Left through the mansion’s estate along a well marked footpath. The estate merged into a nature reserve, in which we saw a fuzzy, black ball pacing its way gently over the thin mud of the river bank and some signets, but when I stopped to take a look the mother swan hissed at me viciously.
We went through Bakewell, getting all the maps we needed and the compulsory pudding, then went round the corner and saw the self-proclaimed “birthplace” of the Bakewell pudding.
We walked on and entered Matlock Bath, a mental biker’s town. There were hundreds, cramming the street and filling up pubs and restaurants. We talked to a shopkeeper who said it was actually a quiet day, usually there are thousands. The bikers came in all shapes and sizes. Literally all shapes, probably moulded by a lifetime of road traffic accidents, hobbling in a surprisingly uniform uncomfortable gait like an army of gnomes.
We walked on and made it to the campsite in reasonable time. After seeing countless numbers of the same sign (“No trespassing, private land”), we got to reception; which was actually a very messy static caravan. We rang the doorbell and waited. After some time we heard some rustling and grunting and the guy slowly came to the door. He was rather slobbish and consumed the entire doorway. His eyes were small and discerning, his skin pasty and oily in a marbled pattern, his hair was thin, greasy and trying desperately to evacuate his scalp. After asking if we were trouble and essentially insisting we had a shower, he consented to letting us pitch our tent (by the river, far away from the toilets and out of the way of all the other visitors). He then asked what we studied, as he found change for the showers (precisely two ten pence coins). Robert mentioned medicine and got the guy started on his doctor brother throwing out Dutch applicants’ CVs without a glance because of their assumed stance on euthanasia (I declined to mention my philosophy degree, unless euthanasia was brought back up).
We then tried the pub, but it was closed due to “technical problems.” Robert got the dirt on that one when he asked to get some takeaway menus from the campsite owner; apparently the two guys who’s taken it over had fallen out (“typical gays,” said mr Owner).
When the food arrived so did James and Euan. We ate and then discovered that James had forgotten the outside of the spare tent (the one we used to keep our packs in), and my sleeping bag is cold and damp. I was about to write that it’s better than nothing, but there’s little worse than sleeping in such a state. It also appears that the tent has been growing mould. Basically camping equipment can’t handle persistent rain.