We went out this morning all ready for a very wet day, but in the end, we had little more than few minutes first thing, although we could see the showers in the valleys around us. By the afternoon, it had all cleared and we had a glorious few hours.
This was a new walk, specially devised by Mr Coles and it did not fail to impress. For the majority of the day we followed the Manifold Way, an old railway line, which made for easier walking. We discovered the drainage stream from an old copper mine, which came from inside the hill and then spent ages searching for fossils: many bags were a great deal heavier as a result! The children found lots of fossilised shell fish, some a lot like cockles and proved that this part of Derbyshire was once a warm seabed.
After an enjoyable picnic lunch at Wetton Mill, we climbed up to the caves above and were treated to our first glimpses of Thor's Cave about a mile away.
Following the River Manifold, we headed towards Thor's Cave, but taken by surprise, when the water in the river suddenly vanished, leaving a dry and rocky river bed.
We quickly deduced that Mr Goodliffe's story of a giant with a drinking straw was probably ridiculous, so came up with a more scientific explanation: the river had disappeared into a sink hole and was following an underground course towards Ilam Hall. We remembered seeing the water reemerging by the hall the previous day. All was revealed!
Next followed the stiff climb up to Thor's Cave- a vertical climb of 65 metres in about half a mile! The exertion was amply rewarded by the exploration of the massive cave that we discovered.
With an hour and a half before pick up time, we decided to walk a little further down the valley, before heading back up to Wetton. It was a wonderful and truly memorable day, with a beautiful view at the end.