We had our third and definitely final visit of this years schedule
the Castleton Caravan Club site this weekend.
For those that have read the previous Castleton reviews you will know that visit number one was "Brian the warden incident weekend" and visit number two was a "no interaction with Brian weekend and a walk up Mam Tor".
If you haven't seen the two previous Castleton reviews then let me give the briefest of in a nutshell summaries: Brian is one of the wardens. On visit number one Brian was a prat and tried to tell us off for leaving late though we didn't and he got a bit mardy when we weren't subservient to his warden powers.
On visit number two we got the idea Brian may have been ignoring us and was still a little mardy.
Well this visit turned out to be "OMG Brian's had the charisma by-pass operation reversed and had a full and successful personality transplant" weekend.
Brian was chatty, smiley, helpful, jolly.......................................okay what have you done with the real Brian.
Just lately whenever I see a very smiley late-middle aged man been unnaturally happy I can't help wondering if this has got anything to do with the fact that so many late-middle aged women have been reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.
A re-ignition of the all but extinguished love spark brought about by wifies introduction to the bedroom antics of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey perhaps or perhaps its got nothing to do with the British author E. L. James but more to do with a change of Brian's medication, we'll never know!
Whatever the reason it's got to be said Brian was very pleasant! Brian was lovely, the site was lovely, and despite a dismal forecast the weather was lovely too.
I bet you're wondering if by now if I've changed my medication but it'
s all true.
As mentioned earlier, on visit No.2 we went on a walk up Mam Tor, along to Hollins Cross and back down into Castleton and we posted details of the walk for anyone who was interested on the blog.
Again on this visit due to the nice weather we decided to go on another walk on the Saturday but unlike the last one we will not be posting details of this walk on the blog for reasons that will become apparent.
Having decided that a walk would be nice it was then decided that it would also be nice if that at some stage it included a visit to The Nags Head in Edale for a pint and a bit of nostalgia.
Though work, like the rest of the economy had been a bit slow we had just had a much overdue busy period and because of this we were both a bit tired and this is where it all gets a bit weird and why our rationale was a little off.
To explain, although we were in The Peak District we decided that there must be a way of walking from Castleton to Edale without having to go up and down any peaks or hills as they're commonly known anywhere else in the country. I know, we're not normal, who else would visit the Peak District and want to go on a flat walk but us.
My, I mean our, mentality was that if trains go from Hope to Edale on the main Sheffield Manchester line, and that if trains don't go up hill (much), and if it was a relatively flat walk from Castleton to Hope then it was going to be possible to walk from Castleton to Edale without going up or down any hills.
We couldn't believe we where the first to come up with this concept, "Flat Walks Around The Peak District" move over Wainwright you've got competition we thought!
At around 14.45 we set off for Hope. I had the rucksack which contained our waterproofs, just in case and a big bottle of water for Buster.
Our first planned port of call was the Spar shop in Hope to acquire more provisions for me and H, well a couple of bottles of pop a piece at least.
Hope train station is just about a mile further on from the Spar shop but just after the Spar there is a left turn and a sign post for Edale, 5 or 6 miles. We'd seen the sign post loads of times and this was the way we were going to walk.
The first three quarters of a mile to a mile weren't too bad but it was at this point that the footpath ended and with next to no verge we were force to walk for the next four and a bit miles on the very narrow, and what turned out to be, very busy road.
Not busy in the sense of nose to tail traffic but there were at least three or four cars every minute. This also included a "Just Married" car and the wedding entourage of about another thirty cars.
The narrow road, lack of a verge, never mind a footpath and after numerous blind bends we had soon realised why no one else was walking on this "Flat Walk in the Peak District". Call the publishers H, we're going to have to re-think the book.
After about a hour and a big bit we were about a quarter of a mile from Edale, with our nerves and Busters totally shot it was a relief when we reach a footpath on our left hand side which we knew led up to Hollins Cross and to our right a footpath we'd used in the past and which we
knew came out at Edale visitors centre half way through the village, we'd got off the road from hell at last.
We stopped for a quick look around the visitors centre and got chatting to the very friendly Peak Ranger.
Buster was tired and so were we and we didn't fancy either walking back to Castleton along the same
route on which we'd arrived and nor did we fancy the conventional up and over cross country route either.
The Peak Ranger found us his last copy of the train time table and we picked a train time which would allow us enough time to walk to the Nags Head for my nostalgic pint (s) which was at one end of Edale before walking to the other end to catch our train back to Hope.
It cost £6.00 for the two of us and Buster to take the six minute journey from Edale to Hope Station and the fact that this had allowed us to have a couple of pints at the Nags Head meant it was worth every penny.
From Hope train station it is still about another two miles back to the Caravan Club site along flat, level, generous footpaths and this leg of the trip was easily broken up by visits for essential refreshments at two of the four pubs in Hope.
We'd had a very long, full and enjoyable day despite the traffic and the road from hell.
We certainly wouldn'
t recommend that anyone takes the walk along the road from Hope to Edale and in fact we would actually, strongly recommend against it as I'm sure the road is that narrow, the blind bends are so numerous and traffic that heavy that this route could have fatal consequences.
We would however recommend, if you didn't fancy peak/hill walking, the walk to Hope Station, the train to Edale and a gentle stroll to the Nags Head and then back again. This is a nice day out and because Hope to Edale is on the main Pennine Sheffield to Manchester line a frequent service is offered seven days a week.
Once again we'd booked the Sunday evening on the site so we didn't have to rush off at 12 o'clock and much of Sunday was spent just relaxing as work fatigue was now joined by walking fatigue.
The decision to book the extra night then paid dividends as one phone call was followed by another from the two remaining offspring still residing with us on a regular basis. Neither was going to be at home on Sunday evening so in the end we decided to stay until the Monday morning. This also meant, following a sufficient period of relaxation we were fit enough to walk into and around Castleton on Sunday afternoon and enjoy a pub lunch.
All in all a cracking weekend!!