Tuesday 22 November 2011

Review: Rab Bergen Hardshell Jacket £125 – 22/6/11

As we all know, the British weather can be a contrary thing; fine and sunny one moment, pouring with rain the next, and with the ability to flip flop from one to the other at barely a moments’ notice. “Four seasons in one day” may be an overused epithet the world over, but here in good old Blighty, three in a day is both a frequent and not unexpected occurrence.

I found this out for myself on a two-day outing in the Peak District one wet weekend in June. A late check of the forecast before setting out had encouraged me to take both my summer and winter waterproofs, which may have added a bit of extra weight to my pack but also added to my options. Good job too, as over the next two days the skies subjected me to almost every conceivable type of weather possible, including warm sun, heavy rain and even stormy sleet! (See here & here).

What I learned from this was two things: one, be prepared, and two, have the right gear. My summer waterproof might be cool and light, but it didn’t keep out prolonged heavy rain (not that I expected it to), whereas my winter waterproof might keep the weather at bay no problem, but it’s really a bit too warm and bulky for summer use. What I really needed was something in between.

Ideally, that would be a jacket that covered the middle ground; light enough for use in warm, rainy conditions but robust and waterproof enough for keeping worse weather out too, should it happen along. Also, it would need to be comfortable worn over a wicking T-shirt in warm weather yet roomy enough to accommodate a mid layer or fleece when the mercury dropped.

I did as much research as I could (see here) tried on various options and arrived at my choice: a Rab Bergen. Since it’s delivery in early July, it has already been quite a few miles with me. But, thanks to a largely dry summer and autumn, for most of them it’s been in my pack – an observation, not a complaint! However, there have been occasions when it has been pressed into service, particularly in the last couple of weeks, so it is only now that I feel I can justifiably offer my initial review.

Rab describe the Bergen as a waterproof and breathable hill and mountain walking jacket, a stalwart of their range for several years that should offer all-year-round protection. They also claim that in it’s latest incarnation it has been cut slightly longer and been beefed up round the arms and shoulders for extra durability – more of which later. These are the specifications for the Bergen according to the Rab website:

· Constructed from midweight eVent® 3 layer fabric in the torso
· Heavyweight eVent® 3 layer fabric in arms and shoulders
· Articulated elbows
· Protective hood with volume adjustment cords, wired peak and roll down tab
· 2 A-line chest pockets with water resistant zips
· Pocket rain drain points
· Internal zipped mesh pocket
· 2-way YKK front zip with double storm flap and rain drain
· Easy open velcro fastened external front zip storm flap
· Laminated velcro cuff tabs, and adjustable waist and hem drawcords
· Long cut
· 610g so still lightweight and packable

As mentioned at the outset, I have had little chance to test the jacket in really bad weather. Having said that, when I have had to resort to it, it has kept the rain out fine. It’s certainly lightweight: as measured on my electronic scales at home it came in at only 532g – interestingly considerably under what is claimed on the Rab website.

The reason for this – I think – is that I have the previous incarnation of the Bergen, which I have seen credited with a similar weight. Where I think the weight has been “saved” is that this version does not perhaps benefit from the extra length and beefed-up fabric around the arms and shoulders mentioned above, although I stand to be corrected on that!

Anyhow, it was bought in the sale, and I have no quibbles about what I bought and the price I paid for it having tried it on first. I mention it simply to warn others to check thoroughly what they are buying especially in sales and doubly so if you are buying mail order and not seeing the garment first – the lesson being that although the name may stay pretty much the same from season to season, the specification might well alter!

Having said that, this lighter version actually suits me better as it is closer to what I was looking for. It does pack down quite small, but the well-stiffened peak means it’s not quite as compressible as it might otherwise be.

The hood is pretty good. The wired peak helps keep rain off the face (really handy if you wear glasses) and there are drawcord adjustments at the rear and at the chin to help achieve a neat fit. When fully done up, the chin guard comes up to around the mouth and, as it isn’t fleece-lined, it doesn’t snag on your stubble/beard (this is the men’s version – I can’t speak for the ladies!). But best of all it hasn’t been designed to fit over a climbing helmet like most modern technical jackets (hurrah!) so it’s not way too big, and when cinched to you’re are not left peering out of a pokey little hole.

