The hottest day of the year so I decided to confirm Noel Coward's theory that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. I planned to plod around Carsington Water which is a huge reservoir south of Wirksworth in Derbyshire. Though I usually display the geographical certainty of a homing pigeon, yesterday I got slightly blown off course and found myself driving through a delightfully cut off village called Kirk Ireton - beautiful old pub "The Barley Mow", squat little Norman church and no main roads passing through. No mosques. No taxis. No kebab houses or advertising hoardings. No litter. A village out of time - how England used to be.
Then it was on to Hopton where I parked up near Hopton Hall, tied the comfy new boots I recently bought at "Decathlon" and headed down towards the reservoir with a little backback over my shoulders containing an apple and two small bottles of water. At first, it was as if I was heading to a rock festival with so many day trippers clogging the paths - dogs in tow, fingers texting on mobile phones, whingeing kids. They were putting me off my marching rhythm so I just barged past them sending them flying into the brambles.
I took a detour to another delightful village called Hognaston which is from the same mould as Kirk Ireton - squat church, "Red Lion" pub - but the school, the schoolmaster's house and the two chapels are now private residences and the village shop has gone the same way.
Back to the reservoir, plodding along. Not so many visitors at the southern end. Numerous small yachts or sailboats were out on the water trying to catch what little breeze there was. Occasionally, cyclists whooshed or heaved by depending on the path's gradient - up or down. I kept walking past the same little family - all a bit chubby, sensibly taking regular rests. And as they panted on their benches, regretting all those pizzas, potatoes and cakes they kept looking up with a degree of puzzled irritation to see me plodding past them once again. Not Yorkshire Pudding,but Yorkshire Plodding, heading back to Hopton with another eight miles on the mileometer....
|"The Barley Mow" in Kirk Ireton|
|RAF Quadrant or Bombing Tower - overlooking the reservoir|
|Life is a beach. Chilling in the sun by Carsington Water|
|"The Red Lion" in Hognaston|
|Draw off tower rising from the reservoir|
|Eastern shore of Carsington Water|
|Elizabethan window back in Hopton|