Day One – 12 miles – Tideswell to North Lees Campsite
Geoff dropped me off in Tideswell in the morning and I wiggled my way across to North Lees, passing through Litton, Wardlow Mires, Foolow, Eyam and Hathersage.
It was warm anyway and heavy rain made for quite uncomfortable going with full waterproofs on. The forecast had initially been for sun in the afternoon, but when I checked it – on stopping for a scone and tea in Eyam – there was now a thunderstorm warning for the whole afternoon. So, I changed plans and rather than troll across Eyam moor with possible lightning coming in, I took a lower route, involving much tarmac. It was very quiet tarmac though, but as luck would have it, the storms never materialised and the sun came out…Still, I was happy with the decision I’d made.
A decent break in Hathersage followed, where I might have gone in the Outside Cafe, before the last mile up to North Lees.
Please note that most of the photos from this day were taken in the rain, with the phone inside a PocPac thingy, so are particularly grainy…
Day Two – 9 miles – North Lees to Pindale Farm Campsite
Today was hot. The morning started off with some very pleasant walking, but as I gradually started melting, I decided to alter the route and drop the mileage from my planned 12 miles, to 10 miles. I was aiming for Rowter Farm, via Bamford and Hope.
It all started to fall apart a bit though, when I then encountered a footpath closure on my altered route, with a diversion in place that nearly added those 2 miles back on. And as if that wasn’t enough, the diversion involved 6 kissing gate type thingies, none of which were big enough to navigate, wearing a large pack. And if that wasn’t enough either, all of them had barbed wire wound around the gate posts. So the inevitable happened, when I managed to put a small rip in the side of my pack, trying to ‘throw’ my pack over one of the gates. I’d then had enough of footpaths for the day (I usually try and use bridle ways and tracks as much as possible, because of that very reason), so stuck to the back roads from Bamford, through Aston, to get myself into Hope. And on that section, I very nearly got squashed by a Post Office van racing around. The guy was so close to me as I dived into a hedgerow, trying to get out of the way, that another guy who’d seen the whole thing, actually stopped and came over to check that I was ok, which was very kind of him and much appreciated.
So, by the time I arrived, melting, at a lovely cafe in Hope, I had had enough for the day. I decided to spend the night at Pindale instead and move onto Rowter the next day. Putting an extra night into the trip meant that I hadn’t then got enough food with me, but a quick visit to the Spar in Hope, soon sorted that. The lady in the Old Hall Cafe there, very kindly let me leave my pack with her while I went off to purchase supplies.
This was the first trip that either of us has used our new Hilleberg Niak, and it’s slightly unusual in that when pitching or decamping, you can’t really put a peg in anywhere to stop it blowing away (and being basically a self supporting design, it is like a kite once you’ve got both poles threaded through). The suggestion is, that you always attach a guy line to your pack whilst pitching etc, so I’ve put a mini carabiner on one of the shoulder straps specifically for this purpose. Works well.
Day Three – 3 miles – PIndale to Rowter Farm Campsite
A ridiculously short day today, but what the hell? – it’s a holiday! A nice sleep in, a leisurely wander over to Castleton, three slices of toast and home-made strawberry jam plus a large glass of milk at the Peveril Tearooms, then a very enjoyable meander up through Cave Dale. And the weather was just gorgeous, perfect for walking.
Rowter Farm was about as busy as the other sites, ie: nearly empty, and I had a really nice conversation with one of the family there too, about possibly bringing Pebbles for a night in the future. Pebbles may look a big, rufty, tufty Boxer, but she is in fact a big soppy lump. She also has this epilepsy problem and an episode can be easily tiggered by stress/panicking/worry. This means that I can’t tie her up outside a toilet block without risking triggering a fit, as she worries herself silly if I go out of sight and leave her, in a strange place. (And let’s face it, who in their right mind ties a dog up outside anywhere these days? Dog theft is rife everywhere.) So, I need to be able to take her into the loos with me – she’s become vey practised at this! As I might have predicted, the folks at Rowter have no issues with this, like all the other sites I’ve used with her in the past, but I do like to check. To be honest, I’ve only ever had one site refuse, and that was a Camping and Caravanning Club Site, so we took our business elsewhere…
Anyway, the forecast for this night was heavy rain showers with wind gusts up to nearly 30mph, so I found the windiest place possible in the field, just to see how the tent would be. It was, of course, absolutely fine.
Day Four – 8.5 miles – Rowter Farm to home
After a really good night’s sleep, I awoke to a grey, windy morning with quite a chill in the air. Such a variety of weather in just four days away!
Perfect walking weather, though. I walked home over Rushup Edge, Brown Knoll and past South Head, and just as I approached the village, the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and it was melting weather again.
The only thing that had been missing on this trip was Pebbles, but the heat on the other days would have been too much for her. She did shout at me mind, when I got home.