The pockets seem very good, too. The inner, zipped mesh pocket is a fairly standard affair, suitable – I would say – for keys or a cereal bar but not for electrical items that might be sensitive to moisture as it could easily wet-out from the inside if you are working hard. The two A-line pockets are plenty large enough for a map or guidebook and are sited at chest height – high enough that they remain unobstructed by a rucksack hip-belt. Both have water resistant zips backed by a small storm flap and with a guard at the top, and these have not let any rain in so far.

The main zip, in contrast, is a standard 2-way YYK zip but with a double storm flap to prevent water ingress – around 4cm wide for the outer one and 5cm for the internal one. It may well be that this is necessary to keep driving rain out – I don’t know, I haven’t tried it in a hooley yet – but it seems a bit over the top. I reckon it could be narrower, because, on the downside, it makes the main zip a bit of a fiddle to operate, and if you are wearing it with the hood down and the zip open for ventilation there is quite a bit of fabric to flap about (added to because the chin guard is quite high, too).

There is also a popper at the top and bottom of the storm flap, plus no less than five strips of Velcro to hold it down. It might all be necessary to keep water out, but again it seems a tad over-elaborate – and, as anyone who has struggled with it in a gale knows, Velcro is both a blessing and a curse!

The cuffs are very neat with good adjustment. This is one of those occasions where Velcro really does seem to help get a good fit – especially considering the wide variation in thickness of wrist, number of layers worn, and watch size. The flexibility of the e-Vent fabric certainly helps in getting a neat fit with no uncomfortable bunching.

Regardless of which version I actually have, the e-Vent fabric used has a lovely, maleable feel which, whilst seeming fairly thin, feels pretty robust, too, with the high wear areas additionally strengthened. This is, in part, because of the high build-quality – nothing less than expected with a high-end brand like Rab – but the two features together certainly bring dividends. The inner layer is smooth, so that it’s comfortable to wear and slips on and off easily as well, whilst articulated sleeves mean that movement is not restricted at all.

In terms of breathability, the jacket seems fine. Although I have yet to really put it to the test, for instance by climbing a steep hill in the pouring rain, it seems to handle the build up of internal moisture pretty well. But whether it does it better than an equivalent Gore-tex product, I couldn’t yet say. It’s also quite windproof, and I have no qualms about using it for that purpose, even if it’s not raining – I quite like a shell I can wear all day whether wet or dry.

Overall I think this is a good jacket, but one that could be made better with a few of the wrinkles ironed out. Most of the niggles are very minor, and might not bother other users at all. However, I think it only fair to point them out – they may just as easily be annoying to other wearers. For me, the added reinforcement and length of the latest version is no real benefit, although it may be if you expect to use it more for winter walking or under a heavy backpack. It will be interesting to see how the fabric stands the test of time coping with prolonged, heavy use, as it does seem quite thin. Time will tell.

In summary, I think for £125 it is a good jacket. Whether I would feel the same if I’d paid the full whack of £200 for it, I don’t know.

Pros: Low weight, packable, decent hood, flexible fabric, neat cuff adjustment, pockets, well made, easy on and off, comfortable enough to walk in all day.

Cons: Too much Velcro, main zip tricky to operate, too much fabric in the storm flap and around the chin and hood when the hood is down.

Comfort: 7/10
Performance: 8/10
Value: 8/10 (at the price paid).

Overall: 23/30

Thursday 17 November 2011

The Long Mynd & Golden Valley From Bridges – approx 9.25 miles

Sunday 13th November 2011

The Long Mynd & Golden Valley From Bridges – approx 9.25 miles


Ordnance Survey Explorer OL217 – The Long Mynd & Wenlock Edge

Route Summary:

Bridges – Coates Farm – Medlicott – Medlicott Cottage – Pole Bank – Shooting Box – Shropshire Way – Ford – The Port Way – Betchcott Hill – Golden Valley – Lower Darnford – Ratlinghope – Bridges


Bridges: Pub, Accommodation


Fine and sunny, warm but hazy and a cool breeze on the tops.


After yesterday’s Bah! Humbuggery, today was the day when we were to get our proper reward for running the Christmas shopping gauntlet – a super walk in great countryside with a bit of peace and quiet thrown in for good measure.

The forecast was good and we had decided we wanted to explore the Long Mynd again, but this time from the quieter western side. We left the car at Bridges, following the lane southwards towards Coates Farm and slowly climbing the valley side. Before long we could see back over the village.

