There were buzzards, kestrels and kites, it seemed, marking every mile as I drove north on Wednesday, just watching the road from tree and fence. I may have been travelling alone, but I was not going to feel lonely with so many feathered watchers. I took it as a good sign for the trip… not that I needed much encouragement to feel positive about heading northwards again! It seems ages since I had driven these roads, yet in reality, it is only a couple of months since my last journey. Still, that’s a long time without time off… no wonder I was as excited as a child as the landscape seemed to open its wings in welcome.
Reaching Derbyshire with an hour to spare, I turned down a hitherto unexplored lane and found myself in a limestone valley that could, with every twist in the road, have served as anything from the backdrop to a spaghetti western or a lunar landscape… though in one place, the hillside has been quite clearly labelled to avoid confusion. It is a country of contrasts and my only complaint is the lack of safe places to park and explore or take photos on these twisting tracks barely wide enough for one car in places.
The detour allowed me to retrace the path of many of the adventures we have shared in this area over the past few years. Snow still iced the hills as I drove the final stretch to Sheffield over now-familiar ground with a growing sense of coming home… and the knowledge that, somewhere beyond the morning, my own moors would be waiting too.
By the time I reached my destination, the sun was dipping towards the horizon, bathing the hills in softness and gold that mirrored the gilded pathway dawn had blazed across the clouds. I had done nothing but drive and drink in the beauty… as if I remained stationary in the car as it unfolded around me… yet the world had changed from the mundane to the magical… and I take this as a good omen for the week to come.