Last Monday, I decided to go out and test what gear I had accumulated for my 650 mile hike. It was an interesting 2 days indeed. I met up with an old friend from London. James his name is, and i soon remembered one of James traits was that he can’t keep his mouth shut for more than a few seconds….
The plan was, to head into the peak district. Ashbourne to be precise, walk up the Tissington Trail up to Parsley Hay, camp up in a nearby woodland than walk back down the High Peak Trail and end in Cromford the following day. Strangely enough we stuck to the plan, it was a pleasent 2 days with the sun out, but still a wintery chill lurking. Nearly perfect walking weather.
James made his way to me from scouser land (Liverpool) and on route picked me up a Thermarest neoair xlite sleeping mat from Go Outdoors. £85 for a sleeping mat. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than a 5er on a mat in the past. I’ll talk more about the mat later, as it was definitely a life saver. James arrived, we drove into Ashbourne, stopped at a cafe, got some scram, bought some gloves, than heading to the start of the trail. We didn’t actually get walking until about 3:30pm.
James equipped with his bloody energy drinking gloop, and me with a large bar of chocolate, we made pace. It’d been a while, so we caught up with the usual crap, ‘oh whats so and so upto these days?’ , ‘Is so & so still graffing trains’ . Primarily, in the past we spent most of our time together, getting up to no good. However, its funny how things progress & how conversations change into deeper, more meaningful topics. Walking in nature, or walking in general is wonderful. As the sun sets, the trail is silent, and we discuss life, ecology, matters of both spirit & science. Constructive conversation.
12 miles later we reach our camping spot. The night is clear and it is cold. We manage to set up the new Alpkit Jaran 2 tent quite easily. Great tent, we are both impressed by its weight, its design & functionality. Snug for 2 compared to what I’m used to, but I suppose that only helps on this cold night. And no, before your mind wonders, it wasn’t that cold..
We cooked up a Thai Red Lamb Curry. A well needed meal after a days walking. Oh, I forgot to mention, I’ve been walking the 12 miles in brand new boots straight out the box. Scarpa Ranger GTX 2 & my feet aren’t in great shape & blistered. When they advertise a boot with ‘out of box’ comfort, I take that literally. The amount of times I turned to James and said , Do you think they’re broken in yet? Anyway, we chowed down, accompanied by a bottle of red. Then we soon went to sleep. My sleep was okay. My sleeping set up could have been alot better. The mat was good, but too narrow. However, kept me warm from underneath. The bag was a Rab Neutrino 200. Way to thin to stay comfortably warm. I ended up sticking my head underneath and trapping me. I think Jame’s followed the same suite. We woke with frost on the ground, so it must have been freezing. A couple degree’s below I reckon, especially out in the open peaks where we were. All in all, our sleep was okay, and i spilled my porridge all over the forest bed , so no breakfast for us the following morning…
But who needs breakfast when you wake up to this…
This is exactly why I walk & camp. Nature is still & natural order is so obviously at work. The presence of grace is felt ever so more when you take yourself away from distraction for a few moments. Great lesson’s are be learnt from nature, whatever you believe & whoever you are. Opinions differ amongst us, 1 thing which runs true for us all is this world we share.
This Tissington trail really is special. We continue to walk, James continuing to gobble down his Isotonic gloop. And I happen to have a jar of honey which keeps me going. We walk back down the High Peak trail, which in my opinion is even more spectacular..
I normally walk in silence, on my own. But walking & talking at the same time is actually quite fun. I try to explain to James, the principles of Chi energy, and an energy that exists beyond the physical. I suppose you can call it Light or Grace. The energy which fills you with joy & ecstasy. When this energy is revealed, the need for food is lessened. I can see Jame’s brain ticking, thinking, what the hell is he on about… I knew he was a bit nuts, but you know…really?? Anyhow, we continue to walk, towards Middleton, where we reminisce a bit..
So at this point of the walk, the complains are getting more & more, our feet are absolutely battered. If I can recall the feeling, it was like my feet were actually on fire walking the last few miles from Middleton to Cromford. When at Cromford, we stumbled in a pub which was full, and all the other local pubs had finished for lunch. So we found some posh styled cafe/coffee shop kind of place. We sat, not wanting to move due to the pain. I walked to the front to be welcomed by a lady. I ordered Scrambled eggs with salmon. The lady went on to ask me, what would you like to drink and I as I had a bottle of water in on the table from my walk I replied, I have some water already, is that okay? The response I received was shocking. “Would I walk into a restaurant and bring my own drink” . I really didn’t know how to react…..so I said ok, than I’ll have a bottle of water, and she responded, no its okay, don’t worry. Wow, I’ve worked alot in customer service, she could do with some lessons. If I wasn’t tired and blistered from the walk, I may have enlightened her a little on the topics off ‘think before you speak’ , ‘be nice’ & ‘how to run a successful business’. I think the establishment we entered was a bit to high & mighty for us. Us common London folk, sticking out like saw thumbs in this quaint Derbyshire village…
Oh well, we eat and be gone & venture home. An interesting couple days. Bottom line, walking & talking is great. Try it sometime on a lovely trail as we did 🙂