A few weeks ago my girlfriend Alice and I were in the mood to go on a micro-adventure. This was partly because we had both had so much fun on our last one. We decided to just get a train into the Pennines and go from there, so just over an hour after deciding where we were going we were hopping off a train in the picturesque village of Hope, in Derbyshire.
We had no route planned but we had brought my OS map of the area so we quickly found ourselves and then set off walking towards the nearest footpath. I like this way of hiking, just going where you feel like going, not having a definite destination but instead just going where your feet take you. Immediately we found ourselves hiking up some very steep slopes towards Winhill Pike. So within only about ten minutes from departing the train, we had already been rewarded with fantastic views back over Hope and Castleton. I still find myself amazed with how amazing the British countryside is, especially the Peak District and that is literally on my doorstep!
Up and up we went, totally immersed in the hills. The sun had poked itself out between the clouds and we were doused in its rich warmth. Then we hit the dangerous part. A field of bulls! I don’t think it really helped us that I was wearing my bright fluorescent Gourdon rucksack; the bulls were definitely looking at me in a weird way. There were four of them. All huge, muscled, and ready to trample us down. Cautiously we began our way through the field. We tread carefully and slowly, trying to maintain eye contact with them at all times, staring them down. We got past one. The next three had all turned around now and were glaring at us; they had moved within about ten metres of us. If they did anything we would be goners. Fortunately after a short while a space opened up so we could move past and over to the other side of the field. Phew!
With our hearts now racing we were able to rejoin the footpath and continue up the mountain. We were pretty high up now. The clouds continued to recede making the views even more spectacular. I used the opportunity to take some photos on my old Olympus OM-2. It was great. Fresh air, sunshine, and my best friend, we were both having such a good time! We found a lovely little sheltered bit and decided to take a small rest to have some sausages and of course cups of tea, definitely one of the best rest breaks I have ever taken. That is what I love about hiking with no definite route, it’s not as strenuous and I find it easier to take breaks, enjoy myself, and take in my surroundings.
After our short break we continued on walking, choosing trails which would take us round and down to Ladybower Reservoir. This is part of the reservoir network which was used by Squadron 617 in the Second World War. The pilots practiced the low-level flights which were needed for the Dam Busters raids. Yet again we were rewarded with stunning views over the reservoir and surrounding hills and still we were yet to see other walkers, we were completely free and alone, away from everything.
We had walked quite a way by now and realised we had forgotten the tent, quite a big thing to forget. We wouldn’t be wild camping tonight. So we began to loop back around to walk up the other side of Winhill Pike and towards the Summit. The views from the top were amazing and definitely worth the hours of walking we had done to get them. After this we slowly trudged down the hill back towards hope so we could get the final train of the day home. The sun was finally setting and the sky was turning deep crimson. It had been a fantastic day, a hard days walking but we got superb views and great company.
The hike has instilled a drive in me to go out and explore more of the area which lies just beyond my doorstep. Why pay lots of money travelling somewhere far afield when you can have an adventure which is just as good and spectacular close to home? To have a good adventure it doesn’t really matter where you go, it is what you do along the way and how you get to wherever it is that you are going. That is why I love micro-adventures, they are easy, don’t require much planning, and you always have an amazing adventure!