From here, we could have taken the Shropshire Way over Adstone Hill – something we might do next time we do this circuit – but today we opted for the simpler route and kept following the lane, which is, in itself, a pleasant walk because the countryside is so fantastic.

Although it seems churlish to say so – it is November after all – the only drawback was that we were walking southwards, and the bright sun washed out the distant views to the Kerry Ridgeway beyond. From Medlicott, a hamlet consisting of barely more than a farm and a house or two, the route began to steepen as we made a more direct assault on the hillside.
Beyond Medlicott Cottage the track became rougher but the gradient relented a little and the summit ridge was within striking distance.
We were now getting more expansive views, but conditions were hazy especially to the south and west – Corndon Hill was barely more than an outline and even the nearby Stiperstones were all shape and no detail.

Last time we had walked this way, over this year’s Easter weekend, we did so in the opposite direction – nearing the end of day two of a 3-day route (described here). It’s surprising how different it felt this time – approaching from a different direction, at a different time of day and in a different season – although on both occasions it was unusually warm and sunny for the time of year.

On reaching the main ridge we took a slight detour to Pole Bank, the high point of the Long Mynd. We stopped for a coffee break and something to eat, watching as a steady stream of walkers and cyclists passed us by. I mentioned earlier about the west side being the quiet side of the Long Mynd (and will do so again later!) but it really is true, access and infrastructure from the Stretton side being so much more comprehensive.

But despite the relative crowds, a walk along the top is worth it because the views are superb. Even though it was hazy, the sight of rank upon rank of Housman’s “blue remembered hills” is more than enough to draw a wistful gaze.

Leaving Pole Bank, we walked north along the ridge picking up the line of an ancient prehistoric route, the Port Way. Like others in the area, it is referred to as a ridgeway and keeps to the high ground – in Neolithic times, when the surrounding countryside was more heavily wooded, these high trade routes were safer and avoided multiple river crossings. Later, many became used as drove roads.

Beyond the turn for Carding Mill Valley, things began to quieten down again. We continued to follow the Port Way, which now forms part of the well-marked Shropshire Way, turning northwest towards Betchcott Hill and suddenly leaving the moor for more agricultural land. Once again, we were on our own.

A low bank made the ideal place for another stop, so we did – eating the rest of our lunch and lingering over our coffee. In the distance we could see the northernmost tail of the Stretton Hills and the flat plain beyond. In better light, we may have been able to see the high ground of the Peak District.

Closer at hand was the valley of Darnford Brook, our next objective, surrounded by some of Shropshire’s most iconic hills.

Moving on again, we passed over the top of Betchcott Hill then – keeping to the Shropshire Way – left the Port Way, and dropped down, steeply at first, into Golden Valley.

By now, early afternoon, the sun was surprisingly warm, and the drop into the shelter of the valley had us rapidly shedding layers. In the glorious autumn light the valley looked more like the lower sections of a Pennine clough than of the Marches.

The path followed Darnford Brook, keeping a line a little way up the valley side. The going was easy, and gradually we descended to the wooded riverbank.

Before long, we had reached the lane and wandered the final few yards, past the Youth Hostel, back into Bridges. I said I’d do this, so here goes: this really is the quiet side of the Mynd. Between leaving the moorland and reaching Bridges we didn’t see a soul. But don’t go telling anyone about it, will you? Otherwise I might just have to kill you.

Now for the final part of our reward: the pub in Bridges has had a chequered recent history. At one time it was a well-loved venue, then it became subject to intermittent opening hours and an unusual concept of customer service that resulted in it closing down two or three years back. The good news is it is now open again, restored to it’s former glory; the better news is that it has been done by the Three Tuns Brewery and serves their superb range of beers.

To be able to sit outside after a wonderful walk in the sunshine, supping a fine pint of Ale in November – rewards don’t get much better than that! I might even be able to face up to more Christmas sho …….

Oh, no;  hang on a sec. Let’s not get carried away, eh?

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Harley’s Mountain From Lingen – approx 5.25 miles

Saturday 12th November 2011

Harley’s Mountain From Lingen – approx 5.25 miles


Ordnance Survey Explorer OL201 – Knighton & Presteigne

Route Summary:

Lingen – Herefordshire Trail – Mynde Farm – Mountain Buildings – Harley’s Mountain – The Ashes – Upper House – Lane – Lingen


Lingen: Pub


Overcast with occasional sunny patches.


