A Walk In The Peak District
We left our campervan at Froggatt Garage for servicing and MOT. It was 8am, very cold and we had to get lost for the day whilst they did the work. With Covid in mind, we didn’t want to use a bus or taxi to get home, and we have no other driver in our bubble. In fact, we have no bubble. I had five layers on, Ann four, and boots, gloves and beanie. We walked, aiming to look around some villages in which we might buy a house, barn or cottage. We followed the wild River Derwent, with rainwater flowing all over the roads and even pouring out of gardens. The previous 48 hours of rain had changed the landscape. Off the road, a stream poured down the footpath, then the fields were squashy. A walk in the Peak District, in mid January, can be a little muddy.
After that, we stepped into National Trust woodland. The path was pitched with gritstone blocks, the streams crossed by gritstone slabs and there were a myriad of dark pools in tree shaded recesses. It was the glorious Peak District in miniature. Out into the flooded fields again, through Grindleford and up the road, into Padley Gorge. This stunted oak forest was weird and Celtic, with a raging peat stained torrent at the bottom. There were waterfalls where none had been before. We stepped over and between gritstone boulders, then broke out onto the moors. The craggy, black hillfort of Carl Wark lay on the snowy skyline. Then it was into the National Trust Longshaw Estate, past the duckpond and to the temporary cafe. It was open and we were the only customers.
Filled with an absolutely delicious cheese and onion pasty, and coffee, we crossed the estate. I planned on going along Froggatt Edge but Ann liked the look of White Edge. Climbing, we passed the shooting lodge, paddling through peat, ice and snow. Up on the ridge, a gale blew. Two people. somewhere in front, left footprints to guide us. Below, and to the right, vast swathes of land waiting for curlews and peewits to nest in the spring. Two herds of red deer were feeding. Out in wilderness were stone circles. On the summit, it was difficult to move forward in the wind, but then we dropped to Curbar Gap.
We followed the wheelchair route to a viewpoint. Before us, the wide Derwent Valley looked serene. To the west, the limestone plateau and its dales, the White Peak. Further north, Win Hill and Kinder, all gritstone, and white with the snow that contrasted with it’s moniker, the Dark Peak. We sidled along Baslow Edge, my first visit since I last climbed these rocks in 1973. We dropped off down the track, passing a herd of Highland cattle, neatly sheltering up against a stone wall. A look over Baslow Churchyard, the snowdrops and a return to the garage via the river.
A walk in the Peak District
We had been out eight hours when we reached the garage. When I checked the distance, it was 17 miles, with 1000′ of climbing. What a setting for a garage, on a truly memorable walk route. Now, where’s my body mechanic and some embrocation?