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My brother and his other half have spent this past week exploring Derbyshire and invited me up for a day’s walking.

Being a Saturday meant that I had to fit in a parkrun so after a quick look of the maps decided on Markeaston on the outskirts of Derby, as I’d be passing it anyway.

Before heading North, I walked the puppies locally, returned home for breakfasts all round. Just before half seven, I jumped in the car and headed for the A38.

My SatNav informed me that the journey would only take about fifty minutes but I like a bit of leeway and as a consequence arrived, nice and early, at around 8:10.

I parked the car and by a miracle of thinking ahead, fired up a pre-installed app and paid for the car park.

I had around fifty minutes or so to kill so took a stroll around Markeaton Park. The lands that make up the park were given to Derby City Council in the early twentieth century and the council now look after all the amenities within the two hundred and seven acres.

Markeaton parkrun moved to it’s current site from nearby Darley Park but I’m not sure when.

A big plus point for Markeaton parkrun is the fact that they have TOILETS available. A lot of Parkruns, at least the one’s I’ve been to, do not have loos or have toilets that are only open after the start !

After availing myself to the amenities, I joined the expanding throng, listening to the pre-event pep-talk before moving to the start.

At the allowed time, a whistle started the event and the mob moved off.

I wasn’t planning on going too fast but I soon settled into my stride and the average pace steadily came down.

It became evident that I could probably get below 12:00 pace so a gradually accelerated overtaking a number of runners and a lady who was walking in a determined way and didn’t seem too pleased as I passed her. She didn’t even acknowledge my cheery, “Good Morning!”

I kept checking that watch and I crossed the finish line before stopping my watch. I’d completed the 5k in thirty six minutes something.

The official time was given as 36:26 – a few seconds quicker than I’d recorded and also eleven seconds quicker than my previous best parkWALK.

After my victorious effort, it was back to the car and on towards Darley Dale and the main event.

I did find myself behind a chap decked out as Barry Sheen on a vintage Suzuki motorcycle. I followed ‘Barry’ for a few miles ‘enjoying’ the odour of two-stroke exhaust.

I arrived at my Bro’s only a couple of minutes late and after a briefing and cup of coffee, we set off towards the River Derwent and our pre-planned walk.

Earlier in the week, we had agreed on a walk which would take us to the outskirts of Bakewell about a mile into the Monsal Trail. My brother, Ben, had sent me a link which I had copied onto my GPS along with an extra bit to and from his cottage to the ‘trailhead’.

We made our way to the heritage railway, Peak Rail, and followed this for a couple of miles then on to the village of Rowsley.

From Rowsley we followed the route that I had on my GPS and Ben had on his phone even though a couple of women in a passing car were frantically pointing us to another path !

We gradually climbed out of Rowsley, checking the route whenever we came to any intersections.

At the four and half mile point my map was saying left while Ben’s was indicating right ! Well it was Ben’s idea so assuming that I had copied the map incorrectly, conceded and we followed Ben.

We continued to climb topping out some six hundred feet above the now distant Rowsley.

The descent started and we gradually lost most of that altitude until we reached a road junction at Calton Houses.

It was just before this that our maps coincided again and later investigations revealed that Benny had searched for the route again online but had made the wrong selection from those presented to him.

The map shows the planned section in orange and the actual route followed in red.

It wasn’t really a big deal, and certainly not something that I would go on about or use to ridicule Ben later !

We continued along the walk returning to Rowsley. We took a slightly different course back walking along the opposite side of the railway then adding an extra couple of miles to compensate for the ‘missing’ distance.

Although not quite as planned, we had a most enjoyable stroll along the Derwent Heritage Trail and it’s neighbouring areas.

I got to see a steam train (always a bonus) and had some much needed catch-up quality time with my brother and sister-in-law.

May be an image of text that says "GROMIT, LAD, IT'S THE WRONG MAp!"

Back at Darley Dale, we had a brief debrief before I jumped in the car to return to Birmingham.

A great day – a PB at parkWALK and some quality time with family. Oh, and a steam train …