High Peak Trail

With a mild Christmas Eve forecast we had already decided on our walk for the day.  Even though we haven’t had a walk for a while we had chosen a six mile walk and with the advantage of two cars it was a linear walk.  First we drove over to the car park at High Peak Junction and left one car there then over to Brassington where there is a small picnic spot with car parking.  From here we walked up to the High Peak Trail at Harborough Rocks and then set off back to Cromford.  The first half of the journey was easy going taking us past some works and quarries and old station buildings with information points.  I had hoped we might get a glimpse of Carsington Water but we didn’t.  Middleton Top was the half way point and with a little Visitor Centre and cafe (open!) a good point for a cup of tea in the wintry sunshine.  Middleton Top is the last surviving complete winding engine house for the Cromford and High Peak Railway and still has its original pair of beam engines.  It looked an interesting building so we will try and see it on one of its open days in 2012.  It was used to help pull the trains up the Middleton Incline.  From here it was mainly downhill, first passing the National Stone Centre and then the Steeple Grange Light Railway (still to visit). At Black Rock the trail was a lot busier as we had only passed a handful of walkers and cyclists to this point and it had also started to drizzle but this had stopped by the time we got back to the High Peak Junction.  Chris and friend went off to get the other car leaving me with friend and dogs and we walked the mile or so along the canal to the Cromford Wharf Cafe and waited for the lads to return.  On the way home to our peak district cottages we stopped at the Massom Mill for a brief bit of retail therapy and we finished off the evening with a chinese takeaway.