(Including the tale of the notice on the wall at Chesterfield and the memorial plaque with a hidden cloaking device)
I was intending to catch the 08:40 bus from Sheffield to Kelstedge this morning. It arrived at the stand at 08:15 and the driver let us get on straight away. I thought it might be the 08:10 service running a few minutes late, which only goes to Chesterfield, and so asked the driver. This was probably a mistake because he wouldn't let me use my concessionary travel pass, claiming that I could only use it to the Derbyshire boundary. I know this not to be the case and so clarified things for him. He didn't believe a word I said, but since there was plenty of time he agreed to phone up the depot in Chesterfield. Naturally, they sided with him saying that there's a notice produced by Derbyshire County Council pinned on the wall in the office stating that disability passes can't be used in Derbyshire until 09:30. I explained to him that that only applies to Derbyshire residents; residents of South Yorkshire enjoy an enhanced entitlement.
No joy...I still couldn't get on the bus. There was still enough time for me to march off to the travel information centre and explain what had happened. They agreed with my understanding of the validity of South Yorkshire passes in Derbyshire and two members of staff came to the bus stand with me. The bus driver still wasn't prepared to let me get on; the woman from the enquiry desk even phoned up the depot and explained...but no; I wasn't getting on the bus.
We all returned to the enquiry desk at the travel information centre and team leader Anita (who I need to thank for her polite and efficient service) phoned up the head office of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to check if there'd been any changes: overhearing her side of the conversation it sounded like they were telling her pretty much what I had been claiming all along...that Derbyshire County Council has no authority to change the conditions of use of the concessionary travel passes of South Yorkshire residents. The local authorities in South Yorkshire pay money to the bus operators for us to be able to travel for free before 09:30 on local services which start in South Yorkshire, but go to neighbouring counties.
The person on the other end of the phone suggested that we fill in a form, including the time, the service number and who was contacted, and what they said...and my personal details of course. I should get a written response within seven working days with details of what SYPTE intends to do. I want them to take down that bloody notice at Chesterfield Depot...I think they're all members of a secretive cult there that worships notices produced by Derbyshire County Council: if there was a Roman name for Derby, I'd be able to come up with a new word to describe this nefarious activity...unfortunately the Romans didn't settle anywhere near Derby.
So, I caught the next bus which went to the Peak District, the 218, and got off at Bakewell. I didn't realise it was the second day of the Bakewell Show until I got there. I crossed over the footbridge over the river, intending to take the footpath that goes right next to the show ground; my way was blocked by a burly security guard. This path is marked as a definitive route on Ordnance Survey maps and I don't think the organisers of the show have any right to block access. The guard was probably a contract worker, and not likely to be local, so I thought it wouldn't be worth the hassle...there was another route I could take.
I crossed back over the bridge and took a photograph of some of the dozens of padlocks that have been attached to the railings; I think lovers place them there and then throw the key into the river...not very pleasant for the trout in the River Wye I should think.
I decided to leave town by walking along Coombs Road. It was very busy though with Park and Ride Buses, Horseboxes, policemen, stewards, and dogs. I did notice where I could have easily got in without paying....I think I would have needed to put my mapcase in my rucksack first though
Once I reached the viaduct it became a lot quieter; probably because the metalled road surface runs out here. There were some lovely views here as I gradually climbed uphill, soon to be joined by a walking companion from Darley Dale who stayed with me for a few minutes; he had had to change his travel plans due to the chaos caused by the show...he was planning to go to Buxton.
We parted ways at the head of the valley, yet a few minutes later I was talking to a couple of walkers who were unsure as to if the route we were walking along was a public right of way since its not marked on any maps. I assured them that it is a right of way, and that it's not marked as a footpath, bridleway, or byway on the maps as it's technically still a road, being the old route between Bakewell and Rowsley - this is what my previous walking companion had told me anyhow. They seemed to be amused when I told them that it might be a BOAT; a byway open to all traffic.
I popped into the Peak Village shopping centre at Rowsley for a pot of tea and a slice of apple pie and then continued along the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail to Darley Dale. Quite near to the car park at Peak Rail's depot at Rowsley South station I noticed a memorial plaque incorporated into the gravel surface of the footpath. The name of the man being commemorated was clearly visible. I took a photograph; there's nothing wrong with the photograph...except that the name's vanished!