We caught a bus out to Cutthroat Bridge on the A57. From there it's a long, steady climb up to Derwent Edge. Once you reach the top you're rewarded with dramatic views across the Derwent Valley and the hills beyond. Yesterday it was a little too breezy to stand around admiring the scenery, but here's a picture I took a few years ago in more temperate conditions.
Scattered along Derwent Edge are a number unusual rock formations, with curious names like the Salt Cellar, the Cakes of Bread and the Dove Stone. They are gritstone tors, similar to the granite tors of Dartmoor. Some of them have Victorian graffiti carved into their surfaces.
We followed the path along Derwent Edge for a couple of miles, then turned off just before Back Tor. As we dropped down on to the track known as Foulstone Road, the wind dropped and the skies cleared. It felt like spring again! We spotted about a dozen mountain hares, their coats midway between winter white and summer brown. Sadly, they were too far away to get a decent photo.
We made our way down through the woods and along the road to Brogging End, near Strines Reservoir. This is the home of the roughest, toughest chickens in the whole of the Pennines. They range freely through the forestry plantation, looking not unlike their junglefowl ancestors.
As we passed by yesterday, most of the hens were enjoying an afternoon dust-bath whilst the cockerel stood guard, preening himself in a shaft of sunlight.
Lower down the valley, towards Dale Dike, the fields were full of sheep with new-born lambs. We stopped to watch as the youngsters gambolled about on wobbly legs.
As we walked along the lane to Low Bradfield to catch the bus home, we spotted the first swallow of the year. Summer won't be long now!