On the run-up to Christmas mum (aka Val) dropped me a line saying that if I wanted to take Shelli away for a couple of days at the end of the Christmas holiday, she and Tony (aka dad) would look after the girls and the animals for us. Awesome! Finding time just for the two of us to be together is always difficult so I jumped at the chance!
My original plan was for us to drive down to Somerset and stay at Greenham Hall, somewhere I’d stayed on my LEJOG walk. Unfortunately, only having a couple of rooms, nothing was available on the night we were to go away. So, it was back to the drawing board. Once again I went back to the list of places I stayed back in 2010 to see if there was somewhere else I’d like to take Shelli to.
I came up with a shortlist and after a bit of deliberating I booked us a night at the Charles Cotton Hotel. I stayed there on walking day 27, in the little village of Hartington. We’d spent a long weekend in the Peak District before – staying in Ilam – walking up the River Dove. We didn’t make it as far up the river to Hartington that time though.
It being December we had no idea what the weather might be like, but we were hopeful it would be good enough for us to get out and do some walking. I plotted two routes for us to walk if things worked out okay. At the end of the day, if the weather wasn’t good enough we would be more than happy spending the quality time together indoors, eating and drinking.
Sunday the 30th December came round quickly after the busy Christmas week. We were up early to make sure we got to Hartington with enough time to make the most of our first day there. After a pretty quiet drive up we were parked in the hotel car park before 11am.
Even though we were staying there for the night having popped to their loos we went to the bar to make sure that it was okay for us to leave the car in their car park while we went off for a walk. The very cheerful man behind the bar said it was fine so we headed back to the car to get ready for the afternoon’s walk.
At 11:15 we “headed out the door” – i.e we locked the car and headed out of the car park – and turned up the road. It’d been a while since I was last in Hartington, and to be fair I was walking in the opposite direction, so we (I) almost missed the path between the little store and public toilets. Not the best start but we found it pretty quickly heading out over the fields towards the River Dove.
It was great to be out walking together that’s for sure. It had been too long since we’d been out due to Shelli’s back problems and, well, life in general.
It wasn’t too long before we got to the river, following more walkers than I thought we’d see out considering it wasn’t the best weather out. The River Dove is a lovely place to walk with its changing riverside scenery.
An hour into the walk, and shortly before we were to turn away from the river towards Biggin we found a nice spot to stop and have some lunch we’d brought with us. As seems to be customary on our walks of late, we both had a nice can of ale to help wash down our food. It was funny watching the people walk past us – especially the fellas – when they spotted our cans sitting next to our mugs. You could almost see “why didn’t I think of that?” flash across their faces. Hilarious.
Fed and watered we headed off again, taking the path up to Biggin. This was a little harder under foot compared to the riverside path we’d been on so far. Lots of rocks and roots making it tricky in places, especially as the ground was quite wet.
I didn’t want to get our hopes up too much, having fallen foul of the “PH” marks on maps far too often, but I’d made note that there was [supposed] to be a pub in Biggin. As we made our down Main Street I had my fingers crossed that this time it would be right and the pub would be open…and it was – hurrah! The Waterloo Inn was very welcoming and the table by the fire was just what Shelli needed after the chill of the afternoon.
We had a nice 40 minutes sitting in the warm, enjoying a rest and a chat and a nice pint of Butcombe Chris Moose, before we got back on our feet to walk the final stretch back to Hartington.
45 minutes, one minor detour down the wrong lane, and some stunning skies later we made it back to Hartington.
We checked in and were shown our room for the night. The suite was lovely – you could have had a party in the bathroom it was so big! – and it being before 4pm we chilled out, Shelli enjoying a nice soak in our corner bath. Being the classy people we are, we enjoyed a bottle of prosecco out of our mugs.
We had a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant and then headed out for a little stroll round the village to look at the Christmas lights and to walk off a bit of the very filling food.
A great start to our little trip away!
There are three galleries below. The first gallery is of photos taken on my DSLR, the second gallery is of photos taken on my phone, and the third gallery is of photos taken on Shelli’s phone.
My Phone Photos
Shelli’s Phone Photos
|Miles||Start (HH:MM)||Finish (HH:MM)||Breaks (HH:MM)||Walking (HH:MM)||Pace (MPH)||Steps Taken|
|Start Elavation (m)||End Elavation (m)||Max Elevation (m)||Min Elevation (m)||Total Climb (m)||Total Descent (m)||Climbs on Route|
|Rating||Start Point (miles)||End Point (miles)||Length (miles)||Start Elevation (m)||End Elevation (m)||Average Grade|
More information about climb ratings can be found at Map My Walk.