Three glorious sunny days and temperatures above 22 degrees had not prepared me for the start of my 4th hike.
The bus took us to the Cheshire's Cat and Fiddle Inn,the second highest pub in England and this morning easily the one with the chilliest car park. It was a rush to get the waterproofs on and by the time we started walking the thinnest ladies amongst us were shaking with cold.
Lucky for us we started out with a gradual descent towards the river Goyt and with the Errwood Reservoir winking at us when it wasn't obscured by drizzle or downpour.
I not being among the thin ladies I quickly walked myself reasonably warm, so that I could enjoy the wild landscape and lovely gleaming heather. The first part was along a ridge, so it had wonderful views and plenty of gleaming wet limestone walls to climb.
Some of us are real die-hards!
Now, to you this may be a bleak, grey, dull landscape, but to me it was magical.
We ate our lunch on the ruins of Errwood Hall, and shared it with millions of midges who were not deterred by my Dutch anti-bug spray at all. So I wasn't sorry when Rose pressed on, and we descended even further towards the reservoir.
Now, see this little old lady? She unfortunately twisted her knee but kept her British stiff upper lip rigid and didn't say anything.
And what comes down, must unfortunately go up as well...
But to help us along the sun suddenly came out in force and everyone had to shed their waterproofs pronto. We steamed! When we had climbed the first hill, I was rewarded with this view.
The reservoir, right< not myself!
When we were there two things happened: the rain returned and unfortunately the stiff upper lip notwithstanding, the poor lady could not keep up any longer, and Rose had to devise a short cut yet again (glad it wasn't for me this time). Her plan was to phone for a taxi, walk up to the nearest real road and load the lady in and...
So we huffed and puffed up to the nearest road in the by now pouring freezing rain(took ages)- no signal.
One of the men suggested stopping the only occupied car we met, in which a lady sat planning to walk her dog. And here is something which never ceases to amaze me: she agreed to take the poor dear to the nearest town - British folk are so helpful! Whilst the lady was helped into the front, two of the other walkers quickly furtively shot into the back seat of the car, where the dog looked on in amazement.
The driver looked rather amazed as well, but she drove off anyway.
And the rest of us plodded along, making our way back to Buxton.
To get there, by GPS, we had to navigate a bog, where the only interesting thing we met, besides sure-footed sheep who baa-ed us continuously (no doubt shouting "Turn back, you fools! You are walking straight into a bog!") was these two lovelies.
I love cats, so this sight sort of distracted me from the black muck seeping into my socks.
All in all it was rather longer and wetter than we had anticipated. But that made my whisky back at the hotel all the sweeter.
Right. The nitty-gritty:
We walked 8 miles (13 km) according to the official route, according to my iPhone step counter rather more, and had 1,000 feet (300 m) of ascent.
The weather was not that friendly: mostly drizzle to rain to half an hour of hot sunshine, 18 degrees in the sunshine.
Buxton has toilets and café facilities in the park, all a bit run down but the tea was good.
Join me on my next ramble? I will take you along the Cromford Canal.