Christmas – don’t you just love it? No, me neither. But every year there it is, staring you in the face as if daring you to dislike it. And every year, I do – dislike it, that is. As autumn fades and the days get shorter and shorter, it can signal only one thing – the annual ritual that is Buying Presents.

Nowadays, Buying Presents is somewhat easier than it used to be. Thanks to the Internet, it is possible to divorce the “experience” from the “shopping experience”, at least for some of the time, avoiding almost all human (?) contact and thus preserving dangerously depleted levels of sanity and/or patience. But even those who refuse to sacrifice an entire income on the altar of Christmas avarice have, sooner or later, to face the prospect of Going To The Shops.

I know, I know; you’re not the only one – my knees are trembling, too. Saturdays at the shopping centre is my idea of hell on Earth. And queuing to get into the shops: what’s that all about? Waiting in line for half an hour only to find that instead of an exciting visit to the Outdoor Mountain Discount Megastore, you are, in fact, about to enter New Look.

So it was that a couple of years ago we came up with a rather wizard wheeze. Pick a town – any town – with some nice shops (not just the type filled with the usual overpriced, gimmicky tat) that is, crucially, near to some good walking country.

Now I’ll hazard a guess that you know where this is going already but, if not, here’s the plan. Choose your town, book the Saturday night away, do your Christmas shopping first then reward yourself with a nice walk when it’s all done! Somewhere like Bakewell or Ambleside or Settle, for example, would do just nicely. Or, in this instance: Ludlow.

OK, so we didn’t have much time left on the Saturday after completing the shopping, but there was still a couple of hours daylight to work with as we pulled into a parking space in the small village of Lingen.

As this was a relatively unfamiliar area, I’d worked out a little circuit taking in part of the Herefordshire Trail – a 150+ mile waymarked circuit round the county – over the intriguingly named Harley’s Mountain (apparently named after a local family who also give their name to Harley Street) returning via quiet lanes.

Setting out we first crossed a couple of fields and a muddy track before starting to climb out of the valley, pausing briefly for a coffee stop whilst perched on the treads of a very new stile.

Continuing, we soon passed Mynde Farm where we were greeted by a quartet of noisy, excited dogs, one of which had one brown eye and one blue eye and proved quite friendly.

The somewhat taciturn farmer, however, neither spoke nor returned our wave, simply choosing to glare at us instead. Miserable bastard.

Still climbing, albeit gently, we crossed a couple of fields and passed a run-down farmstead marked on the map as Mountain Buildings. Further fields followed. Most were sparsely grassed with new growth, with little sign of human passage: this may be a well-marked trail but appears, at least in this part, lightly walked.

With a tall hedge to our left, we followed a clearer track along the field head and gradually reached the brow of the hill. To our right stood the trig point, off the path and not obviously on Access Land. So we bypassed it, choosing instead to look at the hills to the north and west illuminated by patchy sunlight and intermittent blue skies.

Before long, we reached a sunken track and followed it as it dropped gently towards a narrow lane. Here we left the Herefordshire Trail, and wandered slightly uphill to a crossroads where we turned left by a dilapidated chapel. The next farm held something of a surprise: even without the instruction to “Read” painted on the side of the building, the message was obvious.

With a thumbs-up, and an “Aye to that”, we carried on down the lane, bearing right at Upper House. A grassy stripe in the centre of the road clearly indicated how infrequently it was used.

A steady descent followed, and before long we were approaching Lingen once more. It’d been an easy walk but one that had proved a good introduction to an area that seems to hold much for those seeking a quieter walk. Bordering both Offa’s Dyke and Glyndwr’s Way country, this area appears to have as much to offer, but without the crowds.

A real antidote to the Christmas rush, if ever there was one.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Rolleston, Goadby & Noseley – approx 7.25 miles

Sunday 6th November 2011

Rolleston, Goadby & Noseley – approx 7.25 miles


Ordnance Survey Explorer OL233 – Leicester & Hinckley

Route Summary:

New Inn – Rolleston – Rolleston Wood – Goadby – Horse Hill – Glooston Lodge – Woolpits Planting – Noseley Hall Old Park – The Avenue – Top Lodge – New Inn




Bright and sunny to begin with but cooler than of late. Gradually clouding over from lunchtime.


Another Sunday; another nice morning.

