Possibly the hardest day to date, with the likely exception of Bath. On my itinerary today is listed as 20 miles, but this would not have been a too exciting day with predominantly A road walking, and for the most part without pavements. I found what looked like an interesting route, a bit longer but certainly more walker friendly.
The Tissington Trail stretches from Ashbourne to around five miles short of Buxton, my destination for today, though the latter parts are usually referred to as the Big Peaks Trail. After a pleasant first half a dozen miles, with many many walkers, cyclists and families bounding about, the trail became exposed to say the least. I had had a bit of difficulty with a stiff breeze yesterday but this was a step or two up in wind aggression.
For a good three hours without respite I was buffeted by a cross wind, and the god of wind, whoever that may be, must have been very cross indeed with the world. Fortunately the god of rain continued his or her vacation, otherwise this would have taken unpleasantness to a level beyond Bath.
By 3pm I was still 8 miles from the end, but I stopped at one of the refreshment huts that appeared every three miles or so on the trail. The only place really out of the wind was the toilet and I took the opportunity of using the warm hand dryer a number of times. Back in the open, I had a toasted cheese sandwich (that took 10 minutes! What is complicated enough for it to take that long?), a very nice slice of fruit cake and a caramel latte (no vanilla available tut tut).
I sheltered about 200 yards further on here:
which is a stone shelter donated by Croatia as a thank you for welcoming the country to the European Union. Forget Robert Prosinecki, this was the greatest export from that part of the world.
From that point, I followed a young lady walker, who was clearly fit (in the walking sense) and could keep up a reasonable pace. I maintained a respectful distance of around 50-100 yards in order not to appear a stalker, and she helped me through a tough three miles or so, again with the wind in great blowing form.
As the trail ended, I had to move to the main road and suffered most of the rest of the journey with grass verges, though they were at least quite wide and didn’t pose a traffic danger. I could feel a decent blister forming on my right sole near the second and third toe and that was irritating rather than painful.
The fluorescent jacket was already having its 4th outing of the whole walk, as the sky became gloomy well before sunset. Eventually I reached Buxton and, just for once, soaked in the bath rather than in the shower. Felt much better for it. 23 miles felt more like 30 and nobody yet nobody can begrudge me a very decent meal tonight!