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Friday 2 August 2013

Light Walks Further Afield: the Night Walk

A Night Walk along the River Dove to Mill Dale.

Not everyone in the group is sure footed and nimble and Carole had particular concerns about walking down a steep, grassy  incline but happily her walking pole gave her more confidence and it was good for others to see her conquering her fears and making the twilight walk. In fact, no one wanted to miss out of the adventure!

Michael trying out his headtorch for size

The path from the hostel to the hill took us through some magical countryside

which was made more atmospheric by the haze of mist

Carolyn striding confidently down the hill

At the bottom we crossed a wooden bridge, pausing to listen to the clear, rushing water. We saw deep pink hawthorn blossom, water snails moved lazily across the  Butterbur leaves edging the path. The leaves had been used to wrap butter being transported by canal in Victorian times. As the light fell we passed through a valley marked by the passage of glaciers, marvelling at the steep ridged sides so evocative of the passage of time and the weight of nature.

Some Lightwalkers need to stretch their legs, walk at a cracking pace, get to wherever we were headed, whist others were happily to stay at the rear, taking time to hang their luminous tape labels on the branches of trees.

Before and after tag at bay!

The reflective tape on the backs of our rucksacks

At the halfway point we stopped on a bridge to create a glowball installation, much to the surprise of passing drivers! We must have looked fairly strange sitting on the bridge with our red head torch lights glowing, but everyone seemed to take our presence in good part. The night was beautiful and strange, walking in darkness made our senses sharper and the beaming head torches picked out small details on the road or in the hedgerows.

The walk home was hilly and a little humid, we made sure we carried our glowballs away with us, especially as they gave us extra visibility. At the Welcome to Staffordshire sign Carole began to dream of Staffordshire oatcakes but contented herself with a good slug of water to help the journey home. As we walked our songs, jokes, shared thoughts and conversations punctuated the inky darkness helping our tired legs carry us home.

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