Cromford - Scarthin Rock
w/e 11 November 2012
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

We took a ride out to Cromford near Matlock hoping to tag onto a guided tour up Scarthin Rock. We hadn't pre-booked as was recommended as our plans were not definite but as the weather was fine and nothing else was pressing we set off and arrived about ten minutes prior to the advertised start time. Unfortunately when we arrived we found that the times had been changed and the first tour had just arrived back at the car park with the next guided ascent was not due for another two hours. The volunteer guide however pointed us in the right direction, gave us a few tips on the best way to go and we set off by ourselves.

Scarthin Rock

A short path from the car park leads to the bank of the River Derwent flowing through the gorge at Matlock, Matlock Bath and Cromford on its southward journey to Derby and the River Trent. Looking towards the Matlocks in this view the high ground on the left is Scarthin Rock and our objective was to reach the top.
The Way Up

StaircaseBenchWe had no intention however of scaling the sheer rock face and instead took the flight of steps cut into the hillside about half way along the path from the car park. This leads to another steeper staircase (left) which elevates us approximately two thirds of the way to the top. From there we were advised to take the right hand of two paths up more steps and slippy slopes to a welcome bench (right) almost at the summit where we paused a minute to catch our breath. We're not as fit or as young as we used to be!
Crich Stand

From the bench, one of the first things we noticed was the hazy view to the southeast of Crich Stand, the Sherwood Foresters' War Memorial some three miles distant as the crow flies. The former quarry below the Memorial is now the site of the National Tramway Museum also know as Crich Tramway Village.
Willersley Castle

Turning our attention to the north from the highest point of Scarthin Rock the focal point over the river was obviously Willersley Castle. Being built for the "Father of the Factory System", Sir Richard Arkwright it was damaged by fire in 1791 prior to its completion and Sir Richard died a year later before it had been repaired. His son, Richard Arkwright junior, eventually moved in and it became the family home from 1796 until 1922. The estate was bought by a group of Methodist business men in 1927 and today the Grade II listed building is a Christian Guild Hotel.
Lone Angler

A fence around the summit of Scarthin Rock warns of the proximity of the sheer drop to the river below as the edge is not obvious but through a cleft in the cliff face, we spotted a lone angler who seemed set up for a long session and was probably unaware of the preying eyes above.
Matlock Road

To the west the Derwent could be seen passing under the road to Matlock Bath with other buildings secluded among the trees. Just out of shot on this side of Matlock Road and hidden by the trees on the right is Masson Mills, built as one of Arkwright's cotton mills in 1783.
And Down Again

To descend from Scarthin Rock we opted for the alternative path and steps which had the benefit of hand rails. The ground underfoot was not muddy but just a little damp and slippy so the hand rail route was indeed the safer option.
Cromford Mills

This route also provided excellent views of Arkwright's Cromford Mills which have been extensively restored by the Arkwright Society and are now an integral part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site. At the junction of the two paths we continued down the hill by the same steps by which we had ascended and made our way into the mill yard.
In The Mill Yard

The Arkwright Society began the restoration of the mills in 1979 and work continues to this day. The restored buildings now operate as shops, restaurants, function rooms and studios. This site map gives more details of the facilities available for anyone planning a visit.
Cascading Water

The second cotton spinning mill on the site of Cromford Mills was built in 1776/1777 and was powered by a water wheel. Although the wheel has gone, the pit still draws visitors to see the water cascading down - myself included. There is much more to be seen in and around Cromford also often called the "Cradle of the Industrial Revolution" but that will have to wait for another visit as our objective this time, Scarthin Rock, had been achieved.

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