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]

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Day 16 - Uttoxeter to beyond Thorpe

Wed, 7 April
Distance: 15 miles (tot: 290 miles)
Number of non-killer dogs that I mistook for killer dog in a completely panicked way: 1

What a lovely day!

It didn't start off too well. As I woke to the alarm at 6am, it was to the sound of a violently dripping gutter. Looking out of the rain-streaked window, I had to wonder what had happened to the fine day that all of the weather forecasts had promised us.

"It'll have stopped by the time we get back to Uttoxeter" I promised, and so it had - albeit only because of the delays getting there.

Those delays originated with the bus journeys, which verged on a farce. Having been duly stood outside the house at the allotted time, the bus didn't arrive. For 25 minutes we stood there, then it was decided that our best bet was to walk down to the village where another bus also runs.

We did eventually reach Burton, just 1 minute after the Uttoxeter bus had left, so having checked the location of the bus stop and the timetable, off for a cup of tea we went.

When the Uttoxeter bus hadn't arrived within ten minutes of its time, it was starting to get a bit annoying. Then we overheard a conversation and it transpired that due to a road closure somewhere in the town, the bus had been rerouted and wasn't starting at the bus station. A bit of signage would have been useful.

When we did find a cryptic sign, we were informed that we needed to be at the stop outside of the Royal Bank of Scotland. No road name. No map as to where that may be. We set off on foot to find it and an hour later than planned finally found ourselves on our bus (and hearing other people talking, it seemed the one before hadn't arrived at all, so we'd lost nothing by our chase around town).

All of that meant that it was 10.45 by the time we set out from Uttoxeter, which is rather later than we would choose to be starting our day.

It wasn't even 11 o'clock when we spotted the big barriers, the crane lifting a bridge into place and the "Path Closed" signs. Oh this wasn't funny!

Having found that we could very easily get around the closure (the bridge not actually being on the path) I'm pleased to say that the rest of the day was rather good.

The green farmland gradually became more undulating and less manicured, and whilst the sun didn't beat down on us all day, it did make a few appearances.

From the dizzy heights of the lumpy bits (we hit an altitude of 270 metres today - by far the highest we've been so far on this trip!), the views were superb and got more and more so the further we progressed along the Limestone Way.

Not all of the route was new to us today. I had walked the stretch to Ellastone with Geoff ( when he walked his LEJOG last year. As we approached Thorpe everything started to look familiar to me too, although Mick had no such recollection. It was when I saw the hotel marked on the map (the Peveril of the Peak) with a firing range immediately behind it that I realised where we were and confirmed that we had indeed walked the locale a couple of times before.

The late start meant a late finish for such a reasonable length of day and we arrived at Ashbourne Heights campsite more than ready to stop.

Being greeted by name in the reception was a bit of a surprise, as we hadn't booked, but it turned out that Jeff (who has come to join us for a couple of days) had arrived before us and pre-announced our arrival.

Having described what we are doing the campsite kindly donated the pitch-fee to Help for Heroes, and in chatting also mentioned a LEJOGer who stayed last week. "Was it Sue Oxley?" I asked, and they confirmed that it was.

We're now ensconced in Susie Superlite (our TN Voyager Superlite - we like Susie!), looking out at a clear blue sky (cold tonight then!) and looking forward to our tea which will be rehydrated and ready to eat any moment now.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Ah, my old home area (my parents lived in Doveridge and I went to school at Denstone). I must have tramped every square inch of footpath between the River Dove near Uttoxeter and Ellastone. You have so much beautiful scenery to come, and I am quite jealous.

    Please, please enjoy yourselves!


  2. Missing bridge nr.1.....and I'm not going to say I told you...shhhh !


  3. That was a good day last year. Has the pub at Ellastone reopened? Lunch in the bus shelter was a poor alternative. One of my memories of our day's walk was that we were so intent on chattering that we took one or two wrong turns!

  4. Dave - I'm happy to report that much enjoyment is going on!

    Theo - First and hopefully last (fingers crossed and all that)

    Geoff - Not wanting to repeat the closed pub disappointment, we didn't go through Ellastone, but cut behind the village, pausing for lunch on a lovely grassy bank whcih was far superior (in the fine weather) to the bus shelter!

  5. Pub in Ellastone is now open serving upmarket food