|Day 32 – May 8||Tideswell to Glossop|
|Weather: Cloudy, Windy and Cold||B&B: Peakdale Lodge (£35)|
|Departed: 8:55 Arrived: 15:30||Walked: 5h 40m Rested: 1 hr 00m|
|Distance Today: 17.7 mi / 28.49 km||Total Distance: 510.1 mi / 820.93 km|
|% Complete: ~ 44.86%||Pint of the Day: Holt’s Bitter|
|GPS Track for: Day 32|
It’s hard to believe it’s May 8 when it’s as bitterly cold as it was today. Strong winds out of the northeast picked up cold air off the North Sea and the temperature plummeted as a result. The skies were dark and foreboding for much of the day but produced only a few very brief showers. Nevertheless within half an hour of leaving my b&b I stopped to put on all of my rain gear just in case.
The walk started with a steep climb out of Tideswell along a local road to the farming community of Wheston. My first objective was the town of Peak Forest and there were several ways to get there. I changed my mind a couple of times but in the end I opted for the Pennine Bridleway and Limestone Way. Both used a combination of dirt tracks and local roads and so navigation was relatively straight forward. I passed quite a few walkers, some coming down from the Peaks, including a group of school kids who looked like they had spent the night on top.
I was moving at a fairly brisk pace (it helped me stay warm) and so I found myself just north of Peak Forest in just over an hour. From there I continued on the Pennine Bridleway through Perry Dale and then up a very steep hill before crossing an A-road to a very rough dirt track. This dirt track was to be my home for the next couple of hours as I made my way up on to the moors and towards South Head. I saw more walkers, a few cyclists and a handful of dirt bike riders. The views from up top were spectacular, especially the one that greets you as you crest South Head itself. This was where the wind was at its strongest and there were times it nearly blew me over.
Shortly after reaching South Head I rounded Mount Famine where I found myself staring out at a dark and very foreboding horizon. Was I standing at the gates to Mordor?! No, it was actually Greater Manchester and it looked positively Victorian. The apocalyptic skies combined with the thick haze (or was it smog?) to cast the city in a very dramatic light. The strong wind and the distinct threat of Ringwraiths meant I didn’t hang around long to admire the view. My next objective was Hayfield which lay a couple of miles downhill.
I hadn’t taken a break all day and with 10 miles already under my belt my intention was to stop in Hayfield. However it didn’t take long to realize something big was going on in the town as it was absolutely heaving with people who looked like they were waiting for a parade. It was May Day in Hayfield and my hat goes off to them because I’ve never seen a May Day celebration like it. Houses and streets were lined with streamers and pennants and decorations filled many front yards. People were dressed in costume and Pipe bands mixed with brass bands while numerous floats sat at the ready. I wandered around for awhile but in the end I didn’t take my break. I chatted to a few locals and then made my way out of town.
The last 5 or 6 miles to Glossop were on a route I cobbled together that paralleled the busy A-road. It involved a stiff climb and then a series of tracks, bridleways and footpaths before emerging on top of Whiteley Nab which towers over Glossop. It was then a very steep descent through moorland and pasture to an A-road that led me into the center of town. After 17+ miles without a break I murdered my pint of Holt’s Bitter at the Norwich Arms and then hobbled off to my b&b just down the road.
At some point while climbing up South Head I reached the 500-mile mark and so I decided to celebrate by splashing out on some Thai food. Spring Rolls and Chicken Pad Thai were just what the doctor ordered.
Tomorrow I’m off to Diggle and then on Monday I head to Hebden Bridge where I plan to take a couple of days off.