Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hope to Castleton

We set out early today and drove across country through Ipstones, Longnor and Tideswell to Hope. The air was clear as we traveled through the patchwork quilt of fields all lightly touched by a soft sprinkling of snow, the hills in the distance sparkling white in the sun. We arrived in Hope and after parking we crossed the road to have coffee at Woodbine Cottage where we mingled with other sturdy booted, wooly hatted walkers sitting around the warm log fire the air redolent with the smell of coffee and wood smoke. Suitably refreshed we wondered down past the church, over the river and took the public footpath to Castleton. The path was quite muddy in places and the wind almost took our breath away as we gazed at the ruins of Peveril Castle in the distance on the hillside above the town. Each field was dotted with sheep and suckling lambs who gazed nervously at us as we struggled to climb the stiles without slipping and landing in the quagmires below.

Castleton was quiet – quieter than at Christmas – when the town buzzes with folks viewing the lights. We looked in one or two shops and the new heritage centre which was very interesting. We were wondering about the walk up to the castle but just as we stepped outside again the sun disappeared and the rain began to come down. We decided then to go back another time to visit the castle. As we came out of the bookshop the sun came out again so we walked back to Hope and drove home calling into the large bookshop at Brierlow Bar where I couldn’t resist buying a couple of books – ‘Letters from the Fens’ by Edward Storey and ‘The Waves’ by Virginia Woolf – the cost for both just £4.98. I love days like today.

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