So I sit tonight upon my hilltop (my personal hilltop of course!) in Spain beneath a full moon, casting the mediterranean in shimmering, platinum light. I was thinking about Joni Mitchell’s Matala moon in the song ‘Carey’ and just discovered through another blog that Matala is actually in Crete, for some reason I always imagined her in Tarifa in Spain in that song with the wind blowing in from Africa, but Crete is acceptable and I’m glad to know who Carey was now too. My magical moment of peace and natural beauty is being accompanied, not only by the gentle rustle of the easterly breeze through the pines and a chorus of cicadas, but somewhere, in the near distance, ..several girls, around a pool, whom I suspect may have been drinking rather a lot , singing: ‘I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world’ at the top of their voices… thank you ladies, for completing the perfect moment, tonight you are my muse!
Little fluffy clouds woo oo, little fluffy clouds..
ANYWAY.. I digress massively! It is time, to cast my mind back to a year ago today when I had just reached Chesterfield in a state of exhaustion after taking on my greatest challenge yet with cycle and trailer…. the peak district, Derbyshire, famous for peaks!
After lunch in the bus station cafe as shown in yesterday’s post, and Brian’s tyre being fixed in the local bike shop. We set off for the mean hills of Derbyshire. Whether we took the wisest route or not I don’t know. According to the man with dog we stopped and talked to at the top of one massive hill, we’d taken the worst route possible, according to the women in the cafe, it was probably the easiest route. According to the man with high waisted trousers in Critch, we had stumbled across God’s own country and we should really climb higher still to get the best views!
All I can tell you is that this was the most physically challenging day of the entire trip and also the most beautiful, and actually one of the most enjoyable. Despite the pain and exhaustion it was a great day and I was very happy to be able to share it with Brian. I was also very happy to be able to share my panniers.. (just the once, might I add) with Brian! In fact I’m not sure what would have happened if I’d been alone that day, I may still be there, half way up a hill, sat on a dry stone wall, crying, waiting for my non existent support van to come and save me!
Forever grateful for that day Mr Hargreaves!
We climbed and climbed…. and climbed, up to the village of Critch (pronounced: Christ! With a ch) As in ‘Critch!!! It’s hilly! where’s the shop? I need a drink before I’m completely dehydrated!’
Outside the shop, we met a very nice slightly oversized man in very high waisted trousers, or possibly it was just that his body was out of proportion to his trousers. Anyway he asked us if we’d ever been to Critch before and wanted to tell us all about what the seemingly small village had to offer. He said you really must carry on up to the viewing tower it’s …….metres above sea level, as Brian’s face brightened at such a thought my heart sank, ‘Really!?’ I thought, ‘We need to climb an extra hill, not on our route, with a trailer in tow, just to see the view???! ‘
He also told us about a route across the moors that would be most direct towards Chesterfield and would end up on the infamous ‘Slack Hill’ that climbs steeply up for 10 miles out of Matlock before descending into Chesterfield. He said we’d join it on the incline.
Brian ever the trusting, optimistic soul, said ‘What a lovely man. We should definitely do that then!’. This meant that we would not be following the cycle streets route planning app that I’d been religiously following up until now and therefore straying from my navigational comfort zone. I had my reservations about this coupled with a slight reluctance to trust the word of a man with such high trousers, even though he did seem very nice… Still it was a beautiful day, and in the spirit of adventure I gave in!