Just before 10 o’clock this morning the last couple of cars pulled into a layby on the A515 east of Coldeaton. It was a good job that the layby was a big one, as 30 people accepted Martin’s invitation for his annual Christmas walk.
I’m not sure that Martin remembered to renew his ‘good weather’ subscription when it lapsed earlier this year. Over previous years he has been renowned for having fantastic weather for every walk he has arranged. There have been a few blips in his 100% sunshine record this year, and today’s forecast was decided wet (heavy rain from 9am to 6pm said the forecast when I checked it last night). The straw at which I clutched was the knowledge that the weather in this country is seldom as bad as forecast.
Rain wasn’t falling as we set out along the Tissington Trail, nor as we slip-slid our way down the steep, muddy side of Wolfscote Dale:
The muddiness of that descent was nothing compared to muddiness encountered later!
Wolfscote Dale is a lovely place, but today attention was captured by chatting with others more than by the surroundings. This was a social occasion, after all.
Elevenses marked the time when the rain started to fall, but that didn’t put anyone off their flasks of tea and the CCS and Fudge Brownies provided by Martin and Sue. Mick & I were particularly happy to lighten Martin’s load on both counts, as (in a repeat of last year’s Christmas walk) we had arrived at the start point only to realise that our morning snacks were still at home. Do I need a checklist every time I leave the house? Apparently so!
The river was running high, a couple of herons flew past just metres away, and a bit more mud was encountered, and before we knew it we were approaching Hartington.
The Charles Cotton Hotel was the venue for lunch, and they did a good job of feeding 30 wet and hungry walkers. They had interesting murals too. This one was in the Ladies’ Powder Room and was entitled something like ‘Why Men Shouldn’t Flyfish Naked’:
It’s always a bit of a wrench to leave a warm, inviting place when you know that it’s hammering down with rain outside, but a move had to be made and so move we did. It was something of a bonus that by the time shoes, bags and jackets had been retrieved, the rain had stopped. It stayed stopped too, until a whole 2 minutes into our drive home.
There was, however, a bit of standing water on the return leg:
I was glad to have discovered a pair of long-forgotten waterproof shoes lurking in the depths of my wardrobe before we set out this morning. They served me well.
It was still daylight (just about) when we got back to the start point, said our goodbyes and tootled off in the direction of home. Thanks go to Martin for another excellently organised Christmas walk (during which not a single navigational error occurred!). Same again next year?