A promise of man-eating bogs is not the draw everyone is looking for on a weekend away. However being female I was feeling in some way confident for what lay ahead.
This was part of my effort to remind myself of the fabulousness of the UK and all that it has to offer – a couple of days hiking in the Peak District. For those that don’t know, the Peak District is a national park towards the north of England, right by Sheffield.
Starting by Ladybower Reservoir, we immediately went up. Always good in my book, but definitely not a gentle introduction to the days walk. Thankfully guided by the ever optimistic Will, I could relax, follow the crowd and take in the scenery. We made our way up across Rowlee Pasture to a view of Alport Castles (not actually a castle, but an impressive rock formation) and the first of many stop and stare and enjoy the view moments. In a running race, the terrain would have been described as undulating – lots of ups and downs – even on the flat – as we traversed peat hags and hopped our way across the bogs. And bog-hopping is not as simple as it sounds. Although you’re aiming in a straight line, it feels as if you’re in a maze trying to avoid full foot immersion, feeling smug because you’ve found some solid ground, only to take a few more steps and be surrounded by puddles. The amazing structures at grinah stones and across to barrow stones gave more photo opportunities, not least because of the ice crystals that were somehow balanced on the edges of the blades of grass despite (or because of) the harsh wind. A final push across Ronksley Moor and following the Derwent Vingalley took us back to the reservoir just as dusk fell. To quote our leader: “A good day on the hill”.
So did this achieve my aim – almost certainly. Who’d have thought that a weekend in mid-January, spent traversing freezing moorland, could leave people with the biggest smiles on their faces. I put it down to making the effort and the fresh air – it works magic to put things in perspective and make everything feel alright. So if you get the chance, get out there.
And what better way to cap off a day already filled with wholesomeness than some good beer and comfort food. An evening in the pub with good company leads to a good night’s rest.
Free guided walking weekend provided by Will4Adventure