Pairs17th December 2018
Thinking back to a year ago when I was in the middle of a career break, I am struck by how much reading I was doing. There were two from Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia and Songlines, and both gave me my fill of travelogue writings by the time that I got as far as January. Both contained a certain air of desolation that also came in its own way from Kev Reynold’s Abode of the Gods. It might have been a certain end of year feeling with the dull days of a passing December as much as what I was reading. After all, I found myself again detached from the mainstream flow of living much like I did when transitioning from university into the world of work.
The sense of desolation might have befallen my impressions of Tim Robinson’s Stones of Aran duology but for other distractions. Work has been among these as much as seasonal activities like sending cards and buying presents. Becoming engrossed in computer tinkering has been another factor and it certainly helped with speeding up this website. All of this delayed my completion of the aforementioned pair of books with their incompleteness of ending. The second was supposed to resolve a conundrum posed by the first but I get the impression that it may have proved to be a voyage of acceptance rather than resolution.
For all that, I now have moved onto the same author’s Connemara trilogy and there is extra life in its early pages. A quieter place like Aran has less documented history while most of the action is elsewhere so it is easy to find loose ends that never can be brought to a satisfying conclusion. For one thing, oral history can bring its own challenges with an intermingling of myth and actual events together with loss of memory as one generation hands over to another. Eve today, this remains an elemental place as I found when I was there last August.
Throughout all this recent activity, two visits have been made to the moorland around Hathersage, Grindleford and Sheffield. In fact, there is such an extensive path network that more may follow because of the possibilities that are offered. That thought popped into my mind during last Sunday’s hike from Grindleford into Sheffield during an interlude between spells of heavy rain. In truth, I should have been attending to seasonal matters but my enthusiasm for hill country got the better of me.
Anything that grants views of such sights as Padley Gorge and Higger Torr cannot be a bad thing and the area could be a fallback should all other forms of inspiration fail me. December was not much of a walking month for me in 2017 so I embarked on bus journeys that took me around mid-Wales and by the area that I walked last Sunday in their stead. It helps that collecting ideas is as good as making use of them and those from then led to one walk from Hathersage to Sheffield in November and another from Grindleford to Sheffield last Sunday. In turn, each of the duo could be the cause of return visits to the area and longer hours of daylight could allow more scope for any future explorations.