The least said about this journey the better - suffice it to mention that 4 hours next to a kicking three year old on the lap of his mum was not the luxurious experience Eurostar had promised me...
To start this story off, I am the chubby incognito one in the hat close to lovely Tessa, one of our three leaders. Would you believe that bear hung there all through without complaining the once?
I met another Dutch girl in the taxi from Derby (a proper girl, not a middle-aged one like myself)and we were late for cream tea but just in time for the quick ramble around Thorpe Village. Our hotel, Peveril of the Peak, is situated next to Thorpe Cloud. Cloud is an ancient Saxon word meaning 'peak', Tessa explained, and the next photo will show you why those Saxons named this hill thus!
I would have given it another name; the old Dutch "tiet". But never mind that.
Thorpe was small but sweet, with your typical English church and graveyard.
Perhaps I should explain that I have 'a thing' for graveyards. They do not frighten me at all, and I visit them wherever I travel as I always find them very tranquil peaceful havens.
The Peveril turned out to be a somewhat old-fashioned but very friendly hotel with great food. Let no-one ever dare mention to me that English food is awful!Perhaps it kind-a was in the Fifties (-to Nineties), but nowadays it is good to great.
The next day, up bright and (very) early due to the time difference I had my full English before booting up and boarding the rambler's bus to the Gritstone Edges of Froggatt, Curbar and Baslow.
The names alone made my heart speed up with anticipation! And I wasn't disappointed. The trail along the hill ridge was spectacular (especially for a flat Delta-dweller like myself), with amazing views, blooming heather, huge rock formations and very good company.
As this was my very first organized hike/ramble I didn't quite know what to expect - would I be the odd one out? But the other ramblers turned out to be an extremely friendly bunch.
By the way, my t-shirt reads " You Only Live Once"
After some hours we descended through Chatsworth House park, where it resembled Brighton Beach. Cars spilled over from the carpark into the gardens themselves, somewhat spoiling the view we had of Chatsworth House itself.
I was glad I had visited it before, unspoiled.
From Chatsworth, after lunch underneath a great oak, we had to slog up the hill to Edensor.
Quite a sweet little village, but for me the Gateway to Hyperventilating Hell.
After Edensor we had to climb a series of hills to get to Bakewell,and that 1,300 feet (300 m) ascent almost did me, flat country walker, in. First my head started to pound, then my vision started to waver, I became very short of breath and to top it all our leader Rose set off every time just as I heaved myself up to the others so I didn't get a chance to catch my breath.
In short, I couldn't keep up and was overheating. I panted my distress to another walker, Jane, who took matters in her own hands and shouted towards the front that "the Dutch lady" was in trouble.
By the time Rose had reached me I was kneeling on the grass and almost throwing up. But: I got extra water from the others, some kind man lent me his spare hat (so sorry mate, I have forgotten your name but I will be forever grateful)and Rose decided for my sake to take a short cut to Bakewell through the woods, so I could walk in the shade.
The only snag was that the descend was extremely steep, causing some of the others difficulties in turn...Sorry guys and girls - mea culpa! But it saved me. The hat helped straight away in keeping my head cooler, I got my breath back and the nausea passed to a memory I will not forget in a hurry.
In Bakewell we had 45 minutes to stand in line in the local pub and I bought myself a pint of blissfully cold and sweet cider to get my strength back.
I completed my very first proper Derbyshire ramble by taking a cold shower by choice(another first!)and falling asleep until it was time for our briefing for next day's ramble.
Hey, I did it! But I was sore the next day...whoa.
We officially walked 9 miles (14.5 km) which came down to 24.097 steps for me (it certainly felt more than 14.5 km!!) in sunshine, temp. 23 degrees.
The name of the nice hotel I stayed in is The Peveril of the Peak, Thorpe, Dovedale, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AW, grid reference SK157505.