And did those feet…


Nope, I’ll have to stop you there. I can’t really tell you what my feet have been doing. Yes, I signed them up to walk on England’s mountains green, but if we’re relying on visual evidence alone, any time from last Wednesday-or-so until Sunday is a blank. They could have hopped a flight to Tel Aviv and opened a string of nightclubs.

To be sure, until late last Wednesday-or-so their alibi is iron-clad: they were with me in Derbyshire, walking up hill and down dale as I and my chum Axl Rose tramped the Peak District. But Wednesday marked the fourth day of the toast, the pikelet, the pasta, the sandwich, the Derbyshire oatcake and the potato three ways. Those days took their toll and, like the sun slowly blocked by a planet during an eclipse, my feet gradually disappeared from view. It’s a remarkable testament to the greed of their owner that they disappeared in spite of doing a minimum of eight hours’ walking a day.

See the strange pulls on the front of the trousers? That was taken on Friday and they're creaking under the strain.

See the strange pulls on the front of the trousers? That was taken on Friday and they’re creaking under the strain

Luckily for us, the sun shone magnificently on each day but one, which is what brought Axl Rose to the party. It was the hat, see? It was supposed to channel Ali McGraw, explained my walking chum, leaning on a lamppost, weak with laughter after catching her reflection in a cottage window. But somehow hair, hat and sunnies had convolved to produce an unmistakeable-once-she’d-said-it Axl impression.

A sizzled scalp precipitated a fashion crisis of my very own. I needed to cover up but once we’d seen and rejected the titfers on offer in Bakewell market (‘100% polyester? You’ll get trench-head’) I was forced back to my underpacked suitcase and a silk scarf, which I fiddled about with helplessly until getting cross and doing the only scarf hat I can manage that isn’t Les Dawson in drag. I’d been hoping for funky vintage 1940s factory girl but ended up with crap village fete fortune teller.

Fashion extrovert who fears the sun. That's Axl in the background

A gently cooking fortune teller. That’s Axl in the background, possibly contemplating a benefit gig

Our walks were mostly around the gentler, cosier White Peaks, though we did manage a day fringing the edge of Kinder Scout.

The view from the edge of Kinder. Note lack of tree cover anywhere. Factor 50.

The view from the edge of Kinder. Note lack of tree cover anywhere. Factor 50

Ever since I really got into this tramping-about lark I’ve wanted to go to Kinder simply to pay silent homage to the mass trespass of 1932. That’s just the sort of brave thing I wish I had the gumption to do. We were there on Wednesday, the day before another case of wilful law-breaking for the public good. Bravo, Edward Snowden.


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