Mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun and I paid due heed to NoelCoward’s song on Saturday.
I needed to test my recovering back so I loaded up my GoLite Pinnacle with tent, sleeping bag and the usual backpacking paraphernalia and headed off.
I thought I would try to squeeze in at the Crowden campsite, although didn’t hold much hope. The pack weighed 20lbs-plus (hardly lightweight) and it felt good to be able to move fluidly under this load.
I took my poles to help my posture and I was glad of the decision.
I walked past Walkerwood reservoir on my usual beat and headed to kinder countryside. A trout reservoir this may be, but I watched a large common carp bask in the clear waters.
Ogden Brook bubbled excitedly en route to Arnfield and Tintwistle, and foxgloves lined the banks.
I skirted the reservoirs of Longdendale via the Trans Pennine Trail and then the Pennine Way. The waters had receded, exposing a parched moonscape in the valley bottom.
I reached Crowden and it was a mini refuge camp… with cheek-by-jowl tents separated by pub brollies and tatty awnings shading smoking barbecues. The owners were not benefiting from the shade, though: tattooed skin sizzled in the sunshine.
I sat under a tree, had lunch and considered my options. I would press on along the Pennine Way and cut across to Chew Reservoir and then Dove Stones before working my way home.
It was frustrating not to camp out, but the site would have been purgatory even if I’d managed to squeeze on.
I climbed along the ‘Way to Laddow Rocks. The familiar ground allowed me to concentrate on my posture and technique. Up high it felt good to be on the moor again… and alone.
Here, a bit of drama… I ran out of water. I considered my options. Good water is hard to find on the tops so I would to press on.
It was a bit touch and go by the time I reached Dove Stones and the lovely woman who runs the ‘green monster’ – an old Ford refreshment van – was there. Two bottles of water vanished quickly.
I trudged home long the canal, feet sore and back a bit stiff but no real hardship.
The real marker would be how I felt the following morning… surprisingly sprightly.
Consequently, I went for a ride!