New paths and fresh eyes

New paths and fresh eyes

I have been really enjoying setting up this blog and writing, but life has a habit of keeping me seriously busy these days. So much so, that I have only now had the chance to actually write this post about our week up in the peaks two weeks ago, after my first post about walking with Cath again.

The rest of the week was just as pleasurable as the start, and I felt great for getting some serious strolling in. The Thursday saw me head out with Dave from My Outdoors UK, and Andy from Walks around Britain to meet & film a walk for Andy’s site. As Cath’s parents live in the Peak District, we have explored the area in some detail over the years. Dave suggested a route we had not done before though from Stoney Middleton up Coombs Dale, and so I set off in anticipation of exploring somewhere I had never been to in the Peaks. The weather gave us a crisp beautiful day, the best of the week. Although I had met Dave once before briefly, it was the first time I had properly spent some time with him, and it was my first meet up with Andy. After 10 minutes walking though, it felt like I had known Dave and Andy a lot longer,  the conversation flowing as easily as the stream we walked beside.

 

Andy filming in Coomb's Dale

Dave’s wealth of knowledge of the local caves and area made for a wander that didn’t just touch on the beauty of what we had around us, but added a depth of experience that you don’t often get when walking. It made the walk that much more special, and I can’t wait for Andy to finish the editing to post up on  his You Tube channel. My thanks to both of them for meeting up, we managed to steer mostly clear of geek talk about outdoor gear for all of 3 minutes by my reckoning…… What finished the walk off beautifully for me was the cliff path coming back in to Stoney Middleton. All of a sudden we went from Peak District rolling hills to some serious drops away from the path, giving a real feeling off exposure. It was even more delightful for it being so unexpected.

 

Approach to Stoney Middleton

 

Andy & Dave

Just before we went back on the Saturday, I tweeted Helen Fisher, one of the outdoor bloggers I have had the pleasure of meeting online through Webtogs, to see if she fancied a walk in the flesh. Foolishly she said yes, and on a damp Saturday morning, Cath and I headed up to Burbage for a stroll. The rain came down and decided to stay a while – the entire walk in fact, and several items of gear got a serious work out. Cath discovered her 8 year old Meindl Burma’s have just about died when it comes to waterproofing (not bad considering the abuse they have had), and that her lightweight waterproof trousers, were in fact windproof and not a lot else! My G2 Moutain pants were lengendary, only leaking around seams and zips, and my love of these trousers continues to grow. I think Helen stayed vaguely dry, but you can make up your own mind from the photos below.

 

Helen and myself setting out

 

Cath & Helen

Nigh on 3 hours we walked, with a cuppa at the end in the NT cafe at Longshaw. I’ll tell you what. The time flew again. I’m not sure what is was about that week, but meeting and walking with new people who were all rather lovely, gave me a whole new view of the peaks. Interacting with people online, and then cementing that friendship in real life is a rather grand feeling. You can tell what people are like I think through their online chatter. The feeling of nervousness and anticipation of meeting new people, fading in the real knowledge that they are as lovely as their online presences, delivered a warmth that made this week in the peaks special. Helen was fine company and the conversation ranged as wide as our feet did.

I’m not sure when we’ll be heading back up North again to stay with Cath’s folks, but we’ll be calling on some new friends to be sure.

Practice what you preach.

ukcheapest.co.uk is our current hosting company, and some might argue the name says it all, yet until last week I have never had a problem with them. Then our domain went down. Then my email went down. Not a happy chicken it has to be said, but I am more than annoyed with myself than them. After preaching to all and sundry about the joys of backups, and feeling very smug with my dropbox, flickr and external hard drive backups, I suddenly had a sinking feeling. As this was our first wordpress site, we hadn’t backed it up. Previously we have always built HTML sites from scratc,h and so always had a backup on the PC. Not this time though 🙁

Thankfully, Google cache came to the rescue but if you are wondering why all your comments from the last three posts have disappeared, here’s your answer. Now, time to repeat my zen backup mantra lest I forget…..

Four years is too long a time to not share a path with the ones you love.

Four years is too long a time to not share a path with the ones you love.

I’ve done something I haven’t done for several years this week. I walked in the hills with my wife. Doesn’t sound like much does it, but when you factor in that our eldest is now 3, thats nearly 4 years since we have been for a decent walk together, and by that I mean something over 2 miles without blackmailing / cajoling / carrying a tiny guy along as well. It’s been such a long time, it felt a little strange to start off with, but the silence soon lost it’s edge and became the comfortable companionship I had missed. I’m not sure what it is, but hill walking and car journeys always seem to be the easiest places to talk to people. The quality of conversation that you get on the path or the front seat of a long trip, seem to be head and shoulders above the conversations we normally try and fit in to our busy lives. Not having anywhere to go except the journey, the lack of internet, demands of work and everyday life result in communication that is to be cherished.

towards Strines resevoir

The plan wasn’t always for a wander, we woke up at Cath’s folks house and decided when looking at the heavy hoar frost that it would be a stunning day for a wander. Persuading Grandma and Grandpa was done first thing, and the boys didn’t even turn round as we bolted out the door. We needed a gentle, swift wander as we didn’t want to leave the boys all day, so we headed on over to Cutthroat bridge, just up from Ladybower reservoir to park up. We were heading off to a bit of the Peaks I had not been too before, up to Strines reservoir, before heading across to an old favourite, blackhole moor and down to Derwent edge.

salt cellar

derwent edge

It’s been a while since I have been in the hills with Cath, so Monday was a bit of a dreamy day, my memories now I am back at the PC is of the chuckle of many grouse, trying to break through ice sheets whilst giggling, the silent movement of mist and cloud across the heather, and the beauty & majesty of Peak district gritstone. We’ve just been looking at some of the photos we have taken, and it’s lovely to share a smile and memories we have had together again of the hills. Time to plan some more dates, it’s been too long.

in to the mist

icebreaker