I do like linear routes, and I do like ‘walking home’. The Plan this time, was for Geoff to drop Pebbles and I off in Castleton, and we would make our way home over three days/two nights. Best laid plans and all that. Forecasted road works and long delays at Winnats Pass, meant I had to re-think.
Having Pebbles with me, I try and use bridleways rather than footpaths – especially in areas like the White Peak – as this means that there are no stiles. Stiles are a definite nuisance when walking with a dog wearing panniers.
Second Plan then, was to be dropped off on the Pennine Bridleway, just a few miles south of Peak Forest, on Sunday afternoon.
And of course even though there was no rain forecast, it was raining as we set off.
It’s easy to ignore the White Peak in favour of the more rugged and remote Dark Peak, but it definitely has its charms. Wet limestone isn’t one of them, however.
The light was already starting to fade as we neared Peak Forest. For the last mile – which was on tarmac – I was increasingly aware of any vehicle which passed us, having headlights on.
As we entered the village one car slowed right down next to us, wound the window down, and a couple shouted out,
I assumed they were talking about Pebbles, not me.
Peak Forest has this tiny little campsite, which is really someone’s back garden. It’s at the old General Store and they do take the odd caravan or small motorhome, but for only £4 you can stay the night there with a small tent. There’s a toilet and a tap, and a friendly couple who run it.
I’ve stayed there numerous times now, on various wanders across the Peak District. The main road through the village can be a bit noisy overnight with quarry lorries, but to be honest it doesn’t bother me. I’m either awake or I’m asleep, and if I’m awake, it certainly wouldn’t be traffic noise that had caused any sleeplessness!
And this particular night, the pair of us slept so well, we didn’t stir till 9am. I couldn’t believe it. Not that we were rushing anyway – definitely a slackpacking trip, we took our time over breakfast and breaking camp.
Being a bit drizzly,
we I packed inside the tent. I worked around Pebbles.
I wasn’t entirely sure where we were going today. I’d left it until the morning to decide, depending on the weather. All I knew, was that we were going to wild camp somewhere tonight. In the end, we set off on the Pennine Bridleway once more.
I’d heard that this cafe was good, so we walked down in the hope of cake and tea. It was shut.
Continuing northwards, we looked for somewhere to collect water for the night.
Roych Clough fit the bill, so I filtered 4 litres for us.
It was all uphill from here.
But the rain had stopped, and the light and the clouds were atmospheric. We took our time.
In the end, it was another two miles before we settled on an isolated spot.
Quite chilly and windy by now, Pebbles could hardly wait for the tent to be up with her bed inside ready for her.
The evening was passed quite happily – eating, snoozing, listening to music and watching I-Player.
Settling down properly to sleep around 10pm, I had no trouble drifting off, but woke suddenly around 1am, absolutely starving. It was totally silent now, no wind, no trains running through the nearby tunnel, no planes coming in to land at Manchester, but try as I could I couldn’t get back to sleep. A packet of jelly babies sorted me out.
The next I knew, it was 8am.
A couple of hours’ walk from here, had us back home again.
It had ended up a lovely three days. Pebbles is really growing up and enjoys these trips immensely. She’s a delight to spend time with. I could have done without her using my rucksack as a trampoline mind, while I was taking the tent down this morning……