an idiot in london


Saturday, 12th August.

this is Gorgeous...can anybody out there read me? ...10-4 old buddies...destroy...kill all hippies

Primal Scream blaring from the car stereo, I began my journey to Castleton, in the Peak District. The plan: drive to Castleton, do some walking, camp out, walk again on Sunday, drive back to London in time to drop off the hire car at Marble Arch.

I zoomed along the isolated world of the M1. Easy. Then I got utterly confused on the country lanes leading to Castleton. Easy! I stumbled upon the right road, zipped past a commune of hippies bathing in a stream, and parked in Castleton - a town where only on weekends do you have to pay for parking!

It was then that I realised that I had left my walking boots in London. Couldn't exactly drive back and get them, it had taken me three hours to get to Castleton! Fortunately I was wearing a sturdy pair of shoes.

I checked out Peveril Castle, had some greasy chips, then set off on my hike around Castleton.

I started off along the Limestone Way, which is a public walk through the Peak District. (I might just mention that I found out the other day that all land in the UK is private - ie no national parks in the sense that Australians or Northern Americans would understand it.) Managed to startle some sheep along the way. Choice! Through a disused mine, over a disused tip, over the Windy Knoll to the start of the path up Mam Tor.

above: a view of Castleton from Mam Tor

Mam Tor is the site of an Iron Age fort. Not that you can really tell. I stopped at the top and observed a man taking all the fun out of photography for his female companion. And I thought I was bad! I then walked along the ridge to Hollins Cross, and then up to Bac Tor, where fearless sheep graze right to the edge of a 40m drop. I then dashed into a nearby plantation and found the answer to the question: If an Ian pisses in the woods and nobody's there to hear him, is he a Catholic?


I bumbled my way down to a town called Hope, and back to Castleton in time to find out that the local campsites were full. I jumped in the car and drove off to Edale where I'd observed a campsite from the top of Bac Tor.

In fading light I found a campsite and set up the tent. It was only then that I noticed that the campsite was situated between the main road and the train track. Nice.

The toilets at the site were unisex - a bit like Ally McBeal except all the women were scrubbers and the less said about the rest the better.

After a unisex experience (what?) I was checking the tent when the female member of the party camped next to me walked past. "Good taste in tents!" she said, leaving me to ponder what the hell she was on about. Maybe she's a tent nut? Or just a nut? A few minutes later I looked across and noticed that she had exactly the same kind of tent as I was using. Well then it all made sense!

Having decided that the nightlife of Castleton wasn't worth experiencing, I settled down in the car listening to the radio. I was fully reclined in the driver's seat when the woman from the aforementioned tent appeared and stood behind their car. She looked around, and then dropped her pants. What's all this about? I thought to myself. She then squatted down, my poor little brain processed all this information and worked out what was going on, and I sunk back in my seat so I didn't have to see the end result, so to speak.

Rain fell on the tent as I fell asleep.