As this week has been our children’s half-term holiday, we travelled Up North to spend time with family in Yorkshire.
On the way, we stopped off in The Peak District.
I have been exposed to hiking since I was little, but never particularly valued it until I was a student at University in Leeds. Every weekend I would set off with a load of lovely people to explore The Dales, The Lakes and The Peak District. It was a way of reconnecting with nature, feeling a sense of freedom and adventure, meeting interesting people, and composing essays whilst bouncing off peat and rocks.
My mum and dad still enjoy hiking, and so my dad planned a route for us. His brief was: not too long for little legs, but some scrambling on rocks.
All children and adults kitted out with walking boots, thick socks, backpacks, water, sandwiches and Bakewell Tart, we set off from Edale.
It was overcast as we started to climb Jacob’s Ladder. I love a good climb, putting one foot in front of the other, getting a bit out of breath, but feeling that my body is meant to do this. It was steep but satisfying.
The sky cleared and became a piercing blue.
And we were rewarded at the top with rocks to climb.
This is what the children came for.
I was reminded of a recent post by the wonderful Shelly Pruitt Johnson on her blog Love is Stronger. When we are children we just want to run and climb and jump off things. We are natural explorers, and we exercise naturally.
I was conscious of this throughout the walk and just felt delight in bouncing off peat and rocks, and trusting my body to do what it was made to do.
My dad talked about when he was a child and saw a hill, he just wanted to get up it. So he did. And he still does.
This is my mum and dad, who turned seventy this year.
It was lunchtime by now, so we nestled in these rocks and ate our sandwiches.
And I said thank you to my legs and my boots.
There were tussocks of bilberries all around. Bilberries are wild blueberries, but with more flavour. I remember once going bilberrying with my gran and falling asleep amongst the bilberry bushes. The ground is soft and bouncy, owing to the peat.
We set off again over Kinder Scout. There were amazing views all along the ridge.
There were these wildflowers we don’t know the name of, so we called them rabbit tails.
[By happy accident, I later read a post on Sunshine and Celadines, which informed me it was cotton grass].
The rock formations are awe-inspiring.
There were enormous boulders strewn across the ridge. Some balanced on one another. They are worn smooth, and look like Henry Moore sculptures.
This one reminded me of a torso and pelvis.
And these ones like vertebrae.
Here is an old man, looking out across the valley.
The sun and clouds scudded across the valley, and we started to make our descent.
Our two littlest walkers went off in front, to scramble down the rocks. It was satisfyingly steep. The rocks were all firmly embedded, so it was fun to jump from one to another.
We stopped to eat Bakewell Tart by the waterfall.
And kept on moving down the valley.
The path meandered with the stream.
Near the bottom, there was this arched bridge. The paths here are so well-maintained, with stiles and gate-posts worn smooth by all the hands and feet that have used them.
We rejoined the trees.
And sheep. We had a conversation with these ones.
And as dad had promised, (though the distance was measured in ‘Grandad miles’ which may be a little longer than standard miles) there was a pub at the bottom, where we could sit and drink deeply and congratulate ourselves on a very satisfying hike.
Then we drove up to Yorkshire to have a lovely meal out with my aunt and uncle, cousins and partners, and our youngest nearly fell asleep in her dinner. ❤️