More waterfalls and a past pandemic.

06/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 76 have died in the UK. There are 184 active cases in the Harborough area.

Today my new GPS arrived, my  12yr old  Active 10 has now been replaced by an Active 20. There was nothing wrong with the 10, just general wear and tear, it has been a good, invaluable and mostly reliable workhorse, guiding me around the various trails of the UK. I shall practice using the new GPS next week when Sue and I complete our fore-shortened waterfalls adventure in the Peak District. The trusty 10 will still accompany us (just in case!)

A fortunate Sue spent a dry morning rambling with her U3A group around Pitsford Country Park, it rained heavily after she retruned.

07/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 59 have died in the UK. There are 172 active cases in the Harborough area.

Alice has another tooth! Sarah took her on a walk with her friend Nikki and by the time they had returned home it seems the tooth had pushed through the gum! It certainly explained the previous last nights lack of sleep!

Sue had her hair cut for the first time since lock-down (looks really nice) and found time in the afternoon to visit Doreen, returning with a box of Vitamin D tablets for us both. Doreen seems always concerned for our well being and Vit.D is known to boost the immune system and helps fight off infections (corona-virus?) Most likely Sue and I produce enough of the vitamin ourselves, we spend quite a lot of time outside, but it is a very kind thought and much appreciated.

08/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 77 have died in the UK. There are 201 active cases in the Harborough area.

A rainy morning saw Sue, Charlotte, Harry and I travel to Newbold Verdon to see Sarah, Lee and Alice. Sue and I had already planned to visit today, but an early impromptu phone call from Charlotte included her and Harry in  our journey north east. Providentially, as we arrived the rain stopped.

After quick cuddles with Alice and hot drinks, Sue and I set off with Mia and Harry for a ramble, leaving Sarah, Lee, Charlotte and Alice departing to visit a Nursery in the village to see if it is suitable for Alice when Sarah returns to work.

Our canine accompanied route took us mainly through wet and muddy fields to the nearby village of Osbaston, the trail contributing to the coating of the underside of Mia with a grubby layer of north Leicestershire sludge. A much taller Harry, fared better with just a faint tide line half way up his legs, being brown haired it was quite unnoticeable. Though the cloud cover was thick and the conditions threatening, we were lucky, those puddles that we couldn’t avoid got no deeper with further rain. Today was a just a 6.02km ramble, but it proved to be a good workout for the new Active 20 GPS, the HD and touch sensitive screen was efficient and clear, though the new data pop-ups will need to be adjusted as I don’t require such a plethora of options.

We arrived back in time to satisfy the 12.30pm slot that Sarah had booked for us all to have lunch in the new village cafeteria that had opened just that week. It is nice to support such a local venture, the food, drink, atmosphere and pricing was good. We hope that they do well and prove to be an asset to a village that has already seen one of its pubs closed since the onset of Covid-19.

Returning to Sarah’s, as previously requested I busied myself with the chainsaw; heavily pruning an apple, cherry and plum tree located near the garden pond. While I did this, the ladies of the family amused Alice and nattered about all things babyish whilst sipping hot drinks. Lee quietly returned to his on-line work in the study.

With the branches lopped and the larger wood logged and made secure in the boot of the Fiesta, we returned to Harborough late in the afternoon.

Kos looks very quiet.

09/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 87 have died in the UK. There are 246 active cases in the Harborough area.

During the evening Jamie and Ruth delivered Maddie. The rabbit is vacationing in our greenhouse for a week while Jamie and three of his friends fly to Kos at 7am tomorrow morning for a get-away-from-Covid holiday.

10/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 81 have died in the UK. There are 198 active cases in the Harborough area.

11/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 65 have died in the UK. There are 198 active cases in the Harborough area. According to new research, Corona-virus can survive for a month on surfaces including banknotes, mobile phone screens and stainless steel.

12/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 50 have died in the UK. There are 253 active cases in the Harborough area. Pubs, bars, casinos and gyms in the Liverpool city region will be forced to close from Wednesday after the city was classified a “very high” risk area due to surging rates of Covid-19 infection.

