Ed spotted it on the wire dividing our gassy field from the field of buttercups glinting in the evening sun. And by the time the rest of us had looked over, it had darted off. Minutes later Elspeth pointed to the tree behind the campervan. There it was again – a redstart, looking like a slim robin with a red underside and a red tail.
Sue and David arrived in the Hymer and joined us supping beer and Pimm’s and admiring the view from our vantage point at Heathy Roods farm in Butterton. Beyond the golden buttercups stretched a grassy valley with peaks behind. The twin Hymers evidently looked well equipped as we were variously asked for matches by a man with young family, change for the shower by a couple with a shiatsu, and at 9:30pm where to get food by the 4 Mancunians who were bound for Alton Towers the following morning.
On the walk the next day we followed a straight path through rolling meadows of wild flowers, stopping to shelter under trees and David’s umbrella from the showers until finally we surrendered and put on our waterproofs. At Grindon we had lunch on picnic tables by the church (which doubled as an operating table for Martin to extract a splinter from Elspeth’s finger). We walked along Ladyside wood to Wetton Mill where we found a conveniently placed café that had great cakes. Along the Manifold Valley and through the long echoey tunnel, after which more, heavier showers called for the waterproofs and David’s umbrella again. We made a brief skirmish over a private lane after much debate and back to the campsite via a bridle path from Warslow.
Yvette arrived in the evening and we trooped off to the Black Horse pub for beers and food. The bright sun woke us up early the next morning and it was warm in the tents. Not for long! The sky turned from blue to dark grey and we hurriedly pulled the tent down as rain began to fall. The campervan was a welcome respite from the rain and 3 hours later after several coffees and biscuits, as rain continued to drum on the van roof, we decided that walking and cycling weren’t going to be much fun that day and so we left the wet deserted field.