Weather and Walking
I had often heard rumours about the western side of england and the peak district, where the rain never stopped falling and the sky doesnt know how to be blue. And until I went there for my silver Duke of Edinburgh expedition I thought it was nothing more than a myth. It isnt.
We pitched our tents near Monsal Head at a small campsite clinging to the side of the valley, and at first all was dry. On the first morning the sun even came out, which allowed us to warm up a little when we went canoeing at Carsington, and then hired bikes for a trip around the reservoir. This blissful period of basking and good humor helped lull us into a false sense of security, as the following days were taken up with climbing and hiking at a variety of spots as the sky threw down every manner or precipitation, until we were thoroughly soaked and aching. The sheep didnt help, standing there, judging us with their merciless black eyes.
Then, yesterday, we began the actual expedition and walked the twelve miles from Monsal Head to Upper Padley. The scenery was beautiful but bleak, and by this point we were struggling to enjoy it, feeling as though it held a personal grudge against us. Particularly after an acute but intense hailstorm brought an end to our mountain top lunch.
This, perhaps, would have been bearable had it not been for this morning. I awake before dawn to find that one side of my tent had partially collapsed under the weight of snow pressing down upon it, and that the wind had snapped the tent pole in the porch. Outside was even worse; the wind was whipping the snow along parallel to the ground, and the whole sorry scene was being illuminated by sporadic flashes of lightning.
This was rather more than we had signed up for, and so we decided to hastily abandon campsite, leaving behind the horrid sheep and their wet grey hills. I have just stumbled through my door with a bag of wet clothes and a camera full of photographs. Perhaps one day I will return to the peak district, with a reservation at a nice bed and breakfast.