Writing a travel blog is a piece of cake when you have a handful of holidays booked, but when you’ve got a five month period where you don’t have any trips planned, you find yourself scrolling through Skyscanner every single day desperate to book another city break, beach break or just any kind of break at all. The joys of trying to save money. Anyway, although 2018 might not be the year for racking up the air miles, I’m thinking it could be the year for exploring more of the UK.
First stop: The Peak District
Our first UK trip of 2018 was as spontaneous as trips come. Darryl suggested we spent Sunday walking in the Peak District, and in less than 24 hours we were hurtling up the M1 with a picnic in the boot ready for a day of adventure. Although this wasn’t the first or even second time that I’ve been to the Peak District, it’s such a vast area that you can go time and time again and never see the same place twice. Except if you’re us, you’ll go back to those places because you like them so much. Though this time, it was less spring vibes and more arctic blizzard vibes.
THOR’S CAVE / WETTON
Our first stop was a little village called Wetton which smelt like burning wood fires and looked like something out of The Holiday — seriously beautiful. But it could have been a lot more beautiful if we didn’t spend the next two hours walking blindly through a snow storm, wading through mud, dodging a few dozen sheep, shuffling down the most anti-human paths you’ve ever seen in your life, and rock climbing our way into a cave. I’m not exaggerating. Darryl slipped down a muddy hill, I cried because I couldn’t feel my fingers, I hit my camera on a rock, and then on the way back, I stacked it in the mud and smashed my leg to bits before trudging up a sludgy field to the car. I have NEVER been so glad to see a packet of Digestives. (PS my
bruise war wound is quite something).
Everything is better when there’s food so our next priority was to eat the picnic in Buxton, before continuing on to Winnats Pass. This is somewhere we’ve both been in spring, but never in winter, and by this point the snow was not messing about. Still, Darryl somehow managed to convince me to climb the whopping great hill next to the pass. (I personally think it classifies as a mountain because it bloody felt like one climbing it, but no, it’s just a big hill.) Getting up was hard for a number of reasons — 1) The snow 2) The mud under the snow 3) The queue of people that kept hogging the access to the only fence/form of stability on the hill 4) The wind — but we did it, and the winter wonderland views were worth it. Getting back to the car was also an experience, and despite sliding my way down 75% of the hill, it’s safe to say we laughed — a lot. Maybe I’m more outdoorsy than I think. Who knew.
Well done to the organised side of me who packed fresh clothes and enough picnic food to feed a small tribe, because it was needed after trek fail 2.0. To recover with hot coffee before the long drive home we spent an hour in Bakewell, and although I’m still devastated that the traditional ‘bakewell tart’ is not the bakewell tart that I know with all the icing and the cherry (it’s actually a very basic almondy cake thing), I like this place a lot, so it’s always nice to go back.
In summary, sometimes it’s nice to spend Sunday underneath a blanket with endless coffee and biscuits (ok, always) — but sometimes its also nice to go out and do something new. Hiking is definitely new for me, but even though I was terrible at it, it was a good way to see more of our country. Where to next?