One thing that surprised me as I walked from Waterhouses to Hulme End near Hartington was the disappearance of the River Hamps from the surface. The river bed was there and bridges had been placed over what might have been a river but there was none. In limestone country, this is the sort of thing that happens: rivers appear above the surface on a seasonal basis. Even after a wet April, drought warnings still abounded in May 2012 so the absence of a river seemed a curious juxtaposition. Little did anyone realise that 2012 was about to become one of the wettest years on record and that the Western Isles were to enjoy the kind of summer of which so many dream at the same time. Life is so full of contradictions.
It was a different for other rivers that I met that day with the Manifold and the Dove being in fine, if gentle, flow. The first part of my walk stuck with the Manifold Way, a former railway line between Waterhouses and Hulme End that is a cycling and walking route these days. Later along its length, it overlaps with the public road system and I will never forget sharing a former railway tunnel with the raucous racket from a number of motorcycles as they too passed the way. The motorcyclists probably were enjoying themselves but it was a little too much for a peace-seeking type like me.