Personal Peak District Adventure

With the August bank holiday approaching, a client had booked the Sunday and Monday in the Peak District with Redpoint Adventure, which left me with Friday afternoon and Saturday all to myself. The perfect opportunity for a well-earned lie in with a cooked breakfast in bed and a couple of films? I don’t think so, but the perfect opportunity for a personal Peak District Adventure!

As soon as I was free on Friday, I headed to Edale, which is the start of the Pennine Way, a 267 mile footpath that runs up the backbone of the UK to finish just inside the Scottish Border. Whilst I didn’t have enough time to attempt the whole route, the initial stage certainly provided the beautiful and rugged scenery I wanted after being stuck behind a desk for far too long! I grabbed my sack and headed off at around 6pm to begin my personal Peak District adventure.

After a couple of kilometres of warming up on the flat, Jacob’s Ladder rose out of the ground to greet me. It’s 180m of ascent over less than a kilometre was a wonderful start, and by the end of the climb, I really felt that I had left civilisation behind and was surrounded by the wild. The quiet, fresh air never ceases to relax me and put all of my problems in perspective. A few kilometres down the trail, there was a break in the peat and a few ditches that equated to the Peak’s equivalent of a suite in the Ritz…sort of!

Out came the bivi bag, the Buffalo and the Jetboil as the sun descended behind the hills and illuminated the sky beautifully. With a belly full of couscous, fruit cake and a wee dram, I soon slipped off to sleep, until being rudely awoken by a face full of rain in the small hours! They say that nights in a bivi bag are the best of nights and the worst of nights, and I do agree. Falling asleep with an incredible sunset in view, only to be replaced by a star-studded night sky is a wonderful experience. When the rain starts though, you are faced with a tough choice: get wet from the rain, or zip up your bag and get wet from condensation. They are truly the best of nights and the worst of nights, and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

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The first morning of this personal Peak District adventure brought porridge (with more scotch, of course) and dense hill fog – the ideal weather for a spot of micro-navigation. This was a skill that I learnt during my Mountain Leader training, but it is invaluable for all those that enjoy the hills and mountains as it enables you to navigate to the smallest of points in horrendous weather and night. It really is a skill that is invaluable if things go a bit awry, and one that can be quite enjoyable for those as nerdy as me! If you’d like to know more, please get in touch, or have a look at one of Redpoint Adventure’s Navigation courses.

As the sun broke through the mist (eventually), it dawned on me that it had been far too long since I had truly pushed myself physically in the outdoors. Most of my time in the outdoors is spent leading and instructing people, which is great fun and highly mentally challenging, but not always physically demanding. It was an easy decision really, so after a quick shifty at the map and a replenishment of water from a convenient stream near the summit of Kinder Scout, and I was off on the final stage of this personal Peak District adventure.

22 miles and 6 hours later, and I was back at the car feeling tired, stiff-legged and very happy.

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It can be difficult to describe the effect that the outdoors has on a person, especially as different activities affect different people in different ways. These 24 hours however were varied and idyllic. The beauty of the sunset and the contrast from city life, blended perfectly into a damp but strangely enjoyable night, followed by an intellectually challenging navigation exercise with a bit of a beasting finishing the day off perfectly. For those that say that walking or the outdoors are boring, I say that the old adage ‘you get out, what you put in’ is completely apt. There is no limit to the adventure and fun that can be had once you head out of your front door and towards nature, so why wait?!

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