Waterloo Inn to Edale
I had a bit of a bad night’s sleep last night. The mattress wasn’t the most comfortable and every time anyone in the other rooms went to the loo the saniflow systems made the most horrendous racket. So it was with no surprise that I woke up this morning feeling pretty weary already. Not good.
Slowly I got myself together, putting some strapping on my right foot as it played up a little bit yesterday, and then went down for breakfast, which was huge! It was so big I couldn’t actually eat it all, much like last night’s dinner.
Stuffed to the eyeballs I grabbed my gear, checked out and hit the road. The weather was looking better so I was hopeful of a good day’s walking ahead.
It wasn’t long before I’d picked up the Limestone Way again and after climbing up the long hill to the Waterloo Inn I was now going straight back down again as I headed in to Miller’s Dale.
Miller’s Dale was a very small place but as I walked through I noticed an old water wheel. Curious as to what it was about I took a minor detour to see. As ever there was a notice board giving more information than I’m sure you’d like me to write about here, but it said that a mill had been on that site for about 900 years!
It said that mills were usually owned by the local landowner and tenants used to have to have their corn ground in their landlord’s mill, with the miller taking a portion of their corn as payment, which often made millers unpopular people as they were suspected of helping themselves to more than their due share. Naughty naughty!
The wheel that was now there was from the mill that closed in 1920, when it became commercially unviable against the large steam and electrically powered roller mills.
See, culture and odd facts and figures on here. What more could you need?!
Heading out of Miller’s Dale meant going back up again on the Limestone Way – joy. One thing I have to say about the Limestone Way is that it lives up to it’s name. The path, when it’s not directed along a country lane, are a mixture of mud and limestone. The limestone is either stuck in the mud or loose, making the walking somewhat harder than it could have been had it just been, especially when climbing up a steep incline and all the loose stones making the going quite tough.
For the mile or so in to Monksdale I found myself on a little track bordered by dry stone walls. There wasn’t a great deal to look at other than the odd cow or the views off in to the distance so I trudged my way onward, determined to make a reasonable time for the day.
Crossing the road at Monksdale I picked up the Pennine Way for the first time, although it was a lane and not a track at this point. As it happens, I spent a good part of the day changing between the Pennine Way and the Limestone Way.
I followed the lane all the way through Wheston and out the other side, finally going off road by Laneside farm. It was at this point where I spotted a road sign for Stockport and Manchester…was I really that far up the country?! It’s little things like this that really hit it home how far I’ve come up the country since turning the corner at Bath – shocking!
This track took me up and up and up and up, eventually reaching a new highest point of the walk at 1509ft. While I was struggling up the hill Matt had tried to call me so when I reached the top, and still having a signal, I called him back, huffing and puffing down the phone at him – sorry mate.
While we were chatting I could see a weather front coming in. It’s funny being so high and looking over the landscape and just watching the darkness get closer and closer. Luckily though it didn’t come to anything which was good as the stoney, muddy paths would have been a nightmare if it was raining too.
As ever, what goes up must come down, and I started the slow descent to Castleton. Following the Limestone Way still two guys came walking from another direction to pick up the same trail I was on. Great I though, maybe a little bit of conversation for a bit. I’d not passed anyone so far today and a little chat would help to while-away the time a bit, but, clearly they had other plans and just completely ignored me, even when it was obvious we were walking the same way – how rude!
Undeterred I put my headphones on and pressed on, promising myself a nice pub lunch when I got to Castleton seeing as there were only a couple of miles to do after that. This was when the descent took a turn for the worse.
Up to that point the descent had been on a nice grassy path and at a gentle angle. As if from out of nowhere the path just dropped away down a ravine. I say path but to be honest it looked more like a rock slide with a little stream running through it, but this indeed was the path I had to follow. The water and loose rocks made it extremely tough going, both on the legs and ankles, and also mentally with all the concentration on where I was putting my feet and where best to move to next. I was again extremely thankful for having the walking poles as they saved me from losing my balance on a number of occasions.
