Warm sun beamed down on me as I set off at eight thirty in the morning yesterday. What a day. Finally I was into the hills and sharp river valleys of the Peak District. I was so glad I’d missed the Bank Holiday rush as I walked up a near empty Dovedale. Apparently there were cars queuing for an hour the day before (Bank Hol Monday) to get into the car park there. The three mile stretch from Dovedale to Milldale attracts a million visitors a year, according to Wikipedia. Certainly, it looked as if there had been a festival there the day before. I have no idea why a person would travel to a special beauty spot and then treat it like a landfill site. It was mainly the 3 mile, National Trust owned bit that was the worst. I passed beer bottles, dog poo bags, salad cartons, nappies, tissues, cigarette packets, crisp packets, and various items of clothing.
That’s enough complaining. Otherwise it was stunning, and beyond that, into Biggin Dale, I passed a few groups of happy and chatty walkers. I passed hares in a field. There were banks of cowslips. I had no idea that the Peak District is so beautiful. I do feel rather foolish.
At a small food kiosk place, the owner went into the back of her shop to find the biggest piece of lemon drizzle cake she had, as she felt I was deserving of a larger slice than the ones in the window. Very cheering.
I re read some of Alan Sloman’s marvellously entertaining 2007 Lands End to John O’Groats blog the other day. Mid day through the walk, Alan said something along the lines of ‘I’m wondering when this supposed fitness thing is going to kick in?’ I’ve felt that too. I’ve always looked forward to walking, and have managed it easily enough, baring some achey feet issues. But I’ve never felt fresh and bouncing with energy. Finally, yesterday, I felt great, and covered the 18 or 19 miles with a spring in my step. And today is more or less a day off – I’m meeting my sister (really excited about that) – so we have just a couple of hours walking this afternoon. After that it’s only a day before we start the Pennine Way, which is another part of the walk that I have eagerly anticipated from the start.
Here are yesterday’s photos.