It’s a misty start to our Peak District trek as we gather in the hotel bar to go through our safety talk, trips, slips and falls are what we need to watch for, and we are reminded again of the essential need to wear walking boots.
Our trek starts alongside the river Dove within the Peak District national park. The earlier rain now cleared but the ground is wet and a mist hangs high in the sky, blocking all bar the peaks of the closest hills and valley sides. We set out and quickly find the fast flowing river swollen from the rain has burst its banks and we are forced onto the muddy embankment. Slipping and sliding in the drenched mud, each of us conscious not to be the first to fall over.
As we round the bend to the river crossing we find that the stepping stones across the river are still passable, even though the river has started to flow over the top of several of the stones. As we queue to cross in single file, we watch eager for our turn and celebrate the small victory of making it across the river without getting soaked. We flank the river for a couple of miles, enjoying the fresh air and the ever present sound of the crystal clear flowing river. At a welcome tea shop, we recharge with a cuppa, sitting on the water’s edge sharing our snacks, enjoying the scenery and the absence of any phone signal to disrupt this peaceful setting.
Recharged and starting to feel the cold setting in, we head up the muddy path to the hills summit. The steep slippery hill path quickly divides us into three groups, those that power to the top, racing for bragging rights, ignoring their tired legs and the lack of breath. Those that push on a steady pace, enjoying the struggle but not wanting to sacrifice conversation or energy to reach the top first, and finally the last group, those who would rather a more gentle walk but who struggle on, rewarded with a rest as we regroup on the farmed fields above.
Squeezing through the walkers gates we loop over the summit before descending down a well-trodden stone path to re-join the river Dove after leaving it 2 hours earlier. Pushing on back across the stepping stones to the warmth of our hotel. Legs tired but spirits high after the 8 mile trek, we gather at the bar to enjoy a well earned drink.