Be careful what you wish for.
It’s a salutary lesson at the best of times, but today was an especial reminder.
We knew that today would be arduous. The projected routes and elevations on google maps, for both legs of the journey, left us in no doubt about that. After our flat and fast (for me anyway) trek yesterday
Mike suggested setting off early, around half 8, which turned out to be a very good idea when navigating your way out of a big city. It was fairly straightforward then but an hour later would have turned devilish with all the traffic.
Because of the early dart we didn’t have breakfast until later: MacDonald’s egg McMuffins and the like. Not quite sure when I last had a Maccies but it filled a hole today.
We had been travelling along a very busy road, the A610, for the first hour and hoped, after our turn off for breakfast, to find a more scenic and quieter route but that didn’t quite happen straightaway.
When it did, we were into Derbyshire proper and the rolling hills and farms were beautiful to see. However, it appears that country roads are more undulating than the main roads. In order to see the landscape in its pastoral glory, we needed to climb some serious hills.
Mike was a machine and stayed on his bike
pretty much all the way to Matlock. John may well have been able to but saw me walking, several times, and thought that he didn’t fancy putting in all that effort. And I? Well I ain’t no country chick that’s for sure. As soon as the inclines dragged on for more than a few hundred yards, I got off and pushed, and I didn’t feel at all guilty about it!
The ride into Matlock was a somewhat hair-raising descent. When we got near the centre and I pulled out my phone to check final directions, it asked me if I had been driving!
The support crew had found us a lovely spot in the back garden of a café and we refuelled with gusto as we sat and rested. Matlock is a lovely looking town and had more of a vibrant air about it compared to Newark yesterday. Apparently there is an amazing bookshop very near there, according to John’s daughters, called Scarthin that has eight floors of books! Definitely a sign of a quality place.
We realised that the Buxton Youth Hostel we were staying in was a lot closer to us than Buxton was which was a bonus. It was in Hartington, and the hostel itself was actually in Hartington Hall, a rather grand looking manor house. It meant that our full day’s mileage became a bit lower than originally planned.
To get there, however, there were yet more hills. Google maps actually said that the elevation was going to be more than the first half! We did want quiet country roads I guess.
One of the roads that Google suggested had a sign at the entry saying it wasn’t suitable for cars. But we were on bikes so that was okay.
An hour’s slog of a walk later, involving dodgy rocky ground and occasional mini lakes that needed traversing, I heard cars whizzing past in the near distance, and I did briefly love that sound. It had been a couple of skidding attempts at cycling, but more of a trudge. The guys were able to occasionally pick up their super light bikes, especially around the big mud pool but I had to push mine all the way.
So I say again. Be careful what you wish for. But, then again, without these winding country roads and occasional dirt tracks we wouldn’t have seen such lovely landscapes so it was worth it. I think!
The Hostel sign at the end was a joy to behold and I have to say that it’s one of the grandest looking hostels I’ve ever seen. Hopefully this was the toughest day as I’m not sure I had much more in the tank. But we made it to the end and I’m rather chuffed.
Stats: 3200 ft climbing. Around 40 miles.
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