At the weekend I went up to Derbyshire to go walking with some friends. It was very windy, although I wasn’t expecting bad weather.
I got a coffee at a small cafe near Sheffield station, the barrista said ‘here you go love’ when handing over my drink, and that cheered me up immensely. I miss these friendly northerners.
I met Daoud at the station, he was dressed up in a bright red boiler suit, of course.
We stayed overnight at a friend’s house, some of us pitched tents in the garden, one person slept in their car, others slept inside on the floor. We tried to maintain some semblance of social distancing although this whole endeavour was risky from the very start.
The YCL usually holds a summer camp in Edale around about now, and this was in the loosest sense a kind of unofficial summer camp.
The night in the tent was fine, thanks to mild weather. I only got woken up by the milk float early in the morning… and hey, these villages still have morning milk deliveries!
One of my tent poles has split, and I sorely need to replace it or fix it with tape. This was the third time I’ve been out camping with it like this, and it gets less and less sturdy with each outing. I don’t think it’ll hold up a fourth time.
The following morning we stocked up on supplies and set out from Chinley. The plan was to roam about the mountain, pick a spot for wild camping and pitch up tents when it got dark. After all, this area is a landmark in the history of trespass, and camping rights are back on the popular agenda at the moment.
About an hour into the march, it started raining heavily.
The rain fell in thick layers, it wasn’t long until we were all totally drenched. We abandoned the remainder of the hike and curved slowly back towards Chinley.
We went to dry off in the pub, and even after a couple of hours (and a few drinks) I still had a lingering uncomfortable feeling from having spent too long in wet clothes slowly draining my body heat. All I could think of was how far away I was from my cosy bed. So I split off from the group and headed back home. Chinley station has a heated waiting room on the platform, I felt very satisfied sitting in there and warming up while waiting for a train out of the Hope Valley.
I follow the blog of someone who sometimes writes in gory detail about how walking affects her physically, and what it feels like to give up on a hike. Admittedly this little failed outing was nothing compared to a proper multi-day hiking expedition. I recovered with the kind of deep sleep which comes after a long period of physical exhaustion. I also caught another case of trench foot, after having left my feet to rot in damp socks for two days. I can still feel the residual numbness of damaged nerves in my toes.