08 September, 2014

Hiking in the Peak District & Clearing the Cobwebs!

The concept of a bank holiday must have been generated by a woman. Only a woman would have the foresight and knowledge to know that every now and then us humans require an extra day after Saturday and Sunday to catch up on life, slot in some extra rest and generally clear the cobwebs. The boy and I, on whim decided to hire a car and get away for a portion of the August Bank Holiday, which in the UK falls at the end of the month and not at the start of the month, like in Ireland.

The Peak District, literally only an hour or so from Manchester was our chosen destination. As we decided to head there on a whim, accommodation was scarce. So scare that we ended up booking a hotel outside of the Peak District, but we didn't mind. We had a car for the weekend and knew we'd spend most of our time outdoors taking in some fresh air. I recently had been worrying alot about work. There were heavy deadlines looming and I needed to get away from it, even if it was only for 24 hours. I just needed space to clear my head and what better way to do then with a 10 mile, mostly up hill, hike!

It was a well known route that the boy discovered online and being in a 'up for anything' kind of mood, we packed the car, turned on the sat nav and made our way to the Peak District to our hiking starting spot. When we arrived and despite wearing gym gear, we felt like amateurs. We were surrounded by outdoor professionals. People and families geared up in the best of hiking boots, jackets and waterproofs, while the boy and I looked like we were heading to a spin class. We laughed it off and made our way to the starting point. The funny was, the boy was going to wear jeans until I told him to change!

Within 20 minutes we were on our way and also on a very, very steep hill. The boy, clearly fitter than me found it easy, while I and my thunder thighs worked hard through every single step. Despite recently loosing a stone, eatting clean 80 percent of the time and loosing a jean size, my dire fitness levels were evident. I was nearly passed out by a 70 year old man! A very friendly and lovely 70 year old man, but a 70 year old none the less.

After about an hour of huffing and puffing, we reached the first summit. I didn't die along the way, I didn't give up and despite shouting at each other, the boy and I didn't break up along the way. It was a mini success to reach the top and the worries of work were becoming a distant memory.

The views were pretty incredible and we took a little time to rest, top up the water levels and chat to others who had reached the top. The 70 year old I previously mentioned arrived a short time later and was joined by his son. Chatting away, he told us that he meets his son once a year for a long weekend and it always results in a hike and a couple of pints. What a lovely idea!

After our short break, we continued on. There was a brief period where the terrain was level or downhill which was a nice relief for my poor legs and the steepness which followed afterwards, while tough, was no where near as tough as the initial climb. The scenery continued to be breathtaking and refreshing and when we reached our second summit, we choose it as the spot to eat and share our homemade packed lunch. A ham salad sandwich never tasted so good!

Fed and watered and ready for more exercise, we started the final aspect of the hike. Now mostly downhill (I was delighted) we met lots of families, couples, energetic dogs and individuals along the way, all of whom were making the most of the bank holiday weekend and making the most of the fact that the weather forecast said rain would hold off until 4pm. Despite feeling a little sore, overall I felt awesome. The hike did what I hoped it would do. It removed worries, cleared concerns and put things into perspective. It felt more than good to get fresh air into the lungs and get the heart pumping. 

The closer we got to the end of the walk, the more we talked about what we would do when we got there. Chats about eating, shopping or even sleeping and taking a nap cropped up, but really what we needed was a lovely little treat. On our arrival into a little village, we found the first pub and hey presto, we were satisfied. A gin and tonic and beer never tasted so good.

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