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A long way from home . . or, Plan B!

21 Oct

Around Hartington (5)Time for a bike ride – but somehow my heart and my legs just aren’t in it. What’s more news from home suggests I might be of more value back there – Ripley is missing me and needs to go for walks. A quick 10 kilometres this morning will do it, then I pack my kit up and leave early. There’s still plenty of loveliness in the Peaks, and I route myself down to the south. Around Hartington (2)Reality starts to kick in – a half hour delay on the M1, stuck behind a tanker for five miles.. although I do manage to remember to pick up some oatcakes in Ashbourne.

A brief stop to lay some flowers on my mother’s grave…

Photo 2020-10-20 17.08.51And home to a pupper who’s very glad to see me.

It’s been a great adventure. Strange, because of the COVID-19 crisis, but sometimes that’s been an advantage. There are more adventures to be had on this beautiful island, more wonders and marvels to see. I need to travel in Wales a little more, and there’s still a big tour of Scotland to be done, but I feel as if I can at least tick one of my dream goals for 2020 off the list.

TimSignature

Hartington – Ashbourne – Crick – Home

On the road again.. or, Northumberland to Derbyshire in one not so easy lesson

21 Oct

Back in the car again, and time to head back south. As you might expect, I don’t go the easy way..

Cross the Pennines (19)First off I drop down back to Alston, following a similar route to yesterday’s bike ride. It’s funny seeing where the cycle path crosses the road and dodges back into fields and woods on the old train track. The South Tyne disappears, and I find myself alongside the Tees in Teesdale, a wide glacial valley that takes me all the way down to infamous Barnard Castle. I’d wanted to stop at High Force waterfall, but there seems to be a film crew in attendance, so it’s onwards again. Now it’s time to zig again, and I cross right back over for a brief flirtation with Cumbria and dropping into County Durham before zooming back across the North Pennines for a while.

There’s something tremendously peaceful about travelling alone – there’s no need for words, no need to remark on what I’m seeing. Our words can limit our experience, and sometimes, it’s not necessary to use them – beauty just coalesces in a thumping torrent just above my heart, threatening to overwhelm it with majesty and gorgeousness.

Cross the Pennines (5)Butter Tubs pass is almost overwhelming – up until this point the roads have been beautiful, tranquil, lovely – but Butter Tubs cannot fail to impress with twists and turns to map onto to sheer drops and high cliffs.

Hawes (2)A stop for coffee in Hawes – the town comes to a standstill when hundreds of sheep are driven through the main street, herded by four collies and one little collie pup in training. This is quite clearly a regular town occurrence.

Ribblehead Viaduct (2)Another quick stop to photograph the Ribblehead viaduct snaking across the valley, and then time to drop down to the Peaks. We’re out of the parks, but my old friends Skipton and Keighley are still lovely, and there’s even a pretty bypass route round Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield, although I’m continually fighting Batman the satnav: once we’ve agreed a route he then decides he knows better and reroutes us without telling me he’s changed his mind.  We are going to have words at some point. “Turn around when possible.. let’s keep the Joker guessing”.

To The Peaks (13)Finally we edge into the Peak district, rising to cross Holme Moss. It’s windy here, and I’m not hanging around. Now it’s reservoir country. half a dozen reservoirs mark my path on the way down to Glossop. Batman routes me away from the route I wanted to take – on retracing my steps I find that Snake Pass is actually shut, and so as evening gathers I drop down into Chapel-en-le-Frith and then into my home for the night at Hartington Hall. It’s been a long, beautiful and awe inspiring day.

TimSignature

Once Brewed – Alston – Middleton in Teesdale – Barnard’s Castle – Reeth – Hawes – Ingleton – Keighley – Holmfirth – Glossop – Hartington

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