Sunday, 8 July 2012

Training Walk White to Dark Day 1 30.06.12

And so it begins . . .

The day we started the epic traverse from the White Peak to the Dark Peak, Bakewell to Hope in two days.

My old friend, Dave Padgen, accompanied me on this day.  Check out his website here, he is a very inspiring chap! He is extremely supportive about my charity walk, and knowledgeable about the outdoors and has given me many tips which will benefit me when I complete the actual walk in August.  It was great to walk with someone and due to us both falling on our arses towards the end of this first day, he did not accompany me on Day 2.  I missed ya Dave!

The campsite was OK, with good facilities, but noisy up to 11pm at night due to groups of DofE kids getting their awards and the many families stying on site.  The site had a 'No noise' after 11pm policy, which most people seemed to obey.

The route was beautiful, we passed through some amazing countryside, rugged and desolate cliffs and valleys, and rolling farmland, criss-crossed by roads and dry stone walls.

We left early and started walking from the car park in Bakewell at about 7.45am.  The weather was generally good, but changeable, and there were many occasions where we stopped and took on / took off our coats / layers etc.  To quote Dave, "We caned the first 6 miles" and had to ease up on the pace a little for fear of 'running out of energy' at the end.

The pub at Foolow, The Bulls Head Inn, is a good quality pub, and do a nice line in cask ales and sandwiches, which we sampled for our lunch.  We met up with Dad at Eyam, by the museum, and after a few minutes rest continued our steep and arduous climb up to Eyam Moor.  

The last push over Eyam Moor and the heaving great rainstorm we walked through meant that the steep downhill descent that followed resulted in both of us falling on our behinds within the space of two minutes!  Dave bruised his hip, and after some considerable consideration and discussion, he decided not to come on the next day's walk - Dave is in training to climb Mount Elbrus in August and I did not want to jeopardise his expedition.

Here are some pictures from the day :-

The trail was well marked - good job as occasionally the map didn't exactly match up with the landscape!

The Monsal Trail - an easy path to walk, pretty flat, and stunning views.  This is the main reason we 'caned' the first few miles!

The Monsal Trail was probably the busiest trail we walked - plenty of serious walkers, dog walkers and cyclists.

The Headstone Tunnel - the path actually runs underground for a considerable distance.  Amazingly atmospheric!

. . .and 487m later, coming out the other side to emerge on .  . .

. . . The Monsal Viaduct, some 40 feet above the ground - amazing views.

We followed the path off the Monsal Trail and down into Cressbrook Dale, past this great weir!  Check out Dave's pictures of this water feature on his blog.
This was the gate we climbed over as we 'left' the field!  Thank god we didn't see the bull!

The view across the fields between Foolow and Eyam.  We passed through twelve small gates and eight squeeze stiles!

The instructions for the route, by Country Walking Magazine, can be found here  White to Dark Route Plan

One thing I feel slightly disappointed about is, if the route mapper is to be believed we did not walk as far as I had planned each day.  However, the ascents and descents were much more challenging that I had anticipated.

There were no MP3 tracks listened to on the way round, but I did play 'Raining in my Heart' on the Ukulele back at the campsite.

Dave has written an excellent blog about the first day with some cracking pictures.  Link below

The map of the route, including elevation diagram, can be viewed here  White to Dark Day 1

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