This trip was probably the worst I’ve had all year, but considering how good they’ve all been that’s not bad. Plus it got me out of res for a couple days, so it was really quite good. I probably could have seen enough to keep me happy in a day-trip, but the need to get away justified 2 nights at a hostel. It was probably the dirtiest hostel I’ve been in, but again the others were really good. And this one was the only option, unless I wanted to spend 4x as much to stay in a hotel. The shower was annoying in that I had to keep pushing a button to keep it going, but on the plus side it stayed a consistent temperature and pressure, which is more than my shower in res can claim. And what I absolutely love about hostels: everyone plans on getting up early to go out and do things, so it’s always quiet by 11. And if people come in the room after you’re already in bed, they’re very careful to be quiet. They’re considerate. Then again it’s always people from the UK and its colonies, not Spanish people, so maybe that’s the difference. Heh, this is becoming an extension of my rant…

On to the good stuff. As soon as I got there I dropped off my stuff and went out again. First to Peveril castle, which is why the village is called Castleton. It was built in the 11th century after the Norman conquest, but is mostly in ruins now. It was still pretty neat to climb up to it and take a look though. Of course there was an admission fee. I’m surprised they haven’t walled in all the paths so they can charge you to walk them. But I suppose the village has to make its money somehow.

Then I went down to Peak Cavern (AKA ‘The Devil’s Arse’), a very large cave that actually extends beneath the castle itself. Apparently robbers and bandits used to live in it (and invited the devil to dine on lawyers etc). And it’s said that the first sherriff of Nottingham made use of the castle, so some say Robin Hood and his group lived in the cave once. Lots of stories surrounding this particular cave.

After that I went to the Castleton visitor’s centre. Before coming to Castleton I thought I might like to try climbing Mam Tor. Then I saw it. But I wasn’t about to give up so I asked them how long it usually takes. I expected a response in the area of 6 hours. It was 1. 10 minutes if you drive to the base and start from there. The distances and heights can be rather deceptive. I decided to give it a shot in the morning and set out to find some food. I had some beef and mushroom pie, which was pretty good. The gravy was rather thick though, and tastes quite a bit different, which made me wonder if they make it more like black pudding. They probably don’t, but the thought kind of put me off anyways.

I went back to the hostel and asked about breakfast (‘Well it’s this meal you see, we tend to have it in the mornings…’ haha). Eventually found out that they want 4.60 for an all you can eat continental buffet deal. Remember that’s the equivalent of about $10. Considering how little I eat, it’s really not worth it. So I asked about grocery stores. The nearest thing to a grocery store (more like a convenience store) is in Hope, so I got directions and set off. I went by roads there and then found a more direct footpath between the two for my way back. I wanted to avoid the roads because I was in dark clothes and it was coming on to dusk. But that’s also the time when the shepherds round up the sheep to feed them something, or take them back to the barn or whatever (I know, I’m completely ignorant about sheep. But I saw a couple of guys dumping food on to the ground for their sheep from a big bag when I was on my way to Hope, and I saw some sheep in a barn on my way back.) The problem here is that the footpath goes through fields where the sheep are grazing. And they weren’t all in. And I was carrying a white plastic bag on my way back. So in every field I was having a bunch of sheep getting rather upset that I was passing them by and following me through the field. I know that sheep are generally peaceful creatures. But I also know that peaceful creatures get very upset if you get too close to their young, and there are lots of young sheep out there right now. And I’ve never been around sheep, and I was alone, so it kind of freaked me out. I was glad to be away from them. Maybe now I won’t be so against eating them though…

Then it was back to the hostel for an early night and some reading. So nice to be able to read in the quiet.

I got up in the morning and it was hailing. With 60mph winds. So Mam Tor was out. That sucked, because it was something I really wanted to do and it was all I really had left that I wanted to do. So instead I went and saw Treak Cliff Cavern and Speedwell Cavern. They were both pretty cool. There were some very cool fossils that I saw in Treak Cliff Cavern, unfortunately it was cold and batteries like to play dead when it’s cold, so my camera wouldn’t take a picture.

Roasts are popular in pubs on Sunday, so I had a nice (and surprisingly inexpensive) roast beef dinner. And the place must have been made for me, you could order smaller servings instead of the huge plate that I only would have eaten a quarter of. Then back to the hostel for another early night and reading.

And then back to prison. This isn’t homesickness. Yes I miss home, but I’d be happy anywhere other than here at the moment. Hence all the hostels. I can’t wait until May when they all leave. It’ll be great if Dad and Kathy can make it here for my Easter break, two whole weeks away from here! Then again everyone seems to be going home for those 2 weeks, so it wouldn’t be quite so bad anyways.

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