As a follow up to Peru, I had decided to walk the High Peak Trail for the British Heart Foundation. This is a 17 mile linear walk which starts at the High Peak Trail at Sparklow and finishes at Cromford Meadows.
I had stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn in Derby and after eating a breakfast of two bananas I left there at 0545 in order to get to the registration point in time to catch the first set of buses. My plans were almost foiled at the car park near the hotel when I could not find a pay point. There was not one at the entrance, there was not one at Level 6 where I had parked the car overnight, and it was only by then walking down level by level that I found one on Level 3. Finally I drove away at 0600, eating an apple. I arrived at Cromford Meadows at 0635 and changed into my Scarpa ZG10 boots. I took my daypack and my Leki walking poles from the boot of my car and made my way over to the registration tent. There was already a crowd of people in there waiting to head out, and almost immediately I spotted Jim Macleerie, who had walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks with me. The way this was going to work was that they would bus us over to Sparklow and then we would walk back to our cars at Cromford Meadows. We got onto a bus at 0700 and set off. And that was when I realised I had forgotten to bring any of my snack bars from the car. I wondered what effect that would have on my day.
It was a cold, foggy morning, so I put on my Mountain Equipment Fitzroy jacket over my Berghaus red top number 1 (you may need to read my Across The Andes By Prog blogs to understand that reference), and we got started at 0735. We could see the path ahead and not much else because of the fog. The path looked straight and flat, and our initial impression was borne out as we walked to the first checkpoint. This was 2 miles on and we reached it at 0809, having walked along a perfectly flat and straight path the whole way. Things did not change at all as we continued to the next checkpoint at the 7 mile mark. We reached that at 0930 and as we took a stop I drank my Innocent mango and passion fruit drink. The walk was not proving to be anything of a challenge for either Jim or myself, and the fog was still denying us sight of any view along the way. Forgetting my snacks was not having any effect whatsoever on my day.
And then it changed ! The track was no longer running flat and straight. It was going downhill. Yes, things were actually going to get easier. There were signs warning of the steep incline of 1:14. So far as we could work out these were simply intended to try to drum up some excitement, because there was nothing steep about the gentle incline. At 1125 I ate a Nakd bar which was still in my daypack after Peru. At 1135 we reached the Middleton Top checkpoint, at 13 miles, and took a toilet break. We reached another steep incline, this time of 1:8. This one was so dangerous that they had signs advising cyclists to dismount. I very much doubt that any do. There was a third incline, but they must have forgotten to put up warning signs for this one. Frankly, none of these inclines came anywhere close to anything we had encountered on the Yorkshire Three Peaks, let alone anything I had encountered in Peru.
We reached the finish line at 1245, having completed the 17 miles in 5 hours and 10 minutes. We collected our medals and I got my tshirt. I ate a Mars Bar and had a cheeseburger from the barbeque being run by the Matlock Lions Rugby Club. I got back to my car and ate a Manuka Honey Bar, which contains oriental radish seeds and broccoli seed extract powder. So the High Peak Trail contains no peaks. It had been good fun walking with Jim, but I know we will set ourselves greater walking challenges next year. This can very much be seen as a walk suitable for beginners, and it was good to see that it was so popular for such a worthwhile charity, because it is very suitable for something like that. I was happy that I had completed it and it is another one to tick off the list.