On a day forecast to be ‘stormy’, both weather wise and politically, Sue and I drove to the Peak District  to finish off the two waterfall walks we had missed out on our last foray into the moors and dales of Derbyshire. Though a decidedly dull start to the day we encountered no predicted precipitation until we parked the car outside the little cafe next to Grindleford Station. Spits and spats of moisture accompanied us we set off across the little bridge spanning the railway line running through the Totley Tunnel. A light drizzle following us on  up onto the moor as we  ascended along a rough but well used trackway  giving motor vehicle access to a series of quite select properties.

Our route took us through ancient woodland (Bolehill Wood), mostly great oak as we continued ever upwards. Brief showers became the norm over the next hour of our climb, sheltered by a thick canopy of leaves they had little effect on us underneath and though hats and brollies were employed it seemed quite OTT, just contributing to the amount of

sweat exuded.  As we broke clear of the woodland, thankfully the rain abated, though the slope did not. Reaching the base of the Edge before Over Owler Tor we stopped  to gather blueberries in a small sheltered quarry and scoffed them greedily before scrambling up the Edge itself to reach the moorland above. Seeing the Tor to our left, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to climb this spectacular  lump of millstone grit, even though it didn’t lie on our waterfall route. The view from the top were well worth the extra effort.

The showers returned as the  trail now took us down into Padley Gorge. Reaching the watercourse we were at last rewarded by a series of cascades. The rain of last week and today has paid dividends and Burbage Brook greeted us with a gurgling, frothing rush of water which just a week ago was a meagre and disappointing dribble.  We first followed the torrent upstream before veering towards the impressive Longshaw Lodge built in 1827 for the Duke of Rutland as a shooting lodge. Skirting the perimeter of its grounds we returned to the gorge and the brook via a small lake and headed downstream. Despite the now constant rain we remained relatively dry as we once again ascended through thick oak wood, eventually reaching the sanctuary of Grindleford Station and my little Fiesta.

Refreshed with hot coffee and ham and tomato sandwiches we drove the short distance the the village of Eyam (pronounced ‘eem’). We have long since wanted to visit this historic settlement, famous for the actions of its inhabitants during the  plague (Black Death) of 1665 and 1666. An outbreak of the plague was contained when the villagers decided to isolate themselves from the surrounding communities, though many in the village died.

We parked in the centre of the village outside the parish church. Luckily, the church was open and having it to ourselves we sheltered from the rain and worked our way through the many displays and accompanying literature, particularly impressive were the Record of  Deaths and the beautiful Plague Window, giving a sobering insight into the horrors of this historic world event. Moving on through a steady drizzle, we meandered from one end of the village to the other, reading of the tragic fates of the occupants on the signage labeling many of the buildings. In many cases, whole families were wiped out in just a few days of each other.

Through the increasing gloom we first drove to Mompesson’s Well, situated on the road above Eyam heading towards Litton. The Rev. Mompesson put money in the well and collected supplies from traders who left goods in exchange, thereby quarantining the village. The well was filled with vinegar to disinfect the money placed in it so as not to spread the disease.  We next visited the Riley Graves located in a field just outside the settlement. The Riley Graves are the open graves of the  Hancock family, most of whom died during the outbreak of plague. In the space of a week, farmer Elizabeth Hancock lost her husband and 6 children to the plague. Tragically, Elizabeth had to bury her family herself, she carried and buried them on the hill on the boundary of her farm.

Perhaps those individuals who make light of Covid-19 should visit Eyam and just maybe they will begin to  understand the selfless commitment and discipline needed to thwart this current pandemic.

With the rain still falling we moved on, checking into our accommodation for the night, the Sir William Hotel in Grindleford. Feeling rather bedraggled and tired we opted to dry out and relax before having dinner in the hotel. Thankfully this turned out to be a good choice!

13/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 143 have died in the UK. There are 266 active cases in the Harborough area. The rise in infections and deaths is very worrying.