Given the poor forecast we had gleaned from both radio and Internet, we were quite surprised to wake to clear skies and sunshine instead of the predicted mist and drizzle. We are certainly enjoying some lovely, bright weather at times this autumn, always a pleasant surprise when the winter months are looming nearer.

Having quickly decided it was a morning worthy of a good walk we wasted no time in grabbing our kit and heading out.

Our chosen circuit, located a few miles north of Market Harborough, showcases much of what is good about this rural corner of South Eastern Leicestershire – quiet agricultural land and rolling countryside, interspersed with the mature parkland of the many grand houses of the area.

Although there is a fair proportion of road walking, the lanes are generally quiet and good progress can be made, even in winter, making it ideal for a half-day walk practically year-round. However, the predominance of parkland and of architectural trees means the colours are often at their best in autumn when the foliage is ablaze.

After parking in a convenient lay-by on the busy B6047, we entered the grounds of Rolleston Hall, a private estate inhabited during its history by both the La Zouche family (of Ashby de la Zouch fame) and one of Churchill’s relatives.

Following the road between an avenue of mature chestnut trees, a couple of horse riders crossed ahead of us.

For those not in the know, this is a pretty posh place – nowadays, Rolleston village is essentially private, and consists in the main of estate property.

Turning southeast, we made our way past a lake and out into the countryside, at first following a well-graded track before cutting across the fields to cross a small stream by way of a plank bridge.

A short climb led us to the brow of the hill, before a steady descent along a tree-lined track brought us out on Palmers Lane.

Then it was uphill once more – another steady climb along the road into Goadby village, where a very handy bench provided a good coffee stop.

The next stretch consisted of more road walking, this time southwards towards Glooston. Although open to traffic, it is usually a pretty quiet stretch, however the few cars, walkers and cyclists encountered today made it feel unusually busy.

By the farm at Glooston Lodge, we turned right, re-entering the fields. A gradual incline brought us to the brow of the hill from where views of Noseley Hall opened up ahead, the sun now illuminating the trees and showing the foliage in all its glory.

We dropped steeply down to cross a narrow, unnamed stream, then climbed once more through a field with parkland becoming more apparent ahead of us. The path led us through a small copse then skirted another large field where we stopped for lunch. Sitting on a low bank in the sunshine near Noseley Wood was the perfect spot in which to eat our sandwiches.

Moving on, we followed a clear track through the parkland, with glimpses of Noseley Hall visible through the trees. It’s an impressive house. Soon we met the road and turned left, uphill. A short way on, by Top Lodge, we joined the gated lane into Rolleston Hall estate – grassy down the centre and spattered with sheep droppings – from where it was a short walk back to the car.

Obviously, this is no epic walk. And, at just over seven miles, it is barely more than a half-day. But it is a good indicator of the type of countryside found in these parts, and satisfies that urge to go somewhere for a walk – feeling distant without actually being too far away at all.

We’ve done this route (or variations on it) several times now, although this is the first time I have written it up. It has become one of our “go to” walks when we fancy making a bit more effort over travelling, and one which we will probably come back to again and again, simply because it has a lot to offer, is easily do-able in a short time, and can be done in all year round without getting too mucky – regardless of underfoot conditions.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Chatsworth To Cromford – Approx 12.00 miles

Saturday 22nd October 2011

Chatsworth To Cromford – approx 12.00 miles


Ordnance Survey Explorer OL24 – The Peak District: White Peak Area

Route Summary:

Calton Lees – DVHW South – Rowsley – Congreave – Pilhough Lane – Lees Road – Stanton Moor – Barn Farm – Winster – Luntor Rocks – Limestone Way – Blakelow Lane – Moorlands Lane – Upper Town – Bonsall – Upperwood – Scarthin – Cromford


Calton Lees: Café, Transport
Rowsley: Pub, Shop, Café, Transport, Accommodation
Winster: Pub, Shop, Café, Transport, Accommodation
Bonsall: Pub, Shop, Transport, Accommodation
Cromford: Pub, Shops, Café, Transport, Accommodation


Overcast to begin with, clearing to give a warm, sunny day later.


I’m going to kick this report off with a controversial statement: the Derwent Valley, in autumn sunshine, is one of the finest spots in the UK.

