Arriving in Dale Farm, Derbyshire

I’m not writing much on this short trip. Partly because it seems so inconsequential compared to travelling to Spain and compared to my flickering dream of Siberia. I’m in Derbyshire now in the Dales in Dale Farm campsite a very different model to the large field with tents around the edge. Here the site is narrow sloping and terraced with a stepped series of generous grassy plots each for one large tent and car leading up to a broader field at the top where there are four plots under Ash trees and two yurt type tents just higher up. We say hello to each other here. I knew it felt comfortable after being here just a few minutes. Down in Cuckoo Farm it was very different with large groups of a couple of families in little inward looking huddles. 

Note to self for my fiction: describe someone’s books as an alternative to describing them. 

There are cows here who moo loudly causing me to ask the Internet “why do cows moo?” To find each other is one reason. Also the wash building is an amazing very recently renovated barn amazingly white and scrupulously clean and brightly lit. It could be an operating suite. 

detail of the washroom

Of course many campsites feature difficulties for parking and un-parking heavy motorcycles. And this one because of its slope creates the need for some careful heaving upright without dropping the thing on the grassy slope followed by also careful paddling backward across bumpy terrain in an arc to end up pointing in a roughly down hill direction. All leaving me tense and colouring the first part of my ride with thoughts that I am not up for this and wouldn’t get very far on the route to Siberia.

Up on my avenue there seem to be two tents of two women who could be friends, partners or mother and daughter. And one huge and fancy tent over to my right that appears to house one solitary female walker. Then there are the two yurts opposite with young nice seeming families in each. By chance my plot with its pub table where I am sitting tapping this into my phone gets the evening sun which this event is beautiful and warming. Yesterday when I arrived it was cold and threatening rain.

And then some hills beyond. Now that the sun is out I can say that this is a very nice site. 

It’s good to be secluded here as out on the roads there were huge numbers of cars parked along the roadside at every beauty spot and the nearby town is heaving with people on holiday doing staycation like me. The Bike book route was ok and nice in places where I got into the zone of riding fairly briskly through a series of curves with double white lines down the middle. But overall I found it not that impressive as some of their routes definitely are, in Devon for example. 

Technically the new tent is good. It’s small and light and is a keeper. It’s smaller and more cramped than my Vango (am I repeating myself?) the porch part especially. It came with two too few pegs. But it does the job nicely. The snazzy Thermarest is thicker and more comfortable than the standard orange model but is slightly too long for the small tent space. It’s slightly lighter and packs down to the same size so is also a keeper though – for another trip where lightness is important I may leave it at home. Keeping everything charged is tricky with a mixture of plugging as much in while I ride and using a power bank in the evening. But I seem always a step behind and something is uncharged that needs to be. It needs constant thinking about. And the Sony helmet cam eats through batteries – and its clever remote controller does too. Campsite bathrooms don’t seem to have sockets any more perhaps because everyone was charging up their phones and bills were starting to climb. 

Tonight it will rain but tomorrow will be bright and much warmer than today. Hooray. 

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