So, despite my best efforts – well, perhaps my it turns out inadequate efforts to bring a keyboard to spur me into writing, it turns out my grotty cheap Bluetooth keyboard is dead or faulty. Its always been a bit odd, but connecting it today on day 7, I think, of our holiday – the first time I got around to getting batteries was yesterday – and it seems to be dead. It’s sending continuous zeros to the phone which doesn’t work very well for writing.
I mean maybe if you’re into a long string of zeroes, but for writing some kind of journal entry it’s kinda inconvenient. Also a bit annoying because I was hoping to get a bit of actual writing in and I’m unlikely to tackle that on my phone.
Annnnyhow, we flew over to Heathrow, with our fancy n95s on, because COVID. That, it must be said, really added to the je ne sais quoi of flying economy. After 9 hours of basically no sleep, no eat, occasional drink, we made it to London and forked out the nearly 100 quid for a taxi to Finchley where our hotel was. That was us trying to avoid another plague tube trip, especially given that we arrived on a 40 C day – record breaking again (actual wildfires in London), and didn’t really want to haul our cases through London on the tube, then on the train, in that kind of temperature.
The next morning our adventure began in earnest. A little late because the rental car arrived an hour and a half late, but we did eventually make it up to our Airbnb at Birley Farm in Derbyshire. From our base there we struck out on a couple of walks, the longest being about 5 miles, exploring a bit of the peak district I don’t think I’ve seen, and to which Kathryn had never been before. We took the time to visit Chatsworth House, which I don’t think I’ve been to in the past. Just the gardens and the grounds, obviously, although the weather was bad enough early in the day that we probably could have got away with a quick inside tour without it getting too COVIDy. The gardens are expansive and quite lovely, and in the grounds they had an interesting exhibit of Burning Man related sculpture. I’m still a little unclear on the exact relationship between the sculptures and burning man. There seemed to be some collaboration with Burning Man folks and local schools and artists, but the information they provided was pretty limited.
Then yesterday we brought the little rental EV up to the Lakes over Wrynose and Hardknott passes, which was a bit of an adventure, after stopping at Booths to get some provisions for our stay.
We’re minimizing inside time and contact with other humans in an attempt to reduce the risk of carrying COVID to my mum, and holed up in a little studio apartment in Eskdale, just above The Green station. Having done a couple of pretty long walks by our standards while we were in The Peaks, today we promised ourselves a gentle walk. Following along the banks of The Esk, we thought we’d meander to Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall if we felt up to it. Sadly one of the paths – the one to the lower viewing point – was lost to a couple of rock falls and is currently closed (possibly permanently, according to the sign). The upper viewpoint, which is very new and posh, was open though so we continued our treck up to the top. Of course it being us we decided not to come back down the way we went up, and taking our selectedly-revised-in-1980 OS map we decided to chart a course around the top and back down the other side.
That didn’t work – it’s possible that those paths were lost to rock falls at some point in the last 40 years, I suppose – but rather than do the sane thing we then decided to track across to Low Ground and then headed across to Whincop before following something that optimistically started out as a path before becoming marshland and then becoming “is this a sheep track”, and then experimenting with being a former path (the stile/climbey-over-wall thing was missing several rungs and looked thoroughly unmaintained and led to an area which was mainly just bracken and willful us going “well downhill is good”), before popping us out by a rather beautiful area that looked like it might once have been a small settlement now hidden beneath a woodland canopy.
Then a rather more intact stile later we found ourselves back on a clearly demarked path. All rather longer than we’d intended, but worth it to enjoy the remarkably good weather and the beautiful scenery.
Having survived our expedition we treated ourselves to a coffee / tea / cake at Brook House Inn before catching the Li’l Ratty back from Dalegarth. Something I think both our feet are grateful for.
I’m still – as always – struggling with the fact that while I adore this place, the scenery is stunning and I just feel so – settled – in this environment, it’s also incredibly painful that the TERFs have made it clear that I cannot come back to live here, at least for the foreseeable future. Maybe Scotland, if they become independent, since the TERFs seem to have not caught on in the same way. But England? It’s simply not going to happen. And I never like having choice taken from me.
Add to that that the Republicans in the US have reportedly advanced a plan for legislation to forcibly detransiton trans adults if they get into power and things get a little angsty in my head.
Anyway, enough of that and back to looking at the pretty views.