Now don’t get me wrong here, the path was tough but the scenery was again stunning. The rocky/grassy sides to the ravine were very impressive and near the bottom you could see the remains of Peveril Castle on the top of the ravine.
Finally at the bottom, and somewhat on the tired side from all that effort, I made my way to Ye Olde Nags Head pub, dumped my gear and ordered a pint and a pork baguette for lunch – well deserved I thought.
When the food came out it was a mountain and I was seriously concerned that if I ate it all then that would be it, no more walking for me for the afternoon. It was very nice though and the pub was great too. I noted that they did rooms, always good for future reference, especially as Castleton was a lovely little place.
While I was sat there two couples at a table near me went to check in to their rooms and while giving over their details the lady gave her postcode, which started with SL – Slough. This got us talking as I mentioned that I used to live in Slough but now I lived in Twyford. On hearing this the guy behind the bar joined the conversation saying that he used to live in Maidenhead! You couldn’t have put money on something like that happening could you?
The two couples and I chatted some more about my walk – conversation at last! It was great and they were lovely people too. One of the guys told me he’d now completed a hundred marathons now – very impressive! I’ve done one and that, for the most part, is enough for me. Saying that though every now and then I get it in my head that I’d like to do another one some time so maybe that’ll be the next thing I do after this little stroll of mine?
Time getting on and a few miles still to go I put my pack back on, said goodbye and headed out the pub. I knew that the final bit was a bit hilly but I don’t think I fully appreciated what that meant until I made my way out the other side of Castleton and looking at the hills in the distance. It was then that it hit me that to get to Edale I would have to get over the top of them…gulp!
The mile’s walk to the base of the hill – I’ll call it a hill but from where I was standing Hollins Cross looked more like a mountain – took me up 200ft from Castleton but the worst was still to come: a 500ft climb over the short distance of about 500 yards – not fun at all. To make it worse the path was almost as bad as the path in to Castleton, but not quite, but it was still awkward going. As the path climbed its quality improved quite a lot but one thing I have to ask is, why or why would you put styles for people to climb on this path?! Talk about rub salt in to the wounds. Why not put a gate like there is at the bottom of the hill climb? Not good.
It took me a little while to get up to the top, not only because I was catching my breath but because I just couldn’t help but stand there and look at the stunning views. They were absolutely mind blowing and something I will always remember. At the top they were even better, being able to look back over where I’d just come from and also over the other side over Edale and beyond.
I could have stayed up there all afternoon just sat in the sunshine looking out over the countryside. I knew I needed to reach the pub I was staying at though so I could drop the pack and clean myself up, so with a bit of a hurrumph I made my way down the other side, promising myself that I would definitely return to walk across the top properly another time.
The walk in to Edale wasn’t too bad. I had a couple of paths to choose from so I chose the one that looked as though it had the easiest descent, which I did correctly thankfully.
It wasn’t long before I’d checked in and was sorting myself out for a nice relaxing evening. Even though I’d checked on the O2 website with the postcode of the pub I was staying at – the Rambler Inn – I had zero signal on my phone. Luckily I’d passed a phone box at the end of the road and had already checked to make sure it was working, which it was. That did the job nicely and Alice and I had a good chat, Elisa talking for a little bit bless her.
All my jobs done for the evening I went to the bar, had a lovely pint and meat loaf and mash for dinner, writing today’s post in the bar area as it was the only place I could get a wifi signal.
I’m really beginning to fall in love with the Peak District. Even though yesterday’s walk wasn’t quite as nice, the day before and today have shown me some stunning views and scenery and the walking has been great. Yes, it’s been hard going at times with the hills but it’s a pretty good bet that you’ll get another stunning view once you’ve gritted your teeth and made it to the top. This is definitely a part of the country I will be returning to to investigate further that’s for sure.
Oh, and I noticed today that I’ve just gone past the 40% completion mark…which is nice. Next weekend I should hit 50% so that’ll be something to celebrate with Russ and Rachel when I see them for sure.