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]

Saturday 5 November 2011

From Glossop (Take 2)

If you were standing in a pub at gone 9.30pm tonight (and not even a local pub) and someone said to you “Do you want to come on a quick backpack tomorrow morning?”, and if you hadn’t had any of your backpacking kit out of the cupboard since May, how would you react? I think that my mind would immediately spring to the negatives of how difficult it would be to get home, get enough sleep, sort out the kit, pack and get over to the Peak District in the timescales.

Martin, however, was apparently unfazed by the lateness of my announcement in Stockport on Wednesday night, that the trip that I’d hypothesized about earlier in the week was now on, and he agreed to meet us in Glossop in under 13 hours time.

And so, for the third week in three we managed to get out for a quick jaunt.

Thursday 3 November

Distance: 11.75 miles

Weather: Some rain, some dryness, some early darkness

By the time we left home at 9am on Thursday morning I had come up with a route and Martin had not only located and packed all of his kit (including new tent and rucksack) but had also arranged for parking, tea and cake at a friend’s house in Glossop.

A good time was had chatting over tea and cake with Paul, but as 11.30 approached we knew that we had to get going. Only 5.5 hours of daylight remained, and as Martin was using a tent that he’d not even looked at before, there was a certain imperative to reach our destination and find a pitch within daylight hours.

Given the very late arrangement of this trip, I hope that I can be forgiven for my lack of imagination in route choice. We headed up to Doctor’s Gate, turned left onto the Pennine Way, went down the Alport Valley, up to the trig point and down Alport Castles. In fact, the exact route Mick & I had taken in the opposite direction just five days previously. I still maintain that it’s one of my favourite bits of walking in the area, though, and so I was perfectly happy to be walking it again.


All a bit grey as we head up to Doctor’s Gate from Glossop

It was just a bit of a shame that the weather wasn’t playing ball, as, after a bit of sunshine earlier in the day, it started raining on us as we headed down the River Alport. Things had become rather more soggy underfoot in the last week too, although thanks to the freakishly warm weather I didn’t get cold feet even though I was wearing slippers without even the precaution of waterproof socks.

With the bad weather came dull light and by three o’clock it seemed like it was dusk. That light level didn’t improve as the rain stopped (at which point the bits of forest opposite started steaming nicely). My calculation of the hours of daylight didn’t prove to be misguided, and it wasn’t until gone quarter past four that the sun briefly made an appearance as it disappeared behind Kinder Scout and the sky to the west took on a certain glow.


With the light levels getting really low, we dived off the path to detour over to the last stream before where we would camp (but it seems that no photo was taken of said stream). Peaty water (but positively sparkling compared to last week’s strong-tea coloured specimen) was collected and just ten minutes or so more yomping took us to a patch of woodland with some nice lush green grass that, in the semi-darkness, looked almost flat.

Our tent was thrown up in double quick time before we went to inspect the components of Martin’s tent (a Nemo Obi 1p, on loan from Webtogs). We soon had it sorted, pitched and in a nice state of taughtness, by which time it was quarter past five, and night-time:


We did get around to pegging Vera down before bed!

I was happily and snug in the down trousers which hadn’t made it into last week’s packing list (and had been missed). It wasn’t that down trousers were required from a temperature point of view; it may be November, but the temperature was 12 degrees in our tent, and it got warmer as the night went on.

As well as tea-drinking, cooking (if you can call boiling water and adding dehydrated ingredients to it) and eating, I managed to read (and rant about) a good chunk of a Cicerone walking guide. In the meantime, Mick did what he usually does in tents in winter – he promptly fell asleep.

Thanks to the shelter of the woodland, all was quiet in our campsite, and I think that I was the last awake, not putting my book down until the exceptionally late hour of 8.30pm…

…to be continued…

1 comment:

  1. Very good, Gayle. You've beaten me to it, I'm just sorting through piccies (I've none of the spring) but won't have my report up for a day or two.