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.

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. ❤️

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors. 

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder. 

43 Comments Add yours

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A special family day, Ali. Being outdoors like that makes you feel at peace with the world. Your family seems to be extremely fit.

    1. Ali says:

      I was very pleasantly surprised. We don’t have big hills in Kent but our general walking and garden activity keeps us reasonably fit I think.

  2. Chloris says:

    The bunny tails is Cotton grass, Eriophorum angustifolum. Lovely post and photographs. I grew up round here and spent my youth tramping around the moors so it was lovely to see it. Sadly I don’t get up there much these days as I no longer have family there, you have made me long to go and vist all my favourite places.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you so much Chloris! It is a beautiful part of the world. I love the smell of sun-warmed sheep poo!

      1. Chloris says:

        ‘Sun-warmed sheep poo’, you are an original Ali.

      2. Chloris says:

        But I know what you mean. The smell of the moors; heather and sun dried sheep poo.

      3. Ali says:

        That’s exactly it. My happy smells.

  3. Emma Cownie says:

    Looks very beautiful – especially those rock formations. The tart looked yummy too!

    1. Ali says:

      It was the perfect afternoon walking fuel!

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        I bet it tasted all the better in the fresh air!

  4. Claudette says:

    Looks lovely. Thanks for showing a part of your world.

  5. shazza says:

    Brilliant! I love all the rock shapes. You really can imagine them to be all sorts of characters. Looks a magnificent walk and you all had great fun. Xx

    1. Ali says:

      We did, Shazza. Thank you for your timely post!

  6. What a magnificent walk and a great reason to enjoy Bakewell Tart. The flowers are known as bog cotton here in Donegal. They love the damp peaty soil.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! They were lovely, waving around at the top of the ridge.

  7. pommepal says:

    What a great way to spend a day with the family

    1. Ali says:

      It was. Precious.

  8. FlowerAlley says:

    This was nice to be taken along on your journey. I enjoyed your family, the rocks and the countryside. Now when do I get my tart?

    1. Ali says:

      That was mean, wasn’t it?

      1. FlowerAlley says:

        I am glad that you realize it. First showing off your flowers and now food!

  9. sgeoil says:

    Beautiful place! I love how you took us through the hike. It now has me longing for our summer break..only 4 weeks to go.

    1. Ali says:

      I am pleased to enhance the anticipation!

  10. bcparkison says:

    Now this would be a fun adventure.

  11. Anne Wheaton says:

    A fabulous walk. There’s nothing like a little bouncing and jumping from rock to rock and it’s even more fun with a bunch of youngsters. I love the worn, smooth rocks.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s right. Their energy and excitement rubs off on everyone.

  12. Pauline says:

    Loved your walk and jumping from rock to rock, those were the days when I could do that! We used to live in the NW so had many a lovely walk in the Lakes, North Wales and Yorkshire, thanks for bringing back happy memories.

    1. Ali says:

      They are beautiful parts of the world. It made me want to spend more time there.

  13. What a fabulous hike! I love a good hike but must get some new boots…..those rock formations look amazing and the weather looks impressive! It’s very wet and rainy here down in Wiltshire! Do you know? I’ve never been to the Peak District! Crazy…I must go. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Ali says:

      There are so many places to explore.

      1. I’m just popping back to say thank you for linking this post to #MyGloriousGardens this month Ali. Always a pleasure. X

  14. Heyjude says:

    “A grand day out” as they would say ‘oop north’. Funny how kids enjoy rock climbing, my grandkids are the same when they visit me and we take them up ‘our’ hill. I only wish I could run and jump and even walk over that rocky path now. I think my suspension has totally disappeared!

    1. Ali says:

      That was almost what my daughter said at the bottom when her legs had gone wobbly – I think she said her shock-absorbers had worn down!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Haha… yes shock absorbers is probably the best description. If only we could replace them like on a car.

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    That is an impressive hike, both in miles and in stunning scenery. I expect everyone slept well that night!

  16. rusty duck says:

    Now that looks like my kind of day. Great shots Ali.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you!

  17. Those moors look a lot like Dartmoor near me. I saw the wild blueberries last year but I was too chicken to eat one! #MyGoriousGardens

    1. Ali says:

      They are delicious! They take while to pick though – you have to work for them!

  18. What a stunning walk and the kids were amazing. The views and the rocks are just wonderful. Made me want to go #MyGloriousGardens

    1. Ali says:

      We were very lucky with the weather. It was one of those ‘Felix Felicis’ days where everything goes right!

  19. Sam says:

    What a wonderful-looking walk. We go the Lake District every October and love walking in the hills – this looks similar but with more interesting rocks! It’s a great thing to do with your children and ours still love it. I hope they’ll continue as they grow and leave home. (My elder son is hoping to go to Leeds Uni this Sept, so he’ll be able to do what you did, hopefully!) By the way, I love that photo of your parents – how lovely to be fit and able to walk the hills (and to still want to put your arms round each other). x

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I think that is the difference – the Peak District is very craggy. The Lake District is very similar but more impressive. All the smells and the sensory qualities are the same though – bouncing off rocks, springy turf and sheep poo. I love it. That’s great that your children love walking. Leeds is a fab University – I have very fond memories. My mum and dad are very sweet together!

  20. Ann says:

    What a beautiful hike! I use to go hiking all the time when I lived in New Mexico. There are several places to go out here by the coast that are beautiful. I need to set more time aside to enjoy the great outdoors. Thank you for sharing on #mygloriousgardens!

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