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Eyam, Mam Tor and Matlock Bath, Sunday 9 December 2012

February 9, 2013
“Well we both grew up in EyamP1000523
And strange as it may seem
Neither of us thought we’d ever leave…
“When you’re in Matlock Bath
You Don’t need Sylvia Plath”
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
 
“Great Uncle Corduroy
Invited us down to his gite
Fresh bread, Kaleidoscope
Kinder Scout and Mam Tor”
Split Single with Happy Lounge Labelmates
 
Over breakfast we contemplate scenes of more apocalyptic weather (thanks very much, climate change).  This time it’s torrential rain, accompanied by predictions (slightly too smug for our liking) from the landlord that it’s only going to get worse.   But we didn’t get to be Britain’s most successful Half Man Half Biscuit-themed bicycle tourers by worrying about a bit of rain, P1000517 so it’s on with the helmets and the reasonably priced cyclewear, and back east onto the moors.
Today there’s some hill-walking on the agenda.  We’ve ruled out doing Kinder Scout on the grounds of lack of time and energy, but Mam Tor looks quite manageable.  By the time we get there, the rain has been replaced by ferocious Arctic winds.  Chaining our bikes at the bottom, more to stop them blowing away than to protect them from local felons, we battle our way to the top, overtaken by energetic nine-year-olds.
Back on the road a terrifying descent, where we’re buffeted by more icy winds, follows.  We later learn that David ‘Deathwish’ Davies only has one fully functioning brake.  Reflecting that it’s always the people who look the most normal who turn out to be maniacs, we stop for a tea and cakes  at Castleton, where we also buy some tat carefully chosen gifts for friends and loved ones.
The latter half of the day’s stage is a nailbiting race against the clock as we bid to ensure we meet the twin challenges of ticking off Eyam and not missing our train back to London
Although Eyam has lifted its anti-plague quarantine, we haven’t got time to look around, so after some low-level bickering about routes we push on into Baslow and Darley Dale, finally passing through the grounds of Chatsworth stately home.
Plath - not needed here

Plath – not needed here

At Matlock Bath, we need to make clear that we don’t need Sylvia Plath.  She’s come with us in the form of a slim volume from Waterstone’s, and we initially plan to leave her in the County and Station pub (of which one Google reviewer has brilliantly said: “It is all stickey when we went there”).  However, unlike her namesake at Bromyard’s Falcon, this Sylvia is a sensitive soul who has already suffered enough, so we instead drop her off at the station, leaving her on a lamp-post for the enjoyment of literary-minded commuters, as we make our way home.
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