There are other excellent and more timely reports on this fun day out, so I’m just providing a brief overview here before moving back a couple of weeks to try to catch up with some overdue postings.
Gayle’s report, composed literally as the walk was finishing, is here.
Alan R managed to raise himself from his sick bed just in time to take part and his report, which sadly doesn’t seem to offer much for his tractor spotting fans*, is here (‘Martin’s Christmas Mud Fest’).
My short slideshow (not many pictures were taken) is here.
Last year’s report on the same walk, with route details and more information, is here.
28 sundry strollers set off gently in unusually persistent rain, along the Tissington Trail, whose surface had the texture of gluey cement which was soon replaced on our boots by the gluey mud on the descent to Mill Dale, where we were led by the unlikely apparition of a mud loving vampire dressed in a Sherlock Holmes outfit (see above).
The stupid and lazy ploughed through a flood beside the bulging River Dove, leaving them with rather moist underparts. The more sensible avoided this obstacle and even occasionally gathered for a head count (I was taking my leadership duties seriously). All 28 were still in tow by the time we approached the junction between Wolfscote and Biggin Dales.
Then it stopped raining and some blue sky appeared, as is customary on most of my walks. Spirits were high as we ploughed on past a heron and a kestrel to the narrow bridge that marks the entry to Beresford Dale and the last lap to the Charles Cotton Hotel, where we arrived early and left late, after the usual sumptuous Christmas lunch. Thanks go to all the staff who looked after us so well, albeit they failed to nail the vampire, who very strangely seemed to run out of puff on the latter stages of the subsequent stroll back to the cars in the dark. Before the night had completely engulfed us we passed through a field of sheep notable, as last year, for the newborn lambs that were tottering around in the gloom.
Then there was much fumbling with Christmas cards in the dark, and we went home. Thanks for coming, everyone – it’s great to see you, albeit only once a year in some cases!
A quiz took place at lunch time. Mick, Gayle and Jeff won it, and they lightened my bag by relieving me of some prizes. If anyone would like to have a go at this quiz – and there’s another prize on offer for the ‘best’ submission by 31 December – it’s reproduced here.
Next year’s walk will be on Sunday 8 December 2013, with further details not yet decided.
* Alan’s blog has an astounding number of followers due to his lifelong obsession with tractors and the tantalisingly occasional iconic images with which he teases those fans!