We climbed up up up the hill, past this sign that made me happy
Through the vertical village of Bolehill, catching glimpses of hills through the buildings
Finally up to the sun and the common, open spaces that I so long for when in London and Bristol”
A look back across the valley through which we had just come:
The panorama of light and shadow, sunshine and dark cloud that I love
Into the glorious woods
And finally to the Black Rocks trig point. It was quite a climb, I confess:
A look out across the world towards Riber Castle (a ‘new’ gothik castle built by mill owner John Smedley in 1862 — we walked beneath it coming back into Matlock, and visited his mill, but more on that later)
We came down the other side to meet the High Peaks Trail.
Once a lead mine stood here, the Cromford Moor Mine, shafts up to 128 metres deep where 100 men and women worked. They estimate the mine produced lead from before 1615 to about 1850. It opened again in the 1920s to mine white calcite — we remain so dependent on the mineral wealth we pull from the ground.
We followed it down passing old evidences of industry:
The remains of the Cromford and High Peak Railway — power originating from the engine house pulled steel cables to haul wagons out of the pit and up the steep inclines. A giant wheel pulled the cables
It is a beautiful walk, this archway wonderful from this approach
My gaze quickly filled with awe as I walked through it, pictures cannot do it justice
Unlike some of the other places we visited, I feel I failed utterly here to capture how beautiful and mysterious and eerie it was.
Up we continued and up, a gentler climb but still climbing to the engine house:
The memories of the railway
And then down into the quarries. Here is Middleton Mine, the only limestone mine in Europe, and also this funny story: An the organ grinder would come to play his organ at the midday break and send his monkey down a deep hole to where the miners sat to collect money — one day the monkey escaped however, and was never seen again.
Perhaps its ghost still roams, like the pickpocketing chimpanzee in Glasgow’s Panopticon.
The quarries contain a wonderful succession of warning signs involving stick figures in peril, including ballet dancers:
Also, some naughty boys throwing rocks. Which made me laugh. Had I grown up here, I know my three brotehrs would undoubtedly have been stood in the exact same place throwing rocks into the water.
Then back down into Wirksworth’s lovely winding streets and alleys
And our first glance of their truly wonderful bookstore
and the beautiful church in its grounds