Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Hike 17 - The Cromford Canal

Errwood was fun even in the pouring rain, but inflamed my varicose veins with swelling and pain as a result...oh bother!So I decided to take it a bit easier for a day and only ramble for a couple of hours around Cromford and its famous canal.

Britain's industrial history fascinates me, as its ripples still affect us today. Us Dutchies (famous in our own right in the Golden Age but not so much in the centuries following it) kept a beady eye on our island neighbours, and were quick to import, copy and emulate the British inventions. The fact that I am an independent working woman is (to my eyes) a direct result of women starting work in the factories, then starting the suffragette movement and paving the way for feminism.

The rambler's bus dropped me off in Cromford on its way to Crich, where their walk started. They then proceeded into the Derwent Valley, whilst I made a beeline for Cromford's famous Scarthin Book Shop, to while away a very pleasurable hour in one of their armchairs reading a book about the rise and fall of BIBA. (Oh! BIBA! Those were the days!)

Do visit this shop if you have the chance, the number of books is staggering and the premises are worth it.
When I had finished my lukewarm espresso (sacrilege- pity)I ambled towards the Cromford Canal and Arkwright's Mill.
A Wetlander myself, canals are in my blood. It is always a pleasure to find one so tranquil as the Cromford Canal, with its ducks and swans and lovely towpath, and limestone walls and numerous wildflowers. And that typical Britishness of wooden benches in remembrance of people who loved walking that same towpath. Very handy they were!

We used to have these...they are called "trekschuit" in Dutch and they have almost vanished. We do not have this tradition of keeping up our heritage, unfortunately. We now have "fluisterboten" (whispering boats) which are practically the same thing, but painted a practical boring grey or green and with a noise-reduced motor and no character whatsoever. Such a pity!

Walking up to the first railway shunting stop along the canal took me an hour, and I didn't dare walk for longer, as my left leg started to smart again. I made use of a bench to rest and eat my packed lunch (and very nice it was), and watch the other walkers along the towpath. Quite a few boys and men asked me if I "had found some", meaning Pokémon...Oh dear, yet another fad that is passing me by...

No, didn't look for any Pokémon, but I did spot these tongue ferns. Do you know my local garden centre asks €15,00 for one of these? And here they grow on walls...

After an hours rest I slowly walked back to Cromford and a well-earned Old Mout Cider* (*pronounced incorrectly since 1947!Well I never) in the canal café, before buying the most amazing tasting cheese in the cheese shop: whisky-and-ginger-Wenslydale. Wow! Wish I could have taken a huge cheese instead of the tiny one that would fit into my suitcase.
And then I had to wait for the rambler's bus to pick me up again, so I took a look at Arkwright's Mill
All in all not a very spectacular rambling day, but a pleasurable one all the same.

The nitty-gritty:
The proper walk lasted 6 miles (9.5 km) with an ascent of 800 feet (240 m) - mine lasted 2 hours with a stop of an hour to rest the leg. It was sunny, 22 degrees.
Beware of wasps, there were many about.
You can find Scarthin Book Shop a little way past the Post Office (sorry, forgot to take note of the street name)and the cheese shop is next to the café at the start/finish of the Cromford Canal. Arkwright's Mill is signposted very well.

By the way, what's this nonsense that I cannot recommend my blog on Google+ any longer? I'll have to throw myself onto your mercy to share it...