Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A Beautiful Late Winter Day in the Peak District

A week before the start of spring.   
A beautiful, sunny Saturday.   
The temperature in the mid 50s.   
A lunch is packed.   
Along with some water bottles.   
It’s time for a hike in the Peak District. 

We don’t have far to go.  The Peak District lies mostly in northern Derbyshire, an hour and a half drive from home.  We are heading to a quant little village called Castleton.   

The village of Castleton sitting below it's once mighty castle.
Castleton is a great base for exploring the Peak District with plenty of pubs, shops and beautiful stone buildings, and it has a castle, or the remains of one anyway.  But at one time, the castle looked like this.

It’s called Peveril Castle and it dates back a 1000 years.  

It’s a steep hike up a narrow trail to get to the remains that sit on the side of the hill as if it’s ready to slip down into the village below. 

After exploring the ruins, we head off into the hills of the Peak District.  The Peak District was the first national park in the UK.  It’s large rolling green hills are crisscrossed with stone walls

and dotted with sheep and farm fields.

There are trees, but for the most part, the area we are visiting is quite barren, beautiful in it’s simplicity.  Rocky crags jut out from the valley here and there. 

We follow the valley up, 

and up, (Do sheep charge? I don't think so but I really don't want to find out the hard way.  Well, no way around them in this narrow, rocky valley, so I guess we'll find out.)

and up, (The hiking directions say to follow the rock wall on your right.  Check!)

stopping here and there to explore and play.  

We scramble over a stone wall, up one side

and down the other. 

Finally we reach the top of the hill.  It’s windy, so we use the beautiful stone walls as a wind break and find a place to sit and enjoy our lunch.  We are a hungry bunch after hiking uphill for a couple of hours so lunch doesn’t take long. 

We meant to take a circular route, following the valley up into the high hills but following a different path back down to Castleton.  We got lost.  Well, maybe lost isn’t the correct word because we knew how to get back to the car.  We just couldn’t figure out exactly where our directions were pointing us to go.  There are trails everywhere, heading off across fields, down narrow dirt farm lanes, and through other valleys.  Which path to follow is not always apparent, especially when there are 6 or 7 different options.  Keep the stone wall to your right the directions say.  But there are stone walls everywhere.  Which one are we suppose to keep to our right?  Head diagonally across the field the directions continue.  Hmm.  We could go diagonally across a field in about twelve different directions from here.

We trekked on for awhile, guessing which direction we were to go, but the further we walked, the less confident we became that we were following the correct path.  It was getting late and we didn't have much time left on our parking sticker.  If we didn't get back to the car soon and plug some more coins into the park and display machine, we risked getting a hefty parking ticket.  Finally, we decided to just turn around and go back the way we came.  

Retracing our steps back down through the valley wasn’t so bad because you get the chance to take in the scenery from a different perspective and notice things you missed on the way up.   

 We pass beneath what is left of Peveril Castle again sitting high on it's bluff.

And we made it back to the car just in time to plug in a few more coins so we could enjoy a beverage in one of the local pubs before heading heading home.  

That was our hike in the Peak District.  Barren but beautiful.  And that is just another Saturday in England.

No comments:

Post a Comment