Flying Sunday June 28, 2009.

Today is a day that no flag in my collection can be too easily related to the day so I am going to fly the flag of Derbyshire:

The introduction of the flag came about as a result of a feature on BBC Radio Derby in 2006. A listener who had noticed the prominent use of Saint Piran's Flag while visiting Cornwall wanted to know whether Derbyshire had an equivalent symbol. As no flag to represent the county existed, a campaign to design one with the aid of listeners' suggestions was launched. The finished flag, designed by Martin Enright from Derby, was unveiled on 22 September 2006. Readers will know I get upset when flags are flown upside down, the above image is correct, and the flag is not symmetrical along the horizontal axis, so can be flown upside down in error.

I can fly this flag as a tribute to the beauty of the countryside of Derbyshire. On Friday I took myself for a day’s hike between Bakewell and Buxton. I had dropped off my daughter and fellow classmates on a 3 day hike for their Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Silver Award, and I then took myself off to the Monsal Trail, an old railway long distance footpath that, when I was a child at school in Bakewell in 1959-1964, was the route of the mainline train from London to Manchester. It was, and still is as a footpath, one of the most spectacular lengths of track in the UK. It is extraordinary how well nature has reclaimed, indeed enhanced, what was fairly brutal work by the Victorian railway builders who cut through those dales.

Horse riders on the old track

View from Monsal Head. The former line goes through a number of tunnels, walkers now have to climb up and over the hills to re-join the track.

Cressbroook Mill

The millpond above Cressbrook Mill.

The river is full of brown trout !

Wild strawberries love to grow on the old limestone chippings of the track

Back up on the limestone plateau, looking north towards the moors of furthest north Derbyshire, Chapel-en-le- Frith and Hathersage.

The old Midland Pullman, the train I use to love to "spot" from my prep school in Bakewell circa 1962; it passed by morning and evening with it's Manchester businessmen heading to and from London.

The The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The concept of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is simple – anyone aged between 14 and 24 can do a programme at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. There are four sections at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold. With assistance from adult Leaders, participants select and set objectives in each of the following areas:

Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community.

Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.

Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests.

Expedition: planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad.

At Gold level, participants must do an additional fifth Residential section, which involves staying and working away from home doing a shared activity.

My daughter Alice, left, with school friends Bliss and Holly, on a dry run for their Bronze award in early 2008.

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