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Walks & Talks – The Buxton Loop

Walks & Talks – The Buxton Loop


Weather : Fair & Hazy

An Early afternoon, and I arrive in the quietish town of Buxton on a Sunday morning to be reacquainted with old friend James for a stretch of the legs through the fine hills surrounding Buxton. The weather is fair & hazy, but no rain and relatively warm for this time of year. Buxton lies on the western plank of the White peak area, not far from the bigger settlements of Glossop, Macclesfield & Manchester. Saying that, Buxton is quite a thriving place, it hosts a university, an opera house & quite a pleasant park.

I take this walk as a great opportunity to test out my new bag, the Osprey Atmos 65 & also to wear my Scarpa Ranger GTX boots in a bit more.

The plan was… to leave Buxton southwards and head towards Chrome hill, also known as the Dragons Back and walk back to Buxton, doing a kind of loop. We did kind of stick to the plan, but it was made quite apparent our map & compass skills were in need of some serious fine tuning. We are both the kind of people who walk in a ‘as the crow flies’ fashion. Which basically means A to B is literally that. Regardless of what we have to cut across…. The steep gradient up a hill seems shorter, so in our heads, ‘oh ye, it must be quicker’ haha. Ye right…. What fools we are. Chuckle brothers spring to mind.

Looking West
Looking West From the edge of the 1st quarry… Lush

Anyhow, we head south of the town centre, out through beautiful English pasture land. Mmmm, green fields of short grass. A giant pillow for my body. No matter where I go in this world, all the marvels, wonders & devastation I have come across & witnessed, there is something about the rolling hills of England which touches the heart deeply, and security is felt in the simple knowing that, they are there. Blessed are those who trust in the land, but more simply…. blessed are those trust. Out of the hustle and bustle of this spa town, the silence is appreciated. We are on a footpath which takes us around the used and dis-used quarries of Buxton. It’s an odd walk, there is a heavy industrial feel to the surroundings of Buxton & quite a stench, which does make me wonder, how clean is Buxton water? It spur’s on great conversation discussing ecology. We make all this concrete, extract all this stone out of the land to build houses. Some would say, supply and demand. Expectations of how we are living, and what we need to live are firmly stamped into our society, and further questions arise, what do we really need? Clean Food & water, shelter? Is anything on top of that a bonus? Just some food for thought. However, as we gain some height, we start to see chrome hill and come across a farm called Stoop Farm. Quite funny, because we weren’t expecting to run into this farm and it happens to be my wedding venue when I got married in August 2014. Brings back memories for both of us, a love filled day for myself, and for James it was a Boo’s filled day…

Wedding Venue
Wedding Venue

We come to the decision that we don’t have the time to climb the Dragons Back today, but instead climb another nearby hill called Hollins Hill. As we scale this hill, all these thoughts & discussions, seem meaningless for now. The beauty and peace on top of this hill will not be disturbed. Once again silence is appreciated. From this peak, we can see what they call, Solomon’s temple in the distance. It sounds like something you’d come across in an Indiana Jones movie. It is a small tower, which is next to the Buxton country park.

The dragons back seen from Hollins Hill
The dragons back seen from Hollins Hill
Looking Northish from Hollins Hill
Looking Northish from Hollins Hill

Once again, we make pace, walking through some unusual surroundings and through some research lab bunkers? I think at this stage, James has a concern. He is concerned about my poor map & compass skills… especially as I will be walking 650 miles using a map and compass to guide me! Sly comments like, so will you be having a GPS device for emergencies, and will you be letting Louise (my wonderful wife) know where you are by the day. He has valid points actually, but the ego in me mummers ‘I know what I’m bloody doing’  haha. I wander if I’ll be saying that when I’m by the English Scottish borders with severely blistered feet, standing in the rain with a broken tent, drenched through eating a block of mouldy cheese dipped in hot pepper sauce for my evening meal.

deep in the Buxton hills there are cameras... ofcourse
deep in the Buxton hills there are cameras… ofcourse
....
….

A few miles later we arrive at Solomon’s temple, the view point is impressive. We take the time to relax here, and take in the view over Buxton. Hunger starts to strike, and James turns to me and says ‘what we doing for tea’? I’m quite confused by this question as it’s nearly dinner time & he’s a southerner. Anyway I correct him, having to once again explain the drill. Breakfast is when you wake up. Lunch is your afternoon meal. Tea is what you have around 4pm with a biscuit, and dinner is your main afternoon meal. End of. Living in the East Midland I am forever having this pleasing debate.

James contemplating at Solomons temple
James contemplating at Solomons temple
Solomons temple
Solomons temple
View over Buxton from Solomons
View over Buxton from Solomons

The stroll back is the nicest part of the walk for me, we leave the temple, through the country park back to Buxton. As we get to the bottom of the valley into town, we walk through the ‘town park’ alongside the river Wye. I can honestly say this is one of the nicest town parks I have stepped foot in (the nicest being St Marys garden in regents park), it reminds me of a Japanese Zen garden walking alongside the river. Heading back into town we are hungry, and most of the places we are walking past are out of our budget. We find a nice local pub & I settle for some fish & chips. A perfect end to a great day.

Days like this are special, wandering aimlessly, vaguely following some guidelines but knowing you have the choice on where to go at any time. It was a reminder to remain flexible in life at all times, nothing is certain, there are many paths one can take, or one can choose to explore beyond the paths that have been layed and create new path’s.

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Japanese Zen in Buxton – a perfect end to a hilly walk along the River Wye