Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Pack

Just over a week ago, I came here to meet a friend for lunch. It had been snowing the previous day, but had cleared just enough to make the journey look interesting without affecting my ability to travel.

This is my friend's local hostelry, and a very good one it is too. The Pack, as it is known locally, is in the village of Hathersage in the Hope Valley towards the north of Derbyshire. It is a beautiful area which is popular with walkers, but also attracts climbers who come to try their skills on the gritstone 'Edges' above the village. This is where the White and Dark Peaks collide.

Hathersage is probably most famous for its association with Little John, who is reputedly buried in the churchyard at St Michael's, but it also has connections with Jane Eyre. After visiting Hathersage in 1845, Charlotte Bronte selected it as the model of her village 'Norton' She also chose the local family name of Eyre for her heroine; and the roof from which Mrs Rochester jumped to her death, crowns the Elizabethan manor house, North Lees Hall.

The Pack itself is situated on one of the old trading tracks which connected Derbyshire to Sheffield and further afield. As such, it was a regular port of call for travellers, and for the Scottish Packmen, who sold their tweeds to local farmers. Hence the name.

If the Packmen were served food as tasty as ours, I would imagine they would trade in the area frequently.

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