Some may think differently but we think we are lucky enough to work shifts, this means we can take midweek breaks when they allow and when it fits in around other commitments. Plus this also means some of the sites aren’t so busy which is always a bonus.
So Monday arrived, we were due to finish later in the day but had put a few hours in so we could finish at lunch, that morning dragged along dreadfully but eventually escaped and drove home to collect Pod.
We’d managed to miss the evening rush hour and because Pod is so small we took the quicker route down Winnats Pass and arrived at the site just after 2pm.
The site was smaller than most but the pitches were surprisingly large and spaced out, we didn’t feel hemmed in on the one we chose, although with hindsight we probably should have picked a pitch not so close to the main road, this wasn’t too much of an issue as we were out all day and by mid evening the traffic was reduced to a trickle.
Pod was soon set up so we walked the short distance into Castleton which turned out to be a lovely little village, full of cafes, pubs and small independent shops. Rain decided to make an appearance, once we had done a tour of the village we popped into The Peak Hotel for a pint.. or two, Farmers Blonde and Old Peculiar were followed by a pint of Black Sheep.
It had a great selection of shorts and a nice atmosphere, we sat down with our drinks and the manager lit the wood fire so we sat back and enjoyed the crackle and heat from the logs. The food being brought out also looked appetising, very tempting but we had a curry waiting back at Pod.
The chicken curry didn’t take long to cook on our little two ring hob and the rain didn’t look like it was going anywhere so we settled down to eat in the awning which was by now very cosy due to our little fan heater.
Dishes washed and the map was out on the table, time to plan our walk for the next day. After much turning of the map and scrunching up of faces a route was found. It took us from the main carpark in Edale, towards Grindslow House and up the hill to Kinder Scout, once there down Pennine Way and Jacobs Ladder, leading us back to Pod.
The plan was set and off for our showers we went. Only one toilet block on this site and the facilities were clean but a little tired, showers were hot and depending on which you were in depended on how powerful it was. Could of done with a bottle of bleach down the shower drains too, it was a little off putting to say the least.
Woke to a dry day but the forecast hinted at rain through the morning so rucksacks were loaded with the usual provisions and our waterproofs.
We soon began to climb upwards and this took us from one side of the widening stream to the other, the track was now very muddy due to the rain of the previous night and it was impossible to decide which side of the stream was best to climb along.
The stream was flowing fast over the chunky flat slate rocks which had turned a shiny black from the water, the water itself was peat coloured and all in all it looked more like an intricately designed waterfall flowing with a golden coloured good local ale, it was incredible to see how over the years it had cut its own design through the rock face. Only thing to come along and spoil it was the rain, and boy did it rain.
A light shower hit as we began the steep climb up to the top so waterproof coats were put on as we regretfully left this beautiful image behind, half way through our climb the heavens opened and we decided not to stop to put waterproof trousers on in the hope it would pass quickly, it didn’t.
We battled on upwards, over boulders and up the path that had turned into a free flowing waterfall to arrive at the top like two sodden wretches. The rain didn’t let up and the wind decided to join in too. Our lower halves were soaked by this point and we decided it was pointless to put waterproof trousers on and began our walk along the stone path in the direction of Kinder Scout.
Now Kinder Scout is well known for being boggy and the current weather conditions didn’t make it a sensible route, drenched we may have been for not putting all our waterproofs on when we had the chance but we still had some sense remaining, after assessing the waterlogged route we had already taken and speaking to other walkers we made the decision to not walk directly across Kinder Scout and head round the cliff face towards Crowden Brook and Tower.
Once this decision was made the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and we thankfully dried off in no time. The walk along was relatively flat and we soon set our eyes on the boulders of Wool Pack, they were incredible to see, you first see extremely large rock formations and as you pass through these off into the distance there are numerous others dotted along the landscape, some resting precariously on others, they looked like someone had sprinkled them along the edge, ready to tumble over the edge at one push.
It was in a slightly dishevelled state and we were curious to know if anyone was actually using it or if it had been abandoned. But what a strange place to leave it if that was the case. MB had a personal battle of will and managed to refrain from taking a peek inside so we carried on with our walk down Jacobs Ladder giving the odd glance back towards this lonely eery looking image on the hill.
Once at the bottom we followed the path past Lee House and onto the road towards Upper Booth. At the telephone box we turned left and walked through the farm to walk along the Pennine Way which gave us the opportunity when passing Broadlee-Bank Tor to look up towards the rocks and boulders we had been amongst a few hours earlier.
We eventually passed a caravan site on our right and the path brought us out opposite the school we had seen on our way up. Following the road back we walked under the railway bridge and turned left to where the car was amongst half a dozen left on the carpark.
