I was so looking forward to a Christmas wander but after I found myself on my bum, I figured it was time to head home. It’s always seems to be the way, you have a rare glimpse of the outside world planned and the weather does it’s best to derail you. I had been looking forward to a wander when we were due to be up with Cath’s folks in the Peak District after boxing day. I had planned a wild camp up near Back Tor but come the day, the MWIS gave a delightfully red forecast with gusts of 65mph to 85mph. My route was along the edges, Burbage, Stanage and then Derwent.
End result was a day spent battling winds just to make headway, watching an old duffer fall over in front of me several times before catching up and suggesting he dropped down to a lower level path – oh and seeing the air ambulance come in for a lass who had broken her leg after getting blown over on Stanage. Then I actually got blown on to my backside at which point I decided to take a time out. Although I was bloody irrirtated at having to duck out, I’ve also had a spot of time to reflect on what happened and although I would have survived I’m sure, I’m also sure I wouldn’t have had the most comfortable of nights either. A good call considering the damage the wind did that day.
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.
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.
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.
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.