Festive Castleton - Pauline Brooke
It was quite a busy coach load of walkers that set off from Manchester. It was our last coach trip of the year and a lot of exchanging Xmas cards and greetings were going on the coach. Given the weather forecast there were serious discussions among walkers on which ‘led’ walks would be best to tackle on the day.
To add to all this going on, there was sheer excitement in welcoming on the coach for the first time 11 members of The Ramblers Weekend Walkers Group. We were indeed delighted and relieved to see that they had found our coach at such an early time of 8.50am at Chorlton Street. I was told that on Sundays some or most of Weekend Walkers usually feel ‘rough’ after their usual Saturday walk (+beer). But this weekend they did not run their usual Saturday walk instead they offered their members our coach trip . So it was a joy to see them on the coach and joining our walks.
We dropped the ‘B’ walk party somewhere in the middle of the beautiful Peak District. They were doing a linear 13 miles walk to Castleton. ‘C’ & ‘D’ walk party were doing a circular walk and were deposited at the Visitors Centre car park in Castleton.
We set off under a slightly bright sky. We made our way through the narrow streets hoping that the rain would stay away and the wind won’t blow us off the ridge. But no long into our climb up the ridge, the rain suddenly came down. There was a mad scramble to get the overtrousers out of the rucksacks. To our great relief the rain did not last long and we tackled the short steep climb up Lose Hill Edge quite easily and was rewarded with the view of Hope Valley at our feet and the fresh wind blowing the cobwebs away.
Lunch was in a delightful spot in the woods. It was a welcoming break from the wind. We had been walking on the open windy ridge for quite some time. . Out of the woods, and there was the first glimpse of Edale Valley on our left. We had a better view of both Hope and Edale Valley at Hollins Cross Trig Point. From Hollins Cross we took the path straight down. Once again on our way down the rain came down suddenly. In the heavy rain and blustering wind Blue John Café would seem a mirage but it was not. Another welcoming break from the weather. Hot Bovril was drunk and savoured in cupfuls. And in high spirits we finished the walk into buzzing Castleton with its colourful bright street Xmas lights, decorated Xmas trees and happy crowds. Mulled wine and mince pies were there waiting to be enjoyed.
This was the first coach walk I led. So in my head it had to be the most scenic walk that had unfolded effortlessly and beautifully and everyone had a good time and experience. So you understand why I should leave out the MUD, the three walkers who gracefully sat in it and the couple of times I took the wrong path.
A big thank you to you all on the ‘C’ walk for being great sports. Thank you to the 11 members of the Weekend Walkers for coming on our coach and we look forward to see you again on the coach in 2016. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.