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The Rakes Progress

Page history last edited by Dave Tinham 13 years ago

The Rakes' Progress (or lack thereof)

or Bob and Dave's Excellent Adventure



The Plan


This wikilogue was made in response to a walk in the Peak District made by Bob Petrulis and Dave Tinham during the LTEA2008 Peak District Discovery Tour on Friday 27th July 2008.


As the minibus approached our drop-off point the sun was shining and it seemed like an excellent idea to combine a couple of sights with a short ramble in the Peak District.


The plan was to look at Arbor Low and nearby Gib Hill, and then to strike out across country on so-called 'Public Footpaths' which would take us to the town of Monyash for some tea and a wait for the coach, or perhaps to walk another couple of kilometers to see the abandoned mine  near Sheldon if there was time (which, it turned out, there wasn't).



Best laid plans and all that though... we ended up taking a slightly circuitous route. Zoom in (just keep clicking the + button) on the Google Map below to see our approximate 'progress'!


View Larger Map


But we're getting ahead of ourselves a bit here....


Arbor Low


As the clouds gathered and the first few small drops fell, we walked through a farmyard (not forgetting to put our £1 entrance fee in the tin) and up the hill toward Arbor Lowe, a 6000-year-old stone circle.


According to English Heritage, 'it is the region's most important prehistoric site'. What was it for? Perhaps an inquiry-based learning project of sorts?


When we arrived we were lucky to have the place all to ourselves.


Dave took the videos you see below with his laptop computer, and below that is a picture (taken from the adjacent burial mound) of him in the middle of the circle shooting the clip.



Mysteriously, the video files disappeared and subsequently reappeared. Well sort of. What you see on this wiki looks fine, but we also ended up with a clip of Bob being truncted by the software to 0.4 seconds and another clip appearing that we didn't shoot at all, but which is dark and has got some strange voices in the background. I kid you not.


Also, and unexpectedly, Bob's daughter called his mobile phone from Washington DC just as he stood in the very center of the stone circle. 


Mysteries? Coincidence? Or was there something about standing at the confluence of those geomantic lines of force?  Hmmm...


If nothing else, this was certainly an interesting space for inquiry. and for reasons that as far as we know, weren't touched upon in the previous  Inquiry Spaces workshops.


Undaunted and undeterred - we still had Stella looking after us at this point - we passed through the field of sheep and cows (is it just us or isn't it slightly creepy how cows swivel their whole bodies to watch as you walk past?  Look back and they're still facing you straight on.  The sheep just scoot away if you get too close.  Have you ever noticed that sheep and goats' eyes have rectangular pupils?)

to arrive at... 


Gib Hill


An ancient burial mound.  But here's Stella to tell you more about it. The weather was getting worse by now but she did a stellar (ouch) job explaining the mound's significance.




Afterwards, Stella got back on the bus and left us to continue...




 Half a mile from Gib Hill and the rain came falling down. As the raindrops became larger and more frequent, we struck off across the countryside and almost immediately found ourselves off the beaten path.  Where did the path go?  We'll probably never know. 


Meanwhile, the rain and wind came up more strongly, our shoes soaked through, and we pushed on through (taller) grass.  The sheep are quite forgiving--they never seemed to laugh at us, no matter how bedraggled we became, although they did keep their distance.  Maybe we looked hungry.  We thought we were following the map--even thought we saw the coach off in the distance.


Who knows if it was?  Not me.  After an hour or so of wandering, we decided we really needed to get back onto a road. There was a farm ahead and we struck out for it. Perhaps not totally legal, but what's a few barbed wire fences between friends? At least we didn't demolish any of the carefully constrcuted walls.


We will try and improve our map-reading skills for the future, but just in case, maybe we'll carry an old carpet next time we go. As shown in the start of this clip from 'Fight Club' (not for the squeemish) a bit of carpet is very handy if you ever have to cross a barbed-wire fence (or indeed, need to break into a liposuction clinic!)


But again i digress. We managed to reach the farm without further damage to either ourselves or the environment (we hope).


On approaching the farmer and asking where we were the farmer looked startled but informed us that we were at...


High Rakes Farm


"There are no paths on my farm" .

"Err...i think you'll find there is  one now"


So, arriving through the back-door (so to speak) of High Rakes Farm, the farmer and his wife seemed a little surprised to find lost hikers who were obviously not from the area tramping through their fields.  She pointed to a spot about 2 inches off the western edge of our map, and said she thought we were about there. It appeared that if we'd kept on going we would have reached Manchester by nightfall!. (Dave's best subsequent guess is that we were still on the map; just not where we had thought we were.) 

