Today was the first time I've been walking in the Peak District when I couldn't use my ENCTS pass to travel for free on the train between Doncaster and Sheffield. I only decided to do this because I was going walking with Chris from the Leeds Adult Asperger's group. It was a very long and tiring journey and I won't be doing it again unless I'm meeting up with him, and possibly other people, from the group. I was shattered when I reached Fox House, where I was picked up in the car.
Right from the beginning the day didn't get off to a good start. I was in the town centre on my way to the bus station when I realised that I'd forgotten my map; I know the area of the Peak District where I was planning going walking very well and so wouldn't need the map merely for the purpose of navigation, but nonetheless I decided to turn around and go home to get it just in case we were to have an accident and I'd need to provide accurate location details using map co-ordinates. It meant having to walk half a mile extra though.
There were a lot of people waiting for the Buxton bus at Sheffield; it was only a small bus that turned up and everyone just about fitted on. There were children sitting in the doorwell and rucksacks stacked precariously up against the left-hand side of the windscreen - I did get a seat though.
I struggled to stand up and get off at Fox House. I had to lean forward and grab a rail with both hands, then reach up as high as I could with my left hand and lurch forward and then upwards; having to twist round and then reach down to use the top of the seat for balance...I felt like I was a demented pole dancer trying out some new moves for a sexy routine at a sleazy nightclub later in the day. This fantasy/illusion was suddenly shattered when I simultaneously pulled muscles in my lower back and groin area.
When the bus stopped I had to make room for me to bend down and pick up my rucksack. The children in the doorwell stood up and moved out of the way so that the doors could swing open. There wasn't very much room at all, and of course I was standing up; probably not the most sensible thing for me to have done, but I needed to stand up in order to press the button for the bus to stop. One of the children knocked the rucksacks over and they then tumbled into the doorwell. Somehow, and I can't recall the exact order of events, the driver managed to get the doors to open and those of us who wanted to get off at Fox House managed to do so.
It was 09:50 and Chris was due at ten o'clock. I walked through the car park and enjoyed a lovely view of the Burbage Valley.
Chris was only a few minutes late; I used the time to do some stretch exercises and check that my pulled muscles wouldn't be too much of a hindrance. I seemed to be okay.
We drove in the car to the parking area on Sir William Hill Road, near to the transmitter tower.
We set off and walked across Eyam Moor, heading for the hamlet of Leam. There were some lovely views of Froggatt Edge and we posed for some photographs, using the timer function, with the Edge as a spectacular backdrop.
At Leam we had to walk along a road for a few minutes and then turned left and took the track leading towards Bretton Clough.. I thought it was very pretty down in the bottom of the valley with the trees showing varying degrees of new growth and the speckled effect of the sunlight, Chris said he preferred the view looking down into the clough from high ground. We found a sunny, and sheltered, spot to eat our sandwiches and about half an hour later we were climbing up to the road that leads to Bretton, and the Barrel Inn - the highest pub in Derbyshire.
I ordered a Diet Coke and I treated Chris to a glass of rather exotic cider. We took our drinks outside and walked over to the viewing point, but sat on the grass, and then on the seat when it became vacant. We then read the panorama board and I identified the locations for Chris.
Chris wanted to be back to the car for three o'clock and so I needed to amend our route. We decided to walk past Stanage House farm and loop round and across the nearest part of Eyam Moor...and arrived back at the car at half past two. We probably still could have got back in time by taking the longer route; it worked out to my advantage a few minutes later at Hathersage though, when after getting out of the car on Station Road and taking a photograph of the picturesque fingerpost sign I turned around the corner and saw about a dozen people standing at the bus-stop. I'd been assuming that I'd have to wait forty minutes for the next bus, but the previous bus was over twenty minutes late and still hadn't arrived. Knowing that it would take a few minutes for everyone to board I knew I'd got time to go to the toilets.
The journey on the bus back to Sheffield, and then on the X78 service to Doncaster was a lot more pleasant than the outward journey...it really needed to be.