One of the great things about living in Sheffield is you can be in out in the countryside in just a few minutes.
One of the prettiest local beauty spots is Padley Gorge, which takes in a gentle walk beside a gushing stream, through woods of wind-twisted trees growing amongst moss covered boulders.
The downstream path leads to Bole Hill Quarry where you can still see the signs of the old industry all around: abandoned millstones, fragmented rocks, piles of slag, all now overgrown.
In this interesting article about the history of the quarry there’s some old pictures showing how it once was. They show the machinery used to winch down the big blocks of stone (for building the nearby dams) to the railway in the valley below. Local photographer Phil Wostenholme has also taken some stunning pictures around here.
A group of us took this walk for my brother Dan’s birthday walk, ending at the legendary (or is it infamous?) Grindleford Station Cafe (Elementary B), a few seconds from the station and beside the mouth of Totley Tunnel.
The tunnel was the longest in the UK at 5.7km when it was completed in 1893, a major engineering feat at the time built at great human cost, in part due to the Duke of Devonshire who didn’t want too many air shafts on his grouse moor above!
If the weather is clement you can sit outside on picnic tables, next to the tunnel entrance although it feels very English to drink tea next to what looks like the gateway to hell.
It’s more cosy to sit inside though, near the roaring fire in the first room if you’re lucky or in the second room where you should just be grateful to get a table.
Apparently a Canadian visitor was once cuffed round the head for asking for Worcester sauce! (It’s Henderson’s Relish round here just so you know). A bit unfair really as there’s no warning sign.
This is a walkers’ cafe and it’s set up to feed an army with the minimum of fuss.
You pay for your food at the counter, get your number and wait till it’s called over the Tannoy. There’s no chance you’ll miss your turn as the volume is cranked up to max over the ancient crackling speakers. We wanted to stay until they called 180 but sadly had to leave at around 145. Make sure you clear your table for the next people or expect to be tutted.
Although the food gets good reviews on eggsbaconchipsandbeans I would score it a C to be honest. It’s perfectly edible standard English fare, nothing to write home (or a blog?) about. But that’s not really the point of the place, it’s all about stoking you up cheaply for marching about in the elements. You’re here to be fed and fed you will be.
The portions are huge; a full English breakfast (£5.70 with a pint of tea) involves a pallid egg on soggy fried bread, buttressed with a stack of salty bacon, and separating two seas, one of beans the other of tinned tomatoes. The world’s longest ever Walls sausage defends two triangles of bread and marge on the side. You can’t argue with the drinks though (A). Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and Horlicks come in two sizes, half or full pint.
Personally I’m glad I did my walking first as I wasn’t going anywhere after this.
The cafe also produces its own mineral water from the grounds.