Catching up with catching up

Has been a long weekend. Saturday’s drive to Brighton / Eastbourne and back was exhausting, and having woken up at 5 am I had planned to hit the sack early. Then at 10 I get a call to go to Fallowfield for ‘trinken’ at The Gin Club w Ioan, Jess, Hannah and Kat. Had a few caipirinhos and mojitos and made it home for 3 am. After 4 hours sleep it was up again to head to the Peak district. We did the Longdendale Trail in glorious weather, and rounded it off with a great pub lunch in the Peel’s Arms, Padfield (with Doom Bar ale, Sharps Brewery). Still have to finish reading/correcting Karen’s 200-page PhD dissertation that I started on the Saturday drive.

Oh, and obviously I’m off to see the Man United v Porto match today; should be great after the heart-stopper 3-2 against Villa on Sunday. Last-minute wonder-goal scorer Macheda will start on the bench, I’m told.

Ladybower hike

Went to the Ladybower reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley, Peak District on Sunday to do the walk along the High Peak ridge, see the Lost Villages, up to Back Tor and then down to Bamford House, through Derwent along the reservoir and back to the car. Co-hikers were Ioan, Jessy, Saadia and Rob.

The reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley are most famous for the fact that they were used by RAF’s 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, to practice their famous Dambuster raid against the Ruhr dams in Germany in 1943. The movie “The Dambusters” was also filmed here.

The hike was exhilarating, snow was predicted but we managed to avoid bad weather on the ascent. All was going swimmingly and jokingly until we reached the exposed moors on the ridges, when we had the fortune to see grouse flapping about and wonderful rock formations. We also saw vicious sleet coming horizontally, sometimes even upwards! My ‘Lifesystems ™’ 100 dB Mountain Whistle, bought at the princely sum of £3.50 and indestructible (Salesperson: “It can even be stepped upon!”), stopped working, leaving us with no method of summoning that rescue helicopter should we have needed it.

And then we sat in a little hollow to consume a modest lunch, when suddenly things turned nasty. The temperature dropped without warning and we lost good men to hypothermia.

We finally made our way down with a huge group of hikers, who had come all the way from Liverpool by coach just to be miserable somewhere other than where they usually are, I suppose.

Hot chocolate and brandy was at the wonderful Ladybower Inn, with great atmosphere and food, and homemade ice-cream. We made it in just in time before a blizzard hit and obliterated everything for 15 minutes.

And for the next adventure, I recommend the BBC’s excellent Railway Walks on disused and abandoned railway tracks that criss-cross the UK, which the even more excellent “hiker’s totty” Julia Bradbury showcased on telly yesterday.