Derwent Valley – Ambergate, Cromford, Matlock Bath & Matlock

West Highland Way 2011 is now less than 2 weeks away, this year it will just be Ray and I and we have been making the finishing touches to what gear we will be taking. As we had two days free we decided to go for a wander over a good distance and tackle some of the terrain we can expect again on the WHW this year. No need to go all the way to Scotland for that as Derbyshire has a lot to offer in terms of routes and terrain.

We had decided to head down from Swanwick to Ambergate then up through Shinning Cliff Woods, We will pass through plenty of forests similar to Shinning Cliff so its good practice. We grabbed a few crafty Geocaches too as it would have been rude not to as we were passing so close.

We then joined the MidShires Way and proceeded along the top of the hills up and over to Cromford via Alderwasley. When we got down into Cromford we met up with Andy who I chat with on Twitter and went for a drink at the Greyhound.

Andy joined us for the next few miles of the walk along the road the Matlock Bath, then over High Tor and down into Matlock. Andy walked back to his car at Cromford and we stopped for lunch and supplies.

After stocking up on the essentials (Beer) we headed up the hill and followed some public footpaths over to our regular bushcraft forest. On the WHW we will be using bivis and tarps again so that is what we have done tonight, minus the tarp as the weather is fantastic so we have decided to sleep cowboy style next to the fire.

I was tracking the walk using ViewRanger and Social Hiking on my iPhone and here are the approximate stats. Distance: 26 km, Max Altitude: 276 m, Min Altitude: 71 m, Height Gain: 473 m, Height Loss: 334 m, Number of Beacons: 95. I ran out of battery towards the end so could only post a limited amount of Beacons.

To create the map above, I have exported the GPX file from my iPhone and filled in the gaps using google maps. Google have a handy little tool to plot routes and tracks in their mapping section. the data gathered by viewranger has time stamps for each beacon so you can judge our speed and elevation data to judge height gained and lost. the parts i have filled in with google don’t have any of this but i did it to show you exactly where we ventured today. keep an eye out for more routes soon, if there was a way of powering the iPhone with anti matter or something like that then I would plot the whole WHW route.

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