The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 29 January 2012


(Subtitle: Work is a Restrictive Practice)

By the amount that I’ve posted on this blog so far this year (i.e. nothing), I’ve probably given the impression that we’ve had a month of laziness. Although our mileage isn’t as high as previous Januaries (I refer you to the subtitle of this post), we have been out and about a little bit; I just haven’t written about any of it (yep, that subtitle again).

So here’s a bit of a taster of what we’ve been up to in January:

New Boots!


I started the year with new boots! Father Christmas had bought me a new pair of Brasher Superlites to replace my old knackered pair (I would say ‘worn out’ except that it’s more that I never cleaned or treated them and the leather finally cracked, but they did last five or six winters of muddy local walks). Alas, Brasher felt the need to change the design beyond recognition in the intervening years. The new pair no longer look new, but I fear they’re never going to be quite as slipperesque in their comfort as my old pair.

5, 19, 27 January – it’s borderline whether these counted as proper walks, as on these three dates I walked from the edge of Derby to work at Pride Park and back again. It’s not a walk without merit; almost the entirety can be done on off-road cycle paths and some of the length follows the river Derwent. There were storms raging on 5 January. The river was mightily high and I got blown along, glad that the wind was mainly behind me; I was even more glad that the winds had calmed down before the return leg of the journey.

8 JanuaryMartin mentioned that he and a group of other people were going to go for a 10-mile (or so) walk from Taddington, which seemed like a jolly good idea to us, so along we went. Martin & Mick took it in turns to adopt ridiculous poses:



Photo of Mick is copyright Martin Banfield

I chatted myself hoarse:


(Sorry JJ & Viv; I obviously don’t get out in company enough!)

And in all honesty I didn’t pay an awful lot of attention to our surroundings, except for the old mine buildings:


And the skein of geese:


You can read Martin’s full account of this outing here.

11 January – I noticed that there were crocuses out on the estate, which struck me as being rather early.

IMG_3669The snowdrops took a couple of weeks longer to appear. I looked more of a sight that usual on this outing; people stared quite a lot


You can’t quite see the half-a-reel of tape over my face!

(I was on my way home from the hospital; the patch came off a couple of hours later).

14/15 January – Finally a bit of crisp winter weather! Mick vetoed my suggestion, made bright and early on the Saturday morning, that we should quickly pack our backpacks and get ourselves up to the Peaks for a quick overnight, but we did get out for a couple of local walks.


Gorgeous conditions!

I’d already done my ‘local villages’ circuit the previous weekend and noted three big trees which had been downed by the late December/early January storms. Someone was busy cutting these up for firewood:


21 January – It had been a week short of 3 months since we’d set foot on Cannock Chase! Well overdue a visit, that’s where we headed on the 21st, spending a good chunk of the day walking a 13.5-mile route. Not much had changed except for the complete disappearance of one of the forestry plantations on our route. No photos from this walk, other than this sign which had me confused as to what it is they’re trying to convey:


Is it where cyclists arriving by car should park? Is it where cyclists should go, and also where there’s a car park? Or is it a cycle park badly described?

22 January – With spray coming off the river, a swell on the canal and white-tops on the lake, it was another breezy weekend as we did another repetition of one of our local circuits. I even had a gust blow the tea out of my cup! Of all the interesting things I could have photographed on this outing, this is the only snap to be found on the camera:


Not an interesting snap, and taken purely because a new footpath-fingerpost had appeared during the previous seven days. There’s currently no evidence that anyone else uses this path; maybe it will suddenly gain popularity by the addition of this post?!

27/28 January – We were always going to go somewhere this weekend, but it was gone 9pm on Thursday night when I decided that Llangollen was where I fancied. I think that deserves a post or two all of its own…

So, there’s January been and (almost) gone, with just a smidge over 100 miles walked.


  1. Nice to see some new signs going up - might get more folk out of the door away from Jeremy Kyle - then again...

    Love the Cyclists' Car Park. Brilliant sign.

    100 miles in a month, green with envy folks!

  2. 100 miles in Jan - that'd be a good total for me and Missyg. We nearly made it, but it did include a week away!

    BTW - didn't realise you were Derby-based - I was born and brought up round there!