A Search for Solitude – Part 3

With my sights set on Mam Tor I departed along the ridge, making good time. I decided to stop a while and have a proper drink. I also remembered with delight that I had mint cake in my pack! It’s hard to describe the restorative effect that mint cake has, but it’s less hard to understand – at approx. 99% sugar, flavoured with peppermint, it gives you a proper rush right when you need it. I had been sat for just a few moments, filming the passing of a small train to show Bethan when I got home (she loves small stations and remote train journeys) when I realised I was completely surrounded! There were people everywhere! A group of teenagers had descended on-mass and were taking it in turns to stand on a rocky outcrop and pretend to be in the Lion King. A fine choice of film, of course, but it would have been nice if they hadn’t been shouting the opening Zulu chants, you know the ones I mean, at the top of their voices.

I realised that I was going to have to keep moving if I was to find the isolation I was so desperately looking for, so set off at a good speed to the summit of Mam Tor. The walk passed uneventfully, although I was passed by several very impressive fell-runners who were managing an incredible pace on the tricky terrain and in the heat of the day. I am fit, but not that fit. Making my way down to the road for my descent to Edale, I dropped one of my Earth pounds into the donation box at the start of the path. My coin sounded as thought it fell into many others, and I’m glad that visitors are helping to pay for the upkeep of such a magnificent place.

Just as I was beginning the descent down to Edale I heard a call. Turning, I saw another lone walker approach, wanting to know the route to Edale. “I’m heading there myself” I said, and we walked to the village together. There is a strong sense of community among walkers, everyone greets you and anyone will help you with directions or advice, and so I found myself with Paul, who looked remarkably like Gryff Rhys Jones, who had traveled on the train for just a morning walk and who was head back to the station. I continued to the pub, and Paul joined me for a pint. Shortly after, his train was due, and after a brief discussion about the merits of wearing a hat (mine is a wide brimmed Australian style leather hat, while Paul had a more convenient synthetic hat that can be easily stored), he departed, and I realised it was time I was moving too. My main ascent was yet to come, and with the full heat of the day upon me, it was likely to be a challenge.

Reinvigorated by a steak baguette and a beer, I set off, for the Pennine way.

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