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Published: October 28th 2010
Day 6: Into the Peak National Forest
Max: Walking is a national sport for many more people than I ever suspected, it would seem. By the time we arrive at the car park for Mam Tor there are few spots left. I had read that The Peak National Forest is second only to Mount Fujiyama in visitors each year, but I am surprised at how many walkers are gathered here. I am slightly daunted by the height and the incline, but I have hiking boots, walking sticks, and a new outdoor jacket, so I am determined to give it my best try. Very shortly I am very, very glad that I have walking sticks. The walking path is made of uneven stones that seem not to faze Caitlin or John in the least; they often have to stop and wait for me as women 10+ years my senior go striding past and leave me in their dust. I am so glad that I keep on and reach the top. The view is spectacular and John is again serving as our knowledgeable guide as he points out the reference points to the history of the Peak, from this site of a
Neolithic Palisade, to the villages where members of our clade lived, to the ruins of the Norman age Peveril Castle. We hike across the ridge to Windy Knoll but this time I can’t get up to the top: John and Caitlin go on and are delighted to taunt me with reports of what I had missed. I am thinking that I missed a very good chance of getting to the top and then having to be airlifted down. I also got a chance to sit in the bright sun on a beautiful autumn day with the land that my very deep root ancestors most certainly inhabited and marvel that I am here.
Right now a great big hug and kiss sent out to My John: thank you for making this possible!
Later in the day when we get to Robin Hood Stride-a remarkable rock outcropping—I am happy that I saved some of my strength. This is a site that was of obvious importance to ancient people: there is a stone ring and a standing stone nearby. I touch a standing stone that was brought here and righted by people thousands of years ago. A cow graciously moves aside,
but watches me with suspicion. Again, it is beautiful, as have the small villages we have driven through all day. We go on to the ring remains of a castle wall, getting there by crossing through a farm. We are not trespassing, a 1930’s protest by The People, made this possible: The People have the right of access to these beautiful lands with their meaningful burial mounds, stone circles, standing stones and henges. In all of us, I am learning, there is the need to walk in the steps of our ancestors. The sun is going down as John races us to Bonsall for a couple of photos for dear Cousin Bob: the manor hall that once belonged to his family and the village below.
Now it is time for more practical considerations such as dinner! It is Sunday, so it is roast day we are told: funny, at my house it is often barbecued chicken day. Another lesson in British appliances and cooking in a literally foreign kitchen—must be time for a gin and tonic, anyone?
Caitlin: Who knew I liked walking up hills so much??? This has been an amazing day: hills to climb, rocks to clamber
Ridege Path to Windy Knoll
Footpath on the left - going from Mam Tor to Windy Knoll
up, sheep, chickens, sheep AND chickens, cows, more sheep (particularly the one I saw rolling around in the grass like a happy dog), frolicking cows, great company and beautiful weather. Life doesn’t get much better than this, though I do wish our ventures into Sunday Roast had turned out as well as our ventures into Sunday Driving…and hiking (at least for John’s sake).
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