Today is just a fun post to share some photos from my hike this weekend. For me, hiking is one of the best ways to stay active. It is the perfect way to move your body whilst also relaxing at the same time. You get out in the fresh air, get away from screens and social media and have chance to connect with nature. It is challenging but you don’t feel like you are over stressing your body (as long as you keep yourself well fueled that is). I just love it!
I am back in the UK this month visiting my family and friends after a whole year in Athens. One of the things I missed the most was the British countryside so I am making the effort to go out hiking and enjoy nature while I am here. Of course Greece has plenty of opportunities for hiking too and this winter I plan to make the most of it! But it is a much more rough and mountainous country compared to the UK. The scenery is completely different and there is much less of that rolling green hillside that we have here in Britain.
This weekend I went to the Peak District to enjoy the good(ish) weather and spend time outdoors. I don’t have a car since I left the UK so I needed to go somewhere with good public transport links. Plus, I was meeting a friend from Nottingham so the Peak District is the perfect middle ground. I took the train from St Helens to Edale via Manchester which took about 2 hours. I love travelling by train because it’s the perfect opportunity to just switch off and relax. I usually have a good book or podcast at the ready but this time I just enjoyed watching out of the window.
The Hope Valley trans-pennine line from Manchester to Sheffield is one of the prettiest railway routes in the UK. Not only does it join two of my favourite cities in the UK, but it also passes through all of these little villages and beautiful scenery in between. I didn’t take any photos from the train as I was completely absorbed but here is a map of the route.
I arrived at Edale train station and waited in the Penny Pot Cafe which is a favourite spot for hikers and visitors to the village. The walking route we chose started and ended from the cafe so it was the perfect meeting spot and just 1 minute walk from the station. We didn’t come prepared with OS maps and navigating equipment but there are plenty of easy to follow routes in this area. I actually took the free hikers guide from the cafe and we followed route 2 which is about 5 miles at a moderate level.
We started by heading out of Edale and climbed up towards Mam Tor. It is a slow and steady climb but you end up quite high pretty quickly! Instead of climbing right up to the tor and walking along the ridge, we took a circular route instead. We walked down the lime stone way and into the village of Castleton. On the way we were supposed to see two caverns but we took an accidental detour and ended up missing them completely!
After a treacherous half walk half slide down a steep bank, we made it into Castleton. This is another picturesque village founded in 1086! It is known for it’s history, especially Peveril Castle, and is a designated conservation area. I really like the cute cottage style houses and winding streets selling souvenirs and crystals. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink as it is a central point for hikers in the area.
We stopped for some food in a traditional pub called The Castle. They do really tasty roast dinners but I thought it wasn’t the best idea in the middle of a hike as I’d be ready to fall asleep afterwards. So instead I enjoyed a “fish finger butty” which for anyone not from the north UK is a sandwich with battered fish inside. Basically a fish and chips sandwich! I always have a big appetite when I am hiking, a combination of the fresh air and hard work I think.
It was getting late by the time we finished our food and we still had an hour to go till the end of the walk. We thought the hardest climb was over but we were very wrong. The climb back up to Mam Tor from Castleton is pretty steep. Even though there is a good path which angles up the side of the ridge it can be quite challenging if you’re not used to hiking. The view makes it all worthwhile though. You have spectacular views of the countryside and the village below. I was even happy to see Hope cement works which is a bit of an eye sore in the natural landscape.
The end of the route was downhill and then flat along a paved path so it was an easy end to the day. We passed farms and saw lots of sheep grazing in the field, I wanted a selfie but unfortunately they had other ideas. I ended up missing my train by 5 minutes and had to wait nearly an hour for the next one. Luckily the cafe was still open so I enjoyed a hot lemon and ginger tea and chatted to the workers who were super friendly! I love how relaxed and happy people always seem to be in the countryside. It just shows what the stressed out city lifestyle does to us.
I am so glad to be able to move my body in fun ways rather than feeling like I have to kill myself at the gym to look a certain way. Even hiking is more enjoyable for me now as I make sure to eat plenty of snacks on the way and fuel my body. Years ago, I would see hiking as as a way to burn calories and I would try to eat as little as possible which always left me feeling moody and exhausted. Now I feel fit and strong and I hike because I love it, not as a way to lose weight. Hopefully I will have chance to visit the Peak District again while I am here or maybe the Lake District for more hiking adventures!
Over to you…
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