Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Sorry for the long lack of posting, but I'd been a bit pre-occupied with moving house and changing jobs (and sadly not much curiosity hunting). Anyway, where were we?


Curiosity 12 - Little John's Grave (67) SK234818

Our first outing with Roanna, Dan and baby Erica since she stopped being a baby, and we went for a little stroll around Hathersage in the sunshine. I managed to engineer the route so we took in the grave in Hathersage churchyard which preports to be that of Little John himself. Rumours abound of a thigh bone having been excavated which suggested a man of at least 7ft was buried here. I'm a little more sceptical, but it's nice to believe these things might be true. The church itself also has some rather fun gargoyles


Curiosity 13 - Lud's Church (99) SJ987656

Away for the weekend in Staffordshire we went for a stroll to check out the chasmy delights of Lud's Church. Hiding away on the side of a hill, you wouldn't know it was there if you didn't go looking for it, but when you stumble upon it it's undeniably impressive. A great chasm in the rock, the likes of which I've not seen anywhere else in gritstone country, it was reputedly used as a secret meeting place of a much-persecuted religious group called the Lollards. There are plenty of side-tunnels to explore, and holes to squeeze through to satisfy one's darkest speliological desires. A real treat!


Curiosity 14 - Three Shire Heads (70) SK009686

The next day, Avril, Dan H, Daryl and Bob crammed into my car and went on a little tour of the local curiosities. We kicked things off with a gentle stroll to the Three Shire Heads, where Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire meet at the point where two rivers meet. Legend has it that local miscreants used to hang out here making counterfeit money, and when the authorities came to hassle them, they simple crossed into one of the neigbouring counties and out of the police's jurisdiction. The wonderfully named nearby village of Flash is supposedly named for this counterfeit money (no, I've never heard of it referred to as flash, but maybe language has changed since the curiosity book was written in 1979. Either way, it was a pleasant little spot.

Curiosity 15 - Relic Of A Silk Mill (162) SJ983687

Our next port of call was the nearby village of Wildboarclough, where the village sub Post Office was possibly the largest in England, and a hangover from the days when this sleepy valley was a bustling hive of industry. After our initial sweep failed to locate a Post Office we sought guidance from the local pub, and soon managed to track the place down. Unsurprisingly it isn't a Post Office any more, just a rather grand house.

Curiosity 16 - Winking Eye (148) SK020624

Although my climbing adventures had taken me to Ramshaw before, climbing on the winking man buttress is banned, and I'd never witnessed the actual winking before. To be honest I wasn't sure how an inanimate rock formation could wink, and I was none the wiser after traipsing across the heather to see it at close quarters. After returning to the car and driving past the bottom of the crag, the mystery was solved. A protruding block on the skyline behind temporarily blocks out the sky through the eye, and the man really does wink. It was a sufficiently cool effect that we about-turned and went back for another pass.

Curiosity 17 - Mermaid's Pool (147) SK040613

Our final port of call for the day was this isolated pool overlooking the source of the River Churnet. Local folklore claims that it is connected to Doxey's Pool on top of the Roaches on the other side of the valley. This seems quite unlikely, but would be pretty cool. Being December, the pool was well frozen, and in spite of several minutes spent throwing big rocks at it, we were unable to puncture the ice. It was good fun trying though.