My feet may be permanently stained...

It was a spur of the moment thing... Bank Holiday weekend, any beds left at the Youth Hostel near Castleton - Yup... Good, then what to do...

Getting there is easy, train ride into Edale and then hike up and over Mam Tor, the ridge and then drop off the back of Lose Hill to get to the sneaky back gate into the Hostel. Eight glorious KM, possibly my favourite

Saturday's forecast was wet... and it drizzled most of the morning... Up over Losehill, Back Nick, Hollin's Cross, the long drag up Mam Tor, then that dispiriting drop to the road and then dragging yourself back up to Lord's Seat. 

I'd love to say that there were fantastic views over the Edale valley...

But...


This was the drop from Lord's Seat before the turn north across the hideously featureless Brown Knoll; luck, half a path, a compass bearing and I was very, very happy to see this...



Love them or loathe them, after 2km of knee high sludge I was moved to almost kiss this lump of white concrete!

Across the top of Jacob's ladder, where on other days like this I've dropped off and sought shelter in the pubs of Edale, along with the Pagoda looming through the mist like a grey alien spaceship in the mist, the southern Edge of Kinder is rock strewn and as technical as I can move at a pace over (ok, my pace...). Across the tops of the brooks - Crowden, Grinds (that horrible short sharp drop, past the cannon shaped rock, mini-traverse to the flat crossing, the slide up to get back on rock), the gentle view down Oller Brook, and the fell runner passing me... And I watched and I learned, yes he was carrying less - I was doing my I'm in the hills on my own thing - he had a mini-bumbag and a jacket around his waist... I watched his foot placement and his cadence and saw that I could adapt and might be able to pick up some speed. 

Approaching the top of Jagger's Clough there was the dangerous stile - wibbling and wobbling, I almost faced the choice of falling back and doing my back, or forward and impaling myself on rusty barbed wire... Nothing like a no win scenario to get your balance back and a trot was on, down from Crockstone Hill, past the chatty walker, and the grumpy pair of sods... come on walk behind each over for the 30s it'll take for me to get passed! And no, it's "not easy for me", but I didn't have time to have a "conversation". 

Dropping to a power walk, I pushed it up Win Hill, reaching the top, tapping the trig and then jogging down... Until running into the back of four DoE kids... You know the type, rucksacks untidy, walking poles at the wrong length, kissing as they'll go through the kissing gate... and standing astride the stile as they hold the OS map upside down....

The drop off Win Hill is steep, steep enough that my legs were wobbling by the time I hit the track at the bottom... Recover, refuel, bounce along - try and remember how long this route took me last time... I'm within that, well within that.

Jog it and walk it out, last 1500m, through the brambles and nettles... OUCH! and then back on the paths to the back of the hostel.

Tired, muddy, welts from the nettles just beginning to come up I caused some concern to the family sitting in the courtyard... I don't think they knew people used youth hostels to do exercise... and the look my poor battered Inov-8's got as they steamed in their mud encrusted state... Oh well, they should've seen my feet;-)

My poor feet - another toenail gone, down to 6 now... a pale brown colour in places, even pumice won't clear it...


Taking the route and putting it into Anquet brings it out as 20 miles, 3487ft of ascent and a Naismith of 8h 8min... Anytime I'm ahead of Naismith (which doesn't allow for terrain, or food stops) I'm a happy boy:-)

A decent tea at the hostel, a long sleep and then a gentle walk to Hathersage, 10km with a decent coffee stop in the middle...

Oh, and these ladies...


And a donkey that licked me...

And yes, someone split their coffee on me...

And in a good news/bad news finale - I left my Nook (think Kindle, but better) at the Youth Hostel... So next Saturday - well, looks like my GNR training is going to involved a few more hills:-)

TTFN

Paul

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