We’re no different to anyone else in that, on the first of January, we set ourselves some New Year resolutions and I’m pleased to report that, one month on, we’re actually sticking to at least one of them!
We decided to try and get out and about walking, not a stroll round the local pond, but big old boot-wearing, stick-carrying walks. Firstly in the local area (by that I mean the Peak District, which is close enough to be considered on our doorstep) then further afield as the weather picks up and the nights are lighter for longer.
In the first month we’ve completed several walks in the Ladybower / Derwent Dam area, which I have to say is stunningly beautiful countryside; we have varied the length and challenge of each trip depending on how much time we have free. The thing is, despite having an app on my iPad, very well signed footpaths, and two well-educated brains between us, we have never ever managed to complete the route that we set out on at the beginning of the day.
A couple of weeks ago, feeling particularly adventurous, we headed off to the outskirts of Sheffield, with a route planned that would take us on an 8 mile round trip into the hills around the Derwent area. As we drove out of the city, we were suddenly greeted with the most beautiful covering of snow on the fields, not enough to put us off, but enough for it to transform the countryside into a snowy landscape.
We found our starting point and headed off into the hills, wrapped up warm as it was a particularly sunny but cold day!
An hour or so into the journey, and we decided to check the iPad to make sure we were on the right track, as we could see where we intended to be, but we couldn’t quite work out how to get there.
Turns out we’d missed the path we intended to be on, meaning that our very enjoyable walk was about to be cut short by about 3 miles.
After walking a bit further along the revised route, we spotted an alternative footpath on the iPad, and it was indeed signed with little yellow arrows. It was 3pm by this time but, well, we’re the Lees and always up for a challenge! We calculated that going this way would extend our overall walk to 9 miles but we both felt good, so headed off down this new path!
We’d seen a stream marked out on the map, but it was only when we came upon it, that we realised it was a bit more than a trickling brook that we had to ford…
Once over the stream (thank god no one was taking photos of me doing that) we continued following the yellow arrows, until we reached a sign saying ‘end of footpath’. Well that couldn’t be right, the iPad clearly shows a path going up this hill along the stream, and back along the top of the hill to Whitstone Tor. So we decided to follow what ‘looked like’ another route, up an extremely steep hill!
Turns out that wasn’t a route at all, our eyes were deceiving us, and actually we were walking right into a farmer’s field, which was very neatly and securely marked out by 5 foot drystone walls at all sides.
Let’s now fast forward half an hour, and after playing what felt like a round of Pacman around various fences and well built walls, we finally spotted a gate at the top of a field that would indeed put us back on the original path, and end our unintended trespass…
We hopped (ok, staggered) over the locked gate and ducked under the barbed wire just as the sun was setting, but at least we were back on route and heading downhill once more!
We reached Ladybower Reservoir just as the sun completely dropped, and the last half hour of the walk consisted of us walking (me hobbling, legs had given in by then) around the Reservoir back to the car, lead only by the light of a torch that we’d jokingly added to the rucksack as we set off!
The overall journey (according to the iPad) was just over 10 miles, and was completely off our intended course, but as ever we had a laugh – although mostly once we were back home, bathed and drinking red wine!!