This is the little story of the Hike Norfolk camping trip, but since it’s a private trip and I’ll get into trouble if I try to give all of the behind the scenes gossip away, I’ll only give a taster of the event. Thirteen of us went on the trip and it was a three night stay in Edale which is in the Peak District in Derbyshire and where I started a walk from last year. Here’s day one.
I was pleased that the tent was still there when I woke up. Admittedly, it had to still be there since I was lying in it and the tent was so small that it couldn’t easily blow away. I hadn’t packed with great care (as usual) so wasn’t exactly snug overnight, but I hadn’t experienced any great difficulties. I had though pitched my tent over at least two pine cones (and a big twig) and that was a reminder to myself to carefully check the ground in future. To be honest, when erecting the tent I was more focused on ensuring there were no snakes in the nearby shrubbery that I overlooked the pine cone situation. I’ll put my thoughts about camping into the final post in this little series, that topic won’t be neglected.
The start of the Pennine Way and also the beginning of our walk for the day. I decided that as the walk was only eight miles that I wouldn’t bother carrying a bag and I’d just eat my lunch before setting off to save carrying it. This is a new tactic of mine and I like it, just me and my water bottle.
The start of the walk, a gentle slope in the footlands of the mountain range that we were tackling that day.
I struggle to eat lamb as I find them so adorable. This one looked so sweet, adorable and lovely that I called it Mia and she liked that (I mean the actual sheep, not Liam’s baby Mia). I’d add that I don’t technically know that the sheep was a she, but it made the naming process easier if I assumed that.
I’m a big fan of paving on hills if I’m being honest. I expect mountain purists would be horrified at that, but I’d have a set of steps up every mountain if it was up to me. With regular flat bits with Greggs or another cafe or pub on. I’d add that this isn’t the official policy of the Ramblers or the LDWA.
The walk towards Jacob’s Ladder, in an area where I still didn’t have phone signal.
This is Jacob’s Ladder, which I know as being the location where I get phone signal back after being in the Valley of Mobile Signal Death. Wikipedia notes that “in the 18th century Jacob Marshall farmed the land at Edale Head, at the top of what became known as Jacob’s Ladder. He cut steps into this steep section of the route up to the Kinder plateau”. I have no idea whether this is true or not.
I took a similar photo of this sign last year that I made the main photo image of the LDWA’s long distance path Facebook group. Do join if you use Facebook!
The good weather started to dissipate as we summited the mountain and entered the clouds. Dave Morgan will probably want to correct that to “walked up the slope of a small hill”, but I’m sticking to my words. I estimated the height of this to be around 3,000 metres, but it appears that it’s actually around 500 metres and that Ben Nevis is only 1,500 metres, so I clearly got muddled up somewhere with how far I thought I had climbed up.
The views from one of the mountain peaks over Derbyshire, and indeed probably beyond.
We decided to take a slightly different route to our walk of the previous year, which this time involved walking along a riverbank. In places the riverbank seemed to have collapsed which meant some traversing over gushing rivers that I considered to be as wide as the River Ganges in full flow. Following the path proved to be quite difficult, but I enjoyed this orienteering type challenge.
Another water crossing we had to deal with and there were quite a few. Some of the group were quite nimble over these, but I won’t go into details.
Some of the terrain we walked on.
OK, I’ll admit that we had a little problem here as we were slightly lost. Technically we knew where we were, but we didn’t know where the path was and it’s fair to say that this isn’t an ideal situation. Fortunately, we had professionals on the team to get us sorted. Thanks Ian! I was glad that someone had a map and real compass, although there wasn’t much point in me having those as I get confused if there isn’t a blue dot on a screen telling me where I am. To be fair though, it’s hard to get lost on the top of a hill in Norfolk, so my navigational skills are slightly different (and mostly involves finding the nearest pub that serves decent beer).
We didn’t see anyone for over an hour. Primarily as we weren’t on a path.
After Ian got us back on track and onto an actual path we then descended and I thought that the views were really beautiful. My bravery was noted by several people on multiple occasions (well, two people twice).
Back down the steps to the campsite. The eight mile walk had turned into around twelve miles, but I’m a hardened walker (on the flat anyway) so I decided this was fine.
I kept waiting by my tent (well, not for hours, I wasn’t that bothered) for a train to go by and here it is.
I’m a huge advocate for the pub industry and write negative things about them very sparingly, primarily as I rarely have any cause to do so. The welcome at the Rambler Inn was though hostile (actually the most hostile I’ve experienced at any British pub), although fortunately our group of six (the rest of the group were at the campsite as they wanted to sit outside in the cold for reasons known only to them) were spared the brunt of what I heard being offered to others. We asked for a table inside and were told no and that he wouldn’t be breaking the law by allowing us in as we were clearly from more two households. Firstly, we weren’t clearly from more than two households, but it’s irrelevant anyway, the law says “six people or two households”. But, none of us were going to mention this or argue, we just sat outside which was fine as there was a heated area. A welcome of “hi there, table for six but we’ve only got outdoors, is that OK?” would have been my personal ideal here. To be extra fair to the pub, perhaps the staff member on the front door had faced some troublesome groups over the day and was worn down by it, so I’ll be forgiving (but still feel obliged to recount my experience as it was the most extreme I’ve ever faced in the hospitality industry).
As an aside, on Monday morning I was walking by the pub and a staff member ran out to confront a guest to tell them they were leaving without paying. The customer seemed bemused and mentioned that his wife was still inside and they weren’t leaving yet. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed this sort of thing either, the staff member seemed apologetic and said something about the booking company not making it clear that they didn’t take payment and the pub couldn’t access the card details. To be honest, this sounds a great pub that I’d like to stay in, I suspect I’d get very many stories. Equally, I can hardly stay there now I’ve written this, so we’ll let that lie there.
The ordering process at the pub was via app, which worked perfectly for me. But there’s a flaw in the app, which the poor staff member had to explain to at least two tables, where you can’t use the saved card feature and have to retype the card numbers in again, otherwise it just rejects the order. Easily fixed though and I do appreciate that the pub had made the effort to have an app going, and technical difficulties with these aren’t rare at the moment. I tried the Farmers Blonde from Bradfield Brewery and the Wainwright from Marston’s Brewery, both perhaps unexceptional, but acceptable and well-kept.
The fish and chips was served as a generous portion, although the batter was tasteless. The fish was though well cooked and tasted of a good quality, with the addition of a charred lemon being a nice touch. The batter wasn’t though greasy which is a positive, with the chips being fluffy inside. The mushy peas were bland, but it was all perfectly edible and served at the appropriate hot temperature. Staff despatched customers to go and get their own condiments from the front of the inn, but these were plentiful. Most of our group (but not me, I had more bloody sausage rolls* to eat at the campsite) also ordered the dessert of sticky toffee pudding, which was excellent and keenly priced at £5, so I’d say that the food was overall fine and the prices weren’t excessive.
Two of us tried to get a table inside for drinks, but they were still full, so as it was getting cold we walked back to the camp-site.
*when I say bloody sausage rolls, I meant I really got over-excited and over-bought them at Morrison’s, they didn’t literally have blood on them.
Back in the party tent, this was surprisingly nice. It felt like a guilty pleasure, in the same way that I consider occasionally drinking Hooch to be. I shouldn’t admit that, but there we go….. Decadent craft beer from world class breweries is still my favourite tipple, I don’t want anyone think that my standards are plummeting.
And that was the end of the second day of the trip, all really rather lovely.