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  • Writer's pictureJane Smith

Day 42 - Tissington to Hurdlow

A difficult night with the heat, but I must have slept a bit, as I dreamt that I was going to walk the Gareth Malone walking trail. I woke before I got the detail of what that would entail, a song on every stile perhaps.

It was such a relief to have lower temperatures and a breeze this morning, and to be starting walking at a time that could be considered approximately normal.

Because I stopped a little earlier than planned yesterday, I looked again at the route for the day, and discovered that there is a walking route from Tissington that would mean a slightly shorter total. It was commented on favourably by the owner of our Air BnB in Parwich, so I rerouted our plans for today, crossing a ford en route that had attracted a duck party.

The Tissington Trail is another mixed use leisure track on the site of an old railway line. The line closed in 1963, and the conversion to the trail was one of the first in the country. There are two legs, one from High Peak, and ours which originated in Ashbourne. As with all of these tracks, it was well defined and good under foot for the whole way. David joined me today, the first walking company I’ve had for a week. He was very pleased to luck out with a straightforward day!

Although it was even walking, there was a gradual incline for the first two thirds. If only all hills were like this, gentle, almost imperceptible. We admired the skills of the Victorian navvies to build it so effectively. I also observed the way that the railway had been created by them hacking through the limestone. It had a chewed quality, compared to the smooth lines of the bridges that they had later built. I also wondered about how this huge engineering project was received then, whether there was the ambivalence then that there is towards HS2 now. I guessed it might have been more excitably received in the name of progress.

I had been thinking how the heat of the last few days, and the corresponding early starts, had meant that I have not met many people over the last week. As this crossed my mind, I was stopped by Moira, John and David who had spotted my TVAA T-shirt. It emerged that Moira works for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance, as operations support. It was great to chat to her about her role, and also to see her husband and son’s pride in her work. Her team won the Charity Team of the year awarded by the umbrella Air Ambulance organisation for the support they gave during lockdown.

We continued down the track, which varied between leafy tunnels and then open views. This countryside is White Peak, named after the light coloured limestone. The buildings and intricate stone walls seem part of the landscape, as if they’ve grown organically.

As in previous trails, there are refreshment stops and bike hire enterprises along the way. At the excellently named Parsley Hey we bought a coffee from a girl who looked close to tears behind the counter. She appeared to be having a terrible day, and her colleague who was looking at her phone instead of assisting was probably not helping matters. Poor kid. Whilst getting ready to leave, I was approached by Emma, who had noticed the poster on my rucksack. We had a great chat, she had come down for a cycling holiday which had been curtailed by the heat. We agreed that sitting in the shade with a book instead of hot cycling also counted as a holiday.

From there I walked a distance intently looking at my watch, so that I could see the exact moment that I had walked 10.25 miles. That meant that my cumulative total had reached 500. That’s not yet half way, but it felt like a fantastic milestone, even though the Proclaimers have made me quite well aware that there’s at least 500 to go. I got David to take an understated shy photo.

This was the first day that David has left a car at one end of a walk and then needed a taxi to get us back to retrieve it. This proved more taxing (see what I did there?) than anticipated. One company quoted us £75 for the 12 mile journey. But we found a more reasonable one which would pick us up from the pub we’d arrived at, allowing us to have a great lunch whilst waiting. Result.

An excellent conversation with the very friendly and chatty taxi driver on the way back, where he told us that there were only 3,000 people living in the whole of Northumberland. And that he didn’t understand why the Scots wanted devolution given that they have all moved to England. As with the taxi driver last week who told me that Birmingham didn’t exist before 1945, politeness won, and we just nodded. He dropped us in Tissington car park, where we had started this morning and where I finished yesterday. This caused a little confusion to some of my dearest people. The inner circle of those who are most important to me get a notification every day when I arrive safely at my next destination. I send this using a satellite phone that is part of my armoury of safety provisions. Today’s message was sent as we arrived in the car park. I didn’t consider that those who really care about me might look at the link that is also sent with the message, which pinpoints exactly where I am. And therefore see that I was in the same place as yesterday. Questions were asked about whether I’d actually done any walking today….

It took me a while to connect to the satellite, and by the time I returned to the car I found David chatting to Zena and Hilary, telling them about my walk. Hilary leads a local U3A walking group, and they both live in Buxton. We swapped walking stories, and they seemed interested in the trek. By the time I got home they had been kind enough to sponsor me. What lovely people.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I’ve had trouble with my right leg for a fortnight. The pain was initially horrible, and has gradually receded. But because it’s still there, I thought it would be a good idea to see a physio whilst I had David with me to drive me there. I approached Tamsin of Bakewell Physiotherapy yesterday. She rang me late in the evening to talk me through the problem, and then opened her clinic specially for me this evening. She was so incredibly reassuring and helpful, and then donated her fee to the charity. Her view is that I’m ok to continue, and that the measures I’ve taken so far have been along the right lines. The relief was huge, and I couldn’t be more grateful for her expert kindness.

Full of relief, we drove from Matlock back to Parwich, enjoying driving through the gorgeous village of Winster on the way, and remarking on the military operation that is involved setting up for the Y-Not festival.

Back to Parwich for a final meal at home before David leaves in the morning. It’s going to be very tough seeing him go.


Distance travelled: 11.5 miles

Total ascent: 700 feet

Calories burned: 1400

Local tipple - lime and soda. I know, crazy, right?

Lunch at The Royal Oak, Hurdlow - good

Teriyaki salmon with broccoli and rice

Video of the day

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