With the Llangollen weekend looming and a few of the regulars otherwise engaged in different parts of the country I was a little surprised (and delighted, of course) when nine of us reported medically fit at Monsal Head for a walk which is possibly best described as ‘short but sweet’. Descending to the dale and reaching the dam at Water-cum-Jolley it climbs to the airy and exposed traverse of the hillside above the river and the crags until opposite Litton Mill. A steep climb leads up through Priestcliffe National Nature Reserve and then over the fields to the lane through Brushfield and back down to the river near the A6. The last stretch goes over the footbridge by the impressive weir and back up to Monsal Head. I was introduced to the walk by a work colleague over thirty years ago and it has been a favourite ever since.
We spent quite a bit of time taking photographs and admiring the views and the flora – cowslips, dog violets, early purple orchids, mayflowers, mountain pansies and some late primroses. Lunch was enjoyed at the top of the Priestcliffe reserve where a discussion took place about the pronunciation of ‘wort’ as in leadwort, sneezewort, dropwort etc – is it ‘wurt’ (down-to-earth northern) or ‘wort’ (posh southern botanist)? Indeed, should it be pronounced ‘waart’ (Sheffield) or ‘wert’ (Scouse)? We obviously have too much time on our hands!