“Let’s go to Lathkill Dale” suggested the email from Graham.
So it came to pass that a dynamic quartet winged their way, in Polly – her first outing of this nature, to Monyash.
Luckily we arrived early. That meant we could enjoy a mug of coffee outside The Old Smithy. It was sunny and warm, or should I say ‘warm in the sun’ (cool elsewhere…).
Six others arrived. The route march commenced. I know I should be in training for the TGO Challenge, so I could just about keep up.
Eventually we re-grouped by a field of brightly coloured flowers.
The Boss had obviously fallen behind schedule as some road walking was now required. The pace picked up again and we were soon striding into Middleton, distracted only by a hungry horse.
Richard tried to make a getaway, but the old Rover 100 defeated his locksmith’s skills.
We were clearly in a race against the brown trout to reach the hostelries of Youlgreave in time for lunch?
Surely now time for a break? A splinter group fell briefly behind, refuelling with chocolate caramel shortbread on the hoof. Our leader usually stops for this, but not today.
On we dashed.
“Can we stop, please?” bleated a weary soldier with a neck problem.
“Only 5 minutes, just around the next corner” was the response.
20 minutes later:
It took nearly as long to complete the afternoon’s 7 km as it had taken to walk 13 km in the morning.
Tea/beer/hot chocolate/cakes all went down well at The Old Smithy, to which we had returned by 3.30, well exercised after this 20 km dash in 4.5 hours (Naismith would have taken rather longer) with 600 metres of ascent.
Here’s the route, which is not mandatory, ie footpaths to Middleton are permitted as an alternative to our rush along the roads, as is a pub stop in Youlgreave. Lathkill Dale is highly recommended.
There’s a short slide show here.