13 July 2013


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


  1. Sir YP, maybe you could patent a plodometer?

  2. CAROL IN CHAINS And maybe you could patent the idea of a joyous song to be sung only at Christmastime?

  3. Dear Mr. Plodding,

    Thou hast plodded well and observed well
    The Barley Mow to mine eyes a delight
    The Bombing tower an impressive sight!
    The water looks cool in the midday sun
    I've no doubt you had lots of fun
    Did you per chance stop at the Red Lion Inn
    And quench thy thirst or drink from your bottles again?

    Yes I know the poem is rough, you don't get perfection in five minutes. :)

  4. This walk should put you in line for beatification*. I love the walk but for me it's a midweek wander in winter only and out of the school holidays.

    * Of cause you would have to be both a Roman Catholic and dead to be considered.

  5. What a lovely walk it must have bean.
    I do admire your dogged (if I may use that word) determination to exercise those chubby legs and hindquarters of yours at every opportunity. I'm sure your family appreciates it immensely. Your absence, I mean.

    The photographs are, as usual, marvelous.

  6. By Jove, I do believe I made a sort of poem myself, of the Ogden Nash extended-line type.

  7. DAVID OLIVER Excellent but perhaps the seventh line should read...
    "And quench thy thirst with ale or gin?"
    ADRIAN Several bird hides by the reservoir. One day perhaps you'll visit. As for beatification - do you get a company car with your sainthood? I'll have mine in satanic red.
    RHYMES WITH PLAGUE I hope I am setting you an example before your training regime commences. Has the elasticated headband arrived yet?

  8. 'another eight miles...'!! By that time, my hips and knees would be crawling along beside me. ;)

  9. Fantastic photos! Switch them to black and white, add a sepia tone and they could well be shots of the England we once knew.

  10. Fantastic photos! Switch them to black and white, add a sepia tone and they could well be shots of the England we once knew.

  11. Yes Mr. Pudding, that's the right line! Actually I was trying to think of something like that but couldn't remember the word ale. Also the "no doubt you have lots of fun" doesn't fit...

  12. Apple and two bottles of water? I thought at the very least you would have taken a hunk of Sage Derby and a good 100% organical wholemeal doorstep or two.

    Added to which a good tart (Bakewell naturally) to finish.

    You'll be fading away man!


  13. LETTICE LEAF When in Bakewell, your correspondent naturally opts for the pudding rather than the tart. Bakewell tarts can play havoc with your constitution and it's often hard to understand what they are saying in their thick Derbyshire accent.


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