first photo. Much of the route though was over grassy valleys but the peaks were always a presence.
Thorpe was a very pleasant quiet village with a lovely church, St Lawrence. It seemed a good place to rest a while and vanity demanded I take a 'selfie' while doing so. I think I'm getting pretty good with the old self timer...or maybe not.
Now a feature of the day was the fact I had time to dawdle a bit. My lift was due at the Red Lion at 3.15 and I hoped before then to arrive for a late lunch. For the early part of the day there was little doubt I would achieve this and indeed I had time to sit on the bridge between Derbyshire and Staffordshire and make a leisurely cup of tea under the blossom. I thought there could be few nicer places in Britain to have a brew than on that bridge.
It being April a feature of any walk in the country is going to be the presence of new lambs. On the walk I have seen many and indeed one ewe giving birth. What I have noticed is that lambs from different mothers often play together, a sort of nursery for the younger 'wooly people'. I took photo of a little group 'giving mum a rest'.
The route took me around the contours of a hill and finally down to a pretty stream that accompanied me to attractive Ilam where I encountered tourists. A focus of their interest was the village Eleanor style cross and the wonderful hall both of which my route passed. The tall monument by the bridge I crossed is in memory of Mary Watts Russell wife of a former wealthy owner of Ilam estate who built it in the style of those crosses built in the reign of Edward 1.
Ilam hall which I passed is a truly wonderful edifice now run by the National Trust. I went round it along a river walk known as the Paradise walk. After crossing the river the climb was extremely steep through sheep meadows rising to 900 feet and extremely exhausting. True Mr. Scott huffed and puffed but the views from the heights were, as always worth it.The ascent then continued more gradually to High Musden pasture before a gradual descent to a level path zig zagging down one side of the Manifold valley.
The final hour was simple valley navigation to arrive at the hamlet of Waterfall at 2.35pm in time for two super pints and a light lunch as I was aware there would be no opportunity for an evening meal in my isolated overnight stay. Literally as I was about to get up to wait outside for my lift my host came in and took me there to his converted former paint manufacture site from the 19th century. I had a pleasant and restful Saturday night in the mill which in addition to a nice room and shower had sole use of a lovely lounge.