We woke early to a spectacular view from our bedroom window of mist laying like a chilly blanket across the the Hope Valley below, grey slate roofs poking through, chimneys engaged in spewing plumes of white vapour  from hidden cottages  only to lazily drift and join the smothering cloak. I wondered whether the inhabitants had ever considered the impact on winter heating bills when purchasing their property. By the time we had seated ourselves at a bay window table  for breakfast, the sun was just beginning to peep over the crest of the moor across the valley, providing an illusion of warmth to the scene slowly being revealed below us.

Breakfast scoffed we checked out of the Sir William and drove to Matlock to begin the last of our last waterfall rambles. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we parked up on Church Street, not surprisingly next to St. Giles church. Leaving the town, the first part of our route followed the brook that fed the River Derwent, passing by a series of mills that either stood derelict or had been recycled into living accommodation or offices. The stream bubbled happily alongside as we began to climb up towards Tansley. A solidly built settlement where the wealthy of Matlock seem to have located themselves. Passing by these opulent buildings we crossed the Alfreton Road and continued our upward march through Daisy Bank, passing its namesake farm on our way to the hamlet of Riber. As we skirted Riber Hall and castle (Smedley’s Folly), stopping briefly to ogle at this dominant feature of the Matlock skyline the rain arrived. We braved the early squalls sat on a bench admiring the views over the town, nibbling crisps and chocolate until the rain became unpleasant.

From the Hall our route took us steeply downhill along an increasingly wet and leaf strewn, stony path that took great care to navigate. We arrived back at the car under a deluge, thankfully seeking its refuge before we dissolved totally!

With plans now changed, thoughts of visiting the Heights of Abraham via the cable car were shelved in favour of driving to our hotel for the night, hoping the rain would ease on the journey, then take a walk into town to see what could amuse us. That’s what we did, though the rain gods weren’t listening and it continued to spit down large amounts of moisture to dampen our spirits.

The High Tor Hotel is situated next to the River Derwent, so we followed the path along its course into the town. With the rain doing its worst we dived into one of the many antique shops and spent time in ‘Bargain Hunt’ mode to unsuccessfully see off the deluge. We retraced our route to check into the hotel, looking and feeling, sodden!!

We decided to hunker down in our bunker for the rest of the evening and thus chose to take our evening meal in the hotel restaurant.

14/10/20 After testing positive for corona-virus 137 have died in the UK. There are 204 active cases in the Harborough area.

On a day forecast to be one of sunshine and showers we rose later than usual (the benefit of a particularly comfortable bed) and just about managed to make our allotted 8am time slot for a socially distanced breakfast. There was just one other couple finishing their meal in the  restaurant as we arrived, and as we were finishing ours about half an hour later, another couple obediently arrived for theirs. An efficient but psychologically uncomfortable system.

Not quite an antique!

Spoiled Lepus.

We checked out just after 10am and drove the short distance into Matlock , returning to the Antique shop of the previous afternoon. Yesterday, we had picked out a few things that had taken our fancy from this convenient rain shelter and after a brief and satisfactory spot of bargaining, we had asked that they put the items aside for us to collect the following day (if we were still keen on the idea). Parking up a little ways down the road, we paid the grateful retailer for the goods and carried our booty back to the car. Ironically, though purchased in an establishment principally engaged in the sale  of ‘antiques’, none of our purchases were. I guess we can put that down to the effects of a dismal rainy afternoon.

Our plan was to visit the Heights of Abraham postponed from yesterday, but the exertion of two treks in damp conditions over consecutive days had aggravated sore ligaments and muscles, so with plan B in operation, we headed south, away from the newly designated ‘Northern Corona-virus Hotspot’ to a presently safer ‘Medium Risk’ Harborough. Abraham will have to wait for another time, it is a sacrifice we are not prepared to make today.

On return, we weren’t surprise to find that Maddie had been treated to some new snacks and a new feeding dish. Viv (neighbour) has developed a soft spot for Jamie’s white rabbit and I think would love to look after him full time!


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