Thursday 1 May 2008
Wanting to get a walk in I travelled up to Buxton on the Thursday. My intention was to head for a camp site nearby and walk over to Ashford in the Water on the Friday. The camp site, Thornheyes farm, was muddy. My heart sank, I am growing to loath campsites that offer pitches in mud. Sorry, I just do not do mud. The pole for the hex had to have a piece of wood placed under it after it sank a good three inches. Some rain during the night meant packing a wet tent but I was glad to be away. A gentle walk over to Peak Dale and then on to Small Dale and around to the Pennine bridleway. Down through Hay Dale and Monks Dale. from there picked up the old railway track that is now the Monsal trail and continued on to Monsal Head and then by bridleways to Ashford. A pleasant day's walking. The campsite was huge, covering several acres. It is marked as a holiday park and has both static and mobile caravans. The area marked out for the backpackers was small in comparison. By Saturday it was crowded. A pity really. There was a large space right next door used for car parking. Three quarters of it remained unused throughout the weekend. Possibly if we had been allowed to utilise the area things would have far less cramped. To be honest, after Bellingham last year, this year was something of a let down. Far less trade stands, pubs that had no time for people who wanted food. Darren and John have already written up about people's lack of consideration for others. it highlights the point of why so many of us prefer wild camping. I had just turned in when all the noise started. As someone who finds crowds extremely stressful, I found I was heading towards a migraine. Fortunately I have tablets that ward off a severe attack. However, all I wanted was some peace and quiet. Sheep are peaceful neighbours in comparison. To cap things off, on Sunday, not realizing my clock was slow, I just missed the nine o clock bus. Thankfully there was another just before ten. This allowed me to catch the 10 25 train from Buxton to Stockport. Things just continued on downhill from there. The fast train to London that I wanted was cancelled. Caught the next one. Shortly after it stopped and we where told it was due to a major power failure further down the track. We sat for some twenty minutes before resuming our journey. Another couple of stops with regular announcements by the train manager. " Sorry for the delays, there are four trains currently held in front of us. As yet there is uncertainty whether we actually proceed to London." Oh the joys of rail travel! We eventually almost made it to Birmingham International only to stop once more. this time due to a major security alert which had closed both the airport and station. Finally we where allowed to proceed but not to stop at the station. Passengers had to get off further down the line and travel back. Just outside Milton Keynes we stopped yet again. A total signal failure this time. Finally we headed back up the track and over to Northampton. It was total chaos. Other trains had also been diverted there. The station was wall to wall in people. The station staff where overwhelmed. Coaches had been arranged, sort of. They trickled in slowly, in dribs and drabs. There where three people trying to sort the mess out. The actual guy trying to find where coaches where supposed to be going was doing so via a mobile phone. It was one almighty scrum. Managed to get myself on a coach for Euston. When we got to London, it quickly obvious the driver had no idea where he was going. As we hit Oxford street for the second time there was mutiny. Passengers demanded he stop the coach immediately and a whole crowd of us abandoned ship. Not bad, arriving back in London some four hours plus late?