Yesterday's weather forecast for everywhere I could reach was for 'showers and strong winds' so I stayed at home...and it remained dry all day in Doncaster, but we did have the strong winds. Today's forecast for the Peak District was for 'heavy rain showers and a gentle breeze' and so I took a gamble and got...steady, persistent rain; thankfully no heavy rain, but no dry spells either.
When I left the house at 07:15 it was drizzling and pretty much stayed that way all day. Twenty minutes later I arrived at the railway station to discover that there were no trains running to Sheffield; this came as an unpleasant surprise to me because I'd checked online and the scheduled engineering works weren't due to start until next weekend - there was a shuttle bus running to Conisbrough, from where trains were then completing the journey to Sheffield.
I get very frustrated when something like this happens. Because of my Asperger's syndrome I've never had a job, therefore my services must not be required; so I assume that everything in the world is running like clockwork. Obviously this isn't the case; so, for example, why couldn't I be employed to tell people at the station what's happening and what their options are? There were no members of staff there when I arrived.
I got my first look at one of the new tram-trains waiting on the platform at Parkgate - it was only a quick glimpse as the train sped by, but it didn't look any different to the existing trams that already operate on the streets of Sheffield.
Travelling on the bus to Foolow I had a long and interesting conversation with three young men who were planning to travel all the way to Buxton and then walk across the moors to Leek.
I left Foolow and walked across the fields to Wardlow Mires and went in Yondermann's Cafe for the first time - it's usually very busy, full of bikers, but today it wasn't. I enjoyed the break from the rain...and the hot mug of tea and the scone served with butter and blackcurrant jam was delicious,. It's never too early for a scone.
I walked down Cressbrook Dale, passing the row of cottages at Ravensdale, and then reaching the much larger village of Cressbrook.
I climbed up to Monsal Head without needing to stop to catch my breath; when I reached the top I noticed that the public toilets there are now closed.
That's quite a few toilets that have recently been closed by Derbyshire Dales District Council. This is not helpful at all; it makes the Peak District a lot less attractive destination to visit. I hope that visitor numbers fall in the areas affected and this forces local businesses to put pressure on the local authority to change its policy, Certainly if I was the person who sells ice creams from a van at Monsal Head I would be demanding a massive reduction in the amount I'm expected to pay for the concession there.
I wasn't desperate for the toilets; I went for a pee in the woods a few minutes later - it's just that I was wearing some waterproof overtrousers and I needed to pull them down before I could get to the zip on my ordinary trousers...obviously it's much better to do this in a toilet cubicle.
It was a straightforward walk to Ashford; when I got there there was a notice inside the bus shelter stating that buses weren't serving the village for the next few days - so I had to continue down to the main road and catch the bus there. There's no shelter, but I only had a few minutes to wait in the rain.
I got to Bakewell and noticed that the Sheffield bus was still waiting at the bus stop, more than ten minutes after it should have left. I rushed to get on but the driver told me it had broken down. The next bus, going back to Sheffield via Chatsworth House arrived almost immediately and I was able to board that.
Back at Sheffield I walked straight on to a coach going directly to Doncaster; it only took about thirty minutes, much quicker than one of the stopping trains [if they'd been running] and not that much longer than an express service.