They were very nice and invited us to walk through their barn and pointed us in the direction of the village - 'just turn right down High Rakes Road'.


We phoned Willy to let him know we were  shaken but not stirred (the voice message never arrived - curiouser and curiouser).




A half-hour later after tramping down the road, we arrived at Monyash, went past the pond and finally found civilization at the The Old Smithy Tearooms, where the proprieter fed us cups of tea (even though closing time was fast approaching), and the coach appeared within a few minutes. 


Willy said we should learn to read maps, but I'm not completely convinced that visiting Arbor Low didn't send us into a little time-space vortex that might have displaced us a kilometer or two.  That could explain everything. 


Extraphysical possibilities aside, it was, all in all, a grand day out in the Peak District countryside. We'd love to return one day and if we manage to get the prize for best wiki, then we will. Good luck to our competitors The Tea Tour Walkers nonetheless!

Also, thanks to Willy and all staff and students at the Sheffield CILASS team.


Finally, some last words from Bob and Dave... 



Comments (7)

willykitchen said

at 5:22 pm on Jul 1, 2008

Did I put it that bluntly? Probably - though I thought it was more of a philosophical musing on the tension between giving students their heads and the opportunity to learn by doing ... and providing them with the necessary skills (in this case map reading) to do so effectively (or, in your case, legally).

At 5.21pm on Monday you're definitely a few steps ahead of the Tea Tourists ... I look forward to reading the final versions on Friday.

Bob Petrulis said

at 12:26 pm on Jul 2, 2008

By the way, I liked that cafe. The proprieter told me that they open for breakfast at 9:00 on Sundays. I'd like to go out there some weekend morning...

Dave Tinham said

at 3:49 pm on Jul 2, 2008

that was a great cafe, especially as they mae us tea after closing time. and willy, normally i'm pretty good with an os map. one thing i learnt was that i could be better though! bob was incredibly patient for a man with soaking wet feet.

willykitchen said

at 8:39 pm on Jul 2, 2008

The food, as I recall it, is also pretty good in the Old Smithy ... and another top stop, should you be lost with soaking feet again, is the Grindleford Cafe on t'other side of the Derwent, at the railway station bang next to the entrance to the Totley tunnel. Particularly good for connoisseurs of the large English breakfast. And should you folks win the prize, I trust you'll feel honour-bound to spend your two nights at High Rakes Farm - I see they offer B&B!

Bob Petrulis said

at 9:19 pm on Jul 2, 2008

Oops! I just took a look at our competitions' page, and Willy's latest comment. I'd forgotten about the something old, something new, etc. aspect of our task. Let's see... I think we've got the something old aspect covered, with the archaeological part of our travelogue; and as we'd never been to Arbor Lowe before, that was also new to us; I don't know about Dave, but I've been living on borrowed time for years now (if that doesn't work, how about the fact that the High Rakes Farm folks lent us the path through their barn (I know it's a stretch, but work with me here)); and in the photo of Dave walking toward Monyash, you can clearly see that both his coat and backpack were blue. So there.

Dave Tinham said

at 12:35 am on Jul 3, 2008

you're right willy. we do owe them one at high rakes i think.

in addition to your suggestions bob around the theme (i'd forgotten that too), here are a few more slightly tenuous links that must suffice unless we think of anything better ;-)

the google map has place marks and route in 'blue'
stella's expertise at arbor low/gib hill was 'borrowed'
the path we took was certainly 'new'
and as you suggest above, things don't get much older than arbor low

willykitchen said

at 9:38 am on Jul 8, 2008

I have to declare the contest over and, having consulted with Stella and our panel of experts, we have now agreed that The Rakes Progress take the first prize of the B&B for 2 x 2. Please feel free to approach Nicola R to work out the mechanics of claiming your prize, Bob and Dave. Since there was no take up on the Walkabout pages, I'm pleased to say we can also award the second Haddon family ticket as a prize to our worthy runners-up, the Tea Tourists, so everyone walks away with something. If you want to discuss amongst yourselves who wants the ticket, I'll drop it off with Nicola for onward transmission. Thanks to everyone for engaging with this so enthusiastically. Now I've seen the possibilities, I'm definitely planning to recycle something along these lines for TILL weekend field trips in the future (albeit with a strong warning against trespass ...).

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