Friday, 9 April 2010

I walked right up to the top of the hill...

...and I walked back down again.

OK, so the hill wasn't big by international standards, neither was it anything significant like Ben Nevis or Snowdon (although Snowdon is in my sights for the summer), but it was a nice, peaky the Peak District.

We went away for the weekend a couple of weeks ago and stayed in Ashbourne, just to the south of the Peak District National Park. The very first weekend away Vicky and I ever had was to the Peak District, around the same time of year, so it felt fitting to return with a new pair of lungs to test out. We were blessed with clear and beautiful weather, if a bit breezy and chilly, and on Saturday we went to Dovedale and had a good walk.

As I'm sure some of you know Dovedale is pretty touristy, very beautiful, and has a hill called Thorpe Cloud. Last time I climbed Thorpe Cloud was four years ago during that first weekend away, so I had to make a comparison and get up there again. As it happened we ended up doing a rather longer walk after we came down again, along Dovedale and then up the other side of the valley and along the top. Needless to say it was easier than last time getting up the hills, and a joy to be able to do a 6 hour walk and still feel human at the end.

Here are some pics:

So, here I am at the top of Thorpe Cloud - the route up is down to the right of the pic. Steep.

It was pretty windy up there!

And you could look over the edge down into Dovedale.
Here's Vicky helpfully showing us all the route we came down. Nice pointing Vic.

We were up there!

So then we walked along the river down the dale, and went up the side of the valley through some muddy woods. When we came out on top we could see this:
There's Thorpe Cloud over at the end. Dovedale is down in the valley below the trees.

We carried on our walk, through a farm. Look at the sweet animals!

It's a cow! Like those ones on the highland toffee wrappers! It was almost ridiculously docile.

It's a sheep and a little lamb! Wow, this is pretty exciting isn't it? The sheep still had some afterbirth hanging out its back end (sorry to be nature-gory there), so the lamb must have been very recently born. It was having trouble standing up and wobbled and fell over a few times. It also instincitively knew it was after milk, but couldn't quite find the teat - mum was nudging it in the right direction with her head. Once locked on to the teat the little lambkin's tail started doing wild wiggles and helicoptering - it was obviously enjoying it!

We eventually got to the top of another hill over the dale from Thorpe Cloud. We then made our way down by a slightly unorthodox route involving scrambling and holding onto fences to stop falling, trying to avoid the barbed wire. Still, we made it back to the car.

The next day we went to Chatsworth, which is a frankly stupidly massive stately home still privately owned by the Duke of Devonshire. It 'aint small

The place is full of greek/roman-esque statues. I'll leave you today with an arty shot of a statue's bum, courtesy of my lovely wife.

Oh, and a belated happy Easter to everyone!


  1. If you ask me it's a good job the cow was docile! A 6 hour walk is impressive by anyone's standards, what a great testament to your new lungs. For the Snowdon trip hire out a big 'cottage' and we'll all trek up with you; could be a great w/e!
    Watching the BBC2 series last week on Great Ormond St hospital I was moved to tears (by most of the programme, not just this bit) when a new heart turned up for a young boy and I sat thinking: this is how Will's lungs turned up. A bit surreal that it was in a picnic-style cold box and was shoved into the operating theatre by a foot, though!

  2. "thorough brush, thorough briar"?

    Almost pavlovian response to reading what you did ...