Sure, the valley has been a transport conduit (road, river, canal and rail) for over two centuries, and true, it is justifiably famed as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and is today besmirched by many a modern housing scheme. But look beyond that development and you begin to get a glimpse of why, in his leisure time, the enlightened seventeenth century gentleman would head to the Matlock gorge – practically the birthplace of modern geology – in search of the sublime and the awful (as in “full of awe” that is, not as in “horrible”) – a mini Grand Tour, if you like.

Come Friday night, I suddenly found myself faced with the prospect of more free time than on Saturday than expected, so I ditched plans for a local walk and hastily cobbled together this route – one which followed on from a rather epic weekend (by my own modest standards) back in June (details of which can be found here and here) - continuing a southbound trail in the company of the Derwent, begun near Ladybower.

Having parked up in Matlock, I caught the bus to Calton Lees and by 10.15am was making my way south along the Derwent Valley Heritage Way (DVHW) in glorious sunshine, the early cloud having now cleared. Because of the position of the sun, the best views were behind me, over the Chatsworth estate to Beeley Moor beyond, and the trees were looking fine in their full autumn regalia.

After crossing a short stretch of grassland and parkland pasture, the path joined the riverside, and before long I’d reached the village of Rowsley straddling the A6. Here, I decided to cut through the grounds of Caudwell’s Mill, a restored, working flourmill powered by water from the River Wye.

My next objective was Stanton Moor, gained by a series of paths and quiet lanes. The steadily steepening climb via Congreave and Sheepwalk Wood brought reward in the form of increasingly good views west along the Wye Valley towards Bakewell.

Skirting to the east of the village of Stanton-in-the-Peak, I soon gained the path on to the moor.

It is an oft-overused phrase to describe a place as magical, but here, on Stanton Moor, there is an element of truth to it. The sun-dappled woodland conjures up images of Asterix’s Gaul or Cezanne’s Provence – I’m sure he would have been inspired by the quality of the light hereabouts – and it is easy to visualise a more ancient time when Wild Boor roamed the undergrowth.

As if to capitalise on this most Druidic of scenes, set in a grassy clearing is the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, a symbol of the 4,000 years of human history played out on these moors, and for the more mystically minded, the site forms the hub for the area’s ley lines.

Indeed, the summer solstice is still celebrated here, although I gather that some of the “enlightenment” to be gained these days is rather more herbally assisted than back in the Bronze Age.

The southern half of the moor is much more open, covered thickly with heather rather than woodland. Keeping to the east of Birchover, I continued southwards towards Winster, crossing the Clough Lane track along the way. A steep descent through woodland pre-empted a stretch of boggy ground at the head of a stream, after which a short climb took me up into the village where I stopped for lunch.

Somewhere round here, beneath my feet, a change had taken place. Behind me the Gritstone of Stanton Moor was clearly visible, whilst ahead lay the low, Limestone hills of the southern Derbyshire Peak. This transformation from Dark Peak to White Peak is evident in a number of places (for example when looking south from Kinder Scout across the shale and mudstone ridge of Mam Tor towards Castleton) but rarely over such a short distance.

I made my way up the hillside to join the Limestone Way near Luntor Rocks.

For the next couple of miles the route threaded its way through a series of fields and walled tracks so typical of the agricultural White Peak, where progress was slowed by a succession of annoyingly too-narrow squeeze stiles and the avoidance of a large bull.

The small hamlet of Upper Town came and went before a narrow, walled path dropped steeply down towards the ancient village of Bonsall. Having dawdled earlier, I was now running slightly short on time, so I saved further exploration for another day and followed the lane, past the church, out towards Upperwood, a handful of houses perched high on the cliff-side above Matlock Bath.

I picked up a balcony path skirting above the top of the town, the buildings below tinged with the air of faded glories. But there were tantalising views of the Matlock Gorge to be had through the trees until, rounding the end of the cliff, the path zigzagged steeply down into Cromford, where an Apple Day celebration waylaid me sufficiently to miss the bus I intended to catch by just two minutes.

No matter, another came along soon, and a short while later I was loading my stuff back into the car. It had been a good walk (around 5 hours, including stops), greatly enhanced by the unseasonably fine weather for the time of year – always a bonus when a lengthy journey is involved – requiring few, if any, modifications.

Walking in the Peak District is always a pleasure, especially on a fine day. I never fail to find inspiration for future trips – there are so many special corners of this wonderful area to discover – and the planning juices are already working overtime.

I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m back.