Sunday, 24 August 2014

Day 3 - A short (but steep) walk and home

I decided not to do the bat walk last night, as when I arrived at the visitor centre about 7:30pm, it was full of parents with their children (as I should have expected). As I was tired from the day's adventure on the hiking trails with the bike, I took the easy option and went to the pub for another drinks - in the Old Nags Head of course. There's nothing wrong with the other pub, it's just a bit more modern and not quite as cosy - and the food is not as good. Still, it's worth a try if you haven't been before! Anyway, back to today.

I slept much better this time, as there was no heavy rain in the night and I was asleep almost instantly from the day's exertions, so I got up about 8:30am to a cup of tea and a breakfast of the the beans I hadn't eaten the night before - waste not want not! The plan for today was to do a bit of a walk that would take me up above the Edale valley looking down, nothing too long and arduous, but something that would stretch the legs.

Before setting out however, I cycled down to the visitor centre and left my bike there to collect on the way down later - rather than walk back down with a suitcase and bike in tow, I would only have half as far to walk with both things, so figured this made sense. Inside the visitor centre I picked up a book of walks around Edale. I know most of them already, having been coming here some years, but I figured there may be something new in there I haven't done before, such as a new route, and I simply couldn't resist the colour coded map in the back showing all the routes over-traced on a pristine white section of Ordnance Survey map.

After finishing at the visitor centre I turned right onto the road and right again to cross the little river that passes Fieldhead campsite - a truly wonderful spot which never fails to inspire me with it's grassy glade next to the running of the stream. I headed out across the field towards Ollerbrook farm, before turning right then left again into open counry - this was a gentle but continuous ascent towards Ollerbrook Clough and Blackwell Plantation. However, I made a left turn through the heather-strewn field towards The Nab, which crests a ridge with fantastic views over the Edale valley and Heardman's plantation.

The switchback of the usual descent brings you back out at Grindsbrook Booth and Grindslow House. However, I took the alternate route which is a bit more direct and involves scrambling down a very steep banked pathway back down into the heart of the valley where Edale Village resides. Once again, the views from up here are sensational, and it's important to have both hands free as you slide down the bushy slope. Still, it's well worth it for the view it affords over the other walkers making the more traditional way up towards The Nab. Still, you'd be very hard pressed to ascend this way, as it's tough going and even on the way down gravity is always threatening to pull you down to ground level. Still, it makes for a fascinating and thrilling downhill run.

Once back down in the heart of the valley, I descended the steps crossing the stream and climbed back out the other side to Grindslow House before heading back to the campsite. I borrowed a tin opener for a third time from a third person in order to cook the soup I'd bought yesterday, rather than eat out or leave food here that I didn't want to carry. I decided to cut my losses and go home early, as all the signs from the weather forecast seemed to suggest that by early evening and tomorrow morning the rain would really be hammering down. I was taking no chances and decided to pack up before nightfall so as not to be packing everything up in the rain. Fortunately I packed up in good time and had time for a nice milky latte at the little cafe by the station before catching the train home. It should be noted here that the cafe near Edale station is nice and pleasant, but has now been taken over by the National Trust. It used to be owned by a woman and her dog who used to cook things from the menu or anything else you may fancy - whilst the choices from the menu are still good, it seems to have lost that 'one-of-a-kind' and homely feel it had before.

Still, nothing stays the same forever, but fortunately the village itself and most of the things that make it appealing haven't changed in the least. The village shop still has products in it that look like they've been on sale since the early 1990's, and the visitor centre still has videos to watch (if not still in the same format as they were when I was a kid). All in all, this has been a fantastic trip and somewhat different to the usual caravan adventures, where I'm almost always accompanied by family or friends. It had been nice just to be on my own doing things in my own way, living an independent yet simple life even if only for a few days. And best of all, I still have the Bank Holiday off tomorrow! Rejoice.

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