The wonderful little ‘ap’ we had set running at the beginning informed us we had walked 13.70km in 5.21.33 (lunch included) and apparently 20090 of LB’s steps.
Back to Pod we went and after welcome hot showers we settled down in the awning, reviewed all our pictures and planned our return when we will most definitely get to take that route across Kinder Scout.
The area of Castleton and the Peak District has been an amazing discovery for us, the colour and the variety of the terrain is breath taking. The caravan site is well situated and the large pitches will always make it a favourite for us, just hope the showers smell a little sweeter next time. We will be back to discover more and as it’s on our doorstep we’d be fools not to.
A little foot note here.. You may have noticed our stuffed friend sat on our rucksacks in the back of the car. We’ve discovered that Podders and caravanners (maybe campers too ?) seem to have a dog.
Meet Poddington, a fitting name (donated by one of our FB friends x) for our stuffed companion who will join us on our treks and appear in strange places you probably never thought you’d see any dog, let alone a stuffed one ;).
UPDATED ADVENTURE – JANUARY 2018
Back we went for another mid-week break.
A new toilet block seems to have been built and the site is just as well run and maintained as we remember it.
As we were only there for two nights we only used the tarp on this occasion.
Really easy to put up but we hadn’t been there long before rain made an appearance so the chairs had to go in the car.
We took the short walk into Castleton and called into The Peak Hotel, they had a good selection of cask ales so we stayed to sample a few followed by a bite to eat. First off we tried Farmers Blonde and Holy Grail.
Sitting by the window with the radiator behind us it was bliss and with very welcoming staff we couldn’t ask for more.
Back at Pod it came time to try this new toilet block and we weren’t disappointed. It must be the only occasion where we’ve had to turn the shower down, piping hot, powerful and spotlessly clean.
Weather report for the following day really didn’t look very good, rain most of the day. We made plans for a walk and if this didn’t work out we’d go to one of the many caves or mines that were on offer.
We don’t mind getting wet on a good walk, but to start out that way without any hope of it stopping wasn’t our thing.
Needless to say it rained most of the night and was still doing so when we woke.
Decision was made to go to Blue John Mine just outside of Castleton.
Arrived to a small busy carpark and found this to be mostly staff and engineers in for maintenance work, but it was easy enough to park up on the road and walk down to the shop and mine.
To bear in mind for some as it is quite a steep walk and if you struggle with this the mine might not be best suited as there are over 200 steps down, which also means up.
We paid our £12.00 each and waited in the shop for about 10 minutes for the guide to be available.
Much to our surprise and great pleasure we discovered we were the only two on this tour so we had our own personal guide Septuagenarian Ben.
Down we went and Bens knowledge mixed with the history of the cave was extensive. He was brilliant, no airs and graces and his life and history was just as interesting as the caves.
After a good hour or so in Bens company we eventually reached topside again. We thanked him for his time and company and decided we’d drive back into Castleton for a walk round the small independent shops and look for somewhere for lunch.
There are certainly a few pubs to pick from in Castleton and we laughed a little as it could be the perfect place for a pub crawl. Each no more than 20m apart and you could easily get 10 stops in, no problem.
For lunch we decided on The Castle, very cosy and relaxed atmosphere to have our pint of Doonbar, followed by a fishfinger butty for one and a steak sandwich for the other.
We strolled through the village and ended up back at Pod to discover the electric had tripped at four of the bollards. Staff were aware and were working frantically to sort it, the sun was going down however without any sign of it being rectified.
Daylight had faded and staff were now operating by torch light, we all resigned ourselves to the situation and luckily for us our cable was long enough to reach a working bollard on the other side of the small annex we were on. We don’t know how other faired but as they were much bigger units than ours we guessed they’d have sorted some other form of heating/cooking method.
We had planned on eating in Pod; the electric might have been down had we not been able to move bollards, but as we had gas it wasn’t an issue.
Saying that though, the bollard situation had turned into a major distraction so we gave in and scuttled back into the village.. any excuse.
This time we thought we’d try Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Inn, another great country pub with log burners and cask ales on offer.
Dinner was ordered, the steak and ale pie and vegetable soup soon arrived, they were soon demolished with a pint of Chatsworth Gold. Perfect end to a wet but good day out.
Back to Pod we went and had great fun looking at the constellations that appeared above us in the clear starlit night above us.
Morning broke to an end of our two night break, rain had done its best yet again, but it never really stopped us getting out in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
It’s a place we will return to and we must try the summer months as the site is only an hour away for us, another perfect bolt hole for those times you just need to get out there .. and breathe.