In the Peak District (36.20)

My name is Michelle and I’m a book addict.

On our recent 10 day tour of the Peak District and surrounds, I came back with 12 new books. All second hand mind, but 12 of them. Do you know how much 12 books weigh? A lot. Especially when you add them to four books that Husband bought. And the many items of clothing we also bought. We actually had to buy another suitcase to carry home all the stuff we bought. But none of what we bought was new (apart from the suitcase of course, and the three bottles of beer from a particular favourite brewery of ours, and a beer glass souvenir from a particularly fine hostelry), so we can reassure ourselves that we are supporting good causes and don’t the charities need extra support this year? And as I don’t anticipate going back to the office any time soon, I will be needing good warm casual clothes for working from home over the winter and there was a goodly stock of these available. And books of course, I will need lots of books to keep me warm this winter too.

The Book Tower, to be added to my existing “books to read” pile.

It was a week of hiking and eating. From Sheffield, we took the train out to Hathersage – a prosperous little village with lots of nearby hiking trails and – convenient for us – a train station.

We did two long hikes from Hathersage – along Stanage Edge and Bamford Edge, and a shorter hike on the day we arrived, to Higger Tor combined with Padley Gorge, taking the train back from Grindleford. I say the Higger/Padley walk was shorter but shorter in that it was maybe five hours compared to six hours on the other days. Our first discovery in Hathersage is that because it’s at the bottom of the valley, everywhere you want to go is walking uphill. Except if you have a car (which we didn’t), then you can drive to the top of a hill, park in the convenient parking place and just walk along. However we always had at least an hour of walking up to get out of the village before getting to the start of the proper walking.

View en route to Stanage Edge

To get to Hayfield we took the train to New Mills and then a bus to our B&B near Hayfield. On our arrival day we walked the Sett Valley Trail from Hayfield back to New Mills (flat, so nice and easy) and as the weather deteriorate we looked around the shops in New Mills, had lunch and took a bus back to the B&B.

The next day it was also raining in Hayfield so as we are not hardened walkers, we took the bus to Buxton instead to have a look around. It was in Buxton that we did a lot of our shopping, actually. Who needs new? The second hand places there had some very fine clothes. And books. And knick-knacks. It was a good thing we went with two empty bags.

On our final day in Hayfield, the weather improved and we took the Snake Path up Kinder Scout, a long, exhausting hike that took about seven hours in all, and the windy conditions at the top of the climb made us curse that the one day we needed our woolly hats was the one day we hadn’t thought to take them with us. The steep descent was hell on our knees but we were just glad to be going down and heading home.

Kinder Scout

The next day we took the bus back to New Mills and changed to the train to go to Manchester. We opted to spend the last day of the holiday in Manchester because we’d never really been there and it is a significant UK city so we thought we’d check it out. We overcame our issue with Birmingham after a visit there, but what were our feelings about Manchester?

It turns out we didn’t like Manchester.

Admittedly we didn’t have time to do any proper sightseeing because we were busy shopping for a second suitcase to transport all our new purchases. And shopping in a big, unfamiliar city on a Saturday afternoon is always stressful. And even then the shopping was disturbed when the city centre was shut down for a few hours due to a suspicious package. And Manchester didn’t compare well with the small villages and lush green countryside we’d just come from. Husband was grumpy that there didn’t seem to be any ‘real’ beer in any of the pubs, and every single pub seemed to have multiple screens showing football (I suppose that is what Manchester is most famous for.)

View from our Manchester hotel room

When we woke up in the morning to leave there was a car accident outside our hotel. No one was injured but we felt it was indicative of our whole experience in the city. We were definitely ready to go home.

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