1st January - New Year Day

Mark S. Reports:

A select group (Geof,Frank and two Marks) walked from Geof's house to the Red Lion at Water End on the River Gade. Pleasant walking, very little mud and occasional sunshine.

We passed Noake Mill which used to be a water mill and also, apparently, a Youth Hostel.

Back to Berkhamstead for Tea and Crumpets - thanks Geof.

Meanwhile, over in Devon,  John and Josephine had a day out in their rowing boat. They launched it at Cargreen Yacht Club and rowed up the River Tamar to the National Trust property at Cotehele, then back to Cargreen by about dusk.  Lunch in the quayside cafe then we walked up the hill to the main Cotehele house to look at a small exhibition about the local participation in the WW1 and also the flower garland which appears each year at Christmas in the main hall at Cothele. Its made from flowers grown on the estate.

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 The flower garland at Cothele house



16/17 March - HSC at Wembury

Seven members of the HSC spent the weekend with John and Josephine at Wembury on the Devon coast to the south east of Plymouth. On the Saturday we did a walk from Looe in Cornwall to Polperro returning along the coast path.  This walk started following the western branch of the estuary from just above the road bridge at Looe, then climbing through woodland to the Trelawne Manor holiday park and found that although most of the holiday caravans seemed to be deserted the restaurant/bar was open and so we could not resist stopping for morning coffee. From there we descended along narrow lanes into Polperro for lunch in the first pub we came accross. Polperro was once a small fishing port, particularly known for pilchards (and smuggling); these days it is a picturesqe tourist destination.  As we left Polperro the weather was detriorating with rain and a strong westerly wind which was at least from behind us as we made our way back to Looe along the spectacular coast path.  

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Just leaving the picturesque coastal village of Polperro

On Sunday we had some sunney weather and chose a shorter and less hilly walk in the Plym valley, only a few miles from Wembury. This walk included a visit to the Saltram Park, a National Trust property very popular with walkers (and dogs) who seek an easy walk close to the city of Plymouth. 



19 to 22 April - Easter in the Peak District

 hartington yha

Hartington YHA

Seven HSC members spent Easter 2019 at Hartington YHA in the Peak District. We had exceptionally nice sunny weather for the time of year and Hartington YHA is a lovely old house set in attractive gardens, so we had a memorable weekend.

We did two walks, both around 12 miles, and at a leasurely pace such that with lunch and tea stops we filled the day. Richard recorded our tracks on his smartphone, as below.

 saturday walk

Our route on Saturday 20 April

On Saturday we started directly from the hostel, taking the footpath accross the lane outside the hostel, this leads to the upper end of Biggin Dale.  Biggin Dale starts off as a dry valley, but somewhere under the footpath we were walking there is an underground river, hard to believe but the water eventually appears and joins the river Dove.  We followed the valley of the Dove down to Milldale where we found a small teashop for lunch, then returned via Alstonfield village where a householder was offering tea and cake in return to a donation for a conservation charity.  Returning to Hartington village we rejoined the bank holiday crowds and found the village pub crowded and fully booked for meals so we had our supper back at the hostel, as we did again on Sunday.

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 Biggin Dale - no river in sight

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Lots of styles in the Peak District

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Our route on Sunday, April 21

On Easter Sunday we started by driving to the vilage of Monyash, about six miles north from Hartington, then we walked to Over Haddon by the southern loop shown on the track above, crossing the R. Lathkill by the clapper bridge just south of Over Haddon - picture below. 

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The ancient clapper bridge at Over Haddon - with not so ancient handrails fitted - H&S I suppose!

For lunch we took a look at the PH at Over Hadon but seeing how crowded the pub was on this warm Easter Sunday we changed our mind and went to a pleasant cafe with a view - the 'Garden Teas & Cakes'.

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 Lounging in the sun on the terrace of the cafe at Over Haddon

We retruned to Monyash along the River Lathkill, a very pretty river and a popular walking route. The valley is steep sided, overlooked in places by towering limestone buttresses. Although it all looks very hatural today, parts of this valley were industrial during the 19C with both lead mining and textiles.. We noticed the stone pillars crossing the river which once carried an aquaduct to supply a waterwheel for Mandale lead mine, however we missed the remains of the mine buildings which might have been worth a look. We did stop to look at a couple of points of interest along the valley. The first was a 'Tufa hole' - see pic below.which is from a poster by the footpath.

  .19 04 21 Tufa

Then we took a look at the site of an unusual type of water powered engine - the Dakeyne pump engine.  A new foot bridge has been built so that you can cross the river, then you come to a big hole in the ground. This is part of an old mine and you can descend by a recently installed ladder to where the engine was installed and there is a poster giving a bit of the history - see pic below.  This is a 'nutating engine'. The engine was invented in the 1820s by the Dakeyne brothers who owned a large flax spinning mill in the valley. The engine was supplied with high pressure water from higher up the valley and provided an output of about 130 horse power.  The Dakeyne brothers built several such engines for driving machinery and for mine pumping, also a small one for an organ bellows, then other people built steam engines working on the same principle.   As a mechanical engineer, the author was at one time part of an R & D team developing large hydraulic motors. At one point I was given the interesting task of researching the literature to see if I could find any promising ideas from Victorian times that might have been forgotten and I do remember that this type of engine was something I came accross! . Engineers will guess how it works, others will not be interested, or will look it up on the internet.  I might add that having just made a quick internet search I see a number of current centuary projects attempting to develop internal combustion engines using the same principle, at least one of these claiming it to be a new idea.

 19 04 21 Dakeyne engine

 Dakeyne Pump Engine