Back to the hills

First hike out of strict lockdown and there was no question where we headed! Of course it was our beautiful kinder Scout.

We began walking at 7.30am as we’re still keen to avoid the crowds if we can. We have no children and don’t need to travel too far so if we can why not? There are many options and variations of loops to do at Kinder so we decided on a 6 mile hike, around 3 hours. Always starting at the car park, we hike through Edale, past the start of the Pennine Way and out the top of the village, beginning the ascent up the valley. Through Edale and the shade of the trees it was chilly but as we got into the early morning sun it was glorious.

45 minutes in and we are a pair of sweaty Betty’s as the uphill starts to take its toll!

And 15 minutes later we reach the top. Phew.

From here we turn right and head along the ridge stopping for fun photo opportunities. This is our first hike since mid March so we are enjoying every bit of it!


Big thanks to my sister Emily for providing us with our halfway snack. Home made apricot scones. They were delicious and the perfect boost after out early morning smoothie.

Me with my energy boost, loving life.

So far we’d seen less than 10 people all morning but as we descended down the hill we saw more people beginning their hikes. You could see how it was going to be a busy day and we were glad to be heading home. Arriving in the morning we were the 8th car, now the car park was choka block. Finished at 10.30 am we set off home for a late brunch.

Thanks you Edale for a beautiful hike! πŸ™‚



Alport Castles and the Derwent Valley: the last hike

So obviously there’s been big changes in the UK over the last few weeks. Last weekend we couldn’t get out hiking as I was working and so with the enforced rules we all knew were coming, me and Rufino wanted to get out for a big hike this weekend. On Saturday we set our alarms for 6.30am and were walking by 8.15am to ensure we missed the crowds. We hardly saw a soul for the first 3 hours. It was pure bliss just us and the outdoors.

This 10 mile route began at Fairholmes car park close to Derwent Dam and headed away from the reservoir. The first section was an ascent upwards through the forest pines. The sun was just breaking in through the trees and I got this photo of Rufino enjoying some much needed rays. Because of my job, all my work was cancelled since Monday and so other than going out running this was my first big venture out the house for almost a week. We savoured this moment of peace as the sun beamed down into the woods.

When we reached the top we were rewarded with views of hills on all sides. We could see Mam Tor and the cement factory close to Castleton. This was our first time viewing them from this perspective. After 1 hour we’d seen 3 mountain bikers and one lone runner before it was back to being just us and the sheep as we walked across the top towards Alport Castle. I still haven’t bought the fleece lined trousers I saw weeks ago and was reminded of that as soon as we were on the top. The wind was cold and my thin trousers weren’t giving my legs and bum the warm protection they needed! Heres me trying to warm myself up:

After enjoying the views over what was Alport Castle we descended down into the valley passing Alport farm and hiked along the path next to Alport river. By this point it was 10am and we could see a few more hikers on the hill where we’d just been. Onto the next ascend (the toughest by far!) we crossed over the A57 and began the upward climb towards Blackley Hey. This was a slog of a hill and I made no effort in hiding my thoughts about it. I wasn’t expecting another steep hill and from the bottom it wasn’t clear it was so steep! I needed lunch but there wasn’t a good place to stop and the higher we went the windier it got.

For the next 30 mins we debated where to stop and for food. It was only 11am but because of the early start we were ready for the energy top up! We settled on sitting back to back in a field. So glad I’d made a big batch of pasta the previous night πŸ™‚

From here we descended down to Haggwater Bridge before our third and final ascend to Hagg Side. The route completes a circle and rejoins the original path retracing the steps back towards Fairholmes car park. As we neared the car park you could hear the hustle and bustle of midday traffic. When we’d arrived we were one of three cars parked, now there were cars waiting to take our spot as we left. Here was another busy scene which we knew would soon be banned, and on Sunday evening the inevitable announcement arrived.

Nature doesn’t care whats happening in the human world. The moors don’t care, the wind doesn’t care, the tree’s don’t care. We are insignificant to nature. To be reminded of this as we were walking along was freeing and liberating. These are strange and uncertain times and being out in nature can calm the mind and aid reflective and peaceful thoughts. I still hope we and everyone else are able to enjoy nature during our daily exercise or sitting out in the garden.

This hike is one of our favourites we have completed from our 50 Walks in the Peak District book. It was the toughest so for that reason probably one of the most rewarding. Also I had no idea there were 3 ascents and descents (because I don’t read the instructions properly) so that was a surprise! Now my expectations are managed, next time I’m sure we won’t find it as challenging πŸ™‚

We look forward to when we can revisit this lovely hike again.



Castleton and the Peaks: Sheffield Hill Hikers

At the end of last year we set up a walking group with friends and family called the Sheffield Hill Hikers. Me and Rufino had begun to hike more regularly at weekends and although we still really value our rulu adventures time together, we also enjoy sharing those adventures with friends and family. I felt like I was texting everyone repeat messages for separate planned hikes which was quite time consuming and also I thought wouldn’t hikes be a great way to bring different friends together 😊 So I set up the whats app group and now when we’re planning a hike, we can share our plans on the group and depending on whose available and wants to join, we can modify or upscale difficulty and duration.

On Sunday, 6 of us set off on a 5 mile hike starting and ending in Castleton. Me and Rufino have hiked round here lots and I’ve been coming to this area for years but we found a hike in our 50 Walks in The Peak District book suggesting a new route which everyone was happy with.

It’s amazing how you can have been somewhere numerous times and always stick to the same route, the one that you know. This was our first route up Cave Dale path, behind Castleton taking in the beautiful views of Pevril Castle. This part of the walk was way harder than it looks in these pictures. This path was like a wind tunnel, but me and Roanna kept taking advantages of the breaks to admire the rock formations.

The route continued up in a straight line and then turned right heading past Rowter Farm (which is a great spot for camping in the summer). There was snow at the top and the wind chill was up. On reaching Windy Knoll (appropriately named) the route bears right and passes the base of Mam Tor circling back down to Casleton via the 3 caves: Blue John Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Speedwell Cavern. Although at this point we discussed the option of extending the route to include Mam Tor we decided it was the best to keep to the planned route because “if its this windy here, then how is it going to be up there?!”

Taking shelter behind a wall…

On descending back down to Castleton we all agreed that a stop at the pub was in order and once someone mentioned a chip butty I couldn’t think of anything else. Roanna had made delicious home made flapjack and we’d had other snacks but by the time we got to the bottom a cup of tea and some pub food was just the ticket. And it was Rufino’s first chip butty… Ever!

A totally joyful walk with lovely company. You can always rely on Castleton and around Mam Tor for a good walk and I would definitely do this route again.



Dale Dike Reservoir and a 10k

A lovely weekend with lots of outdoors time.

SATURDAY: a 5.5 mile hike in Bradfield round the Dale Dike Reservoir. We chose a short walk as were running a 10k the next day and didn’t want to destroy our legs. Sometimes it’s nice just to take a stroll and not be totally knackered when you get home πŸ™‚ The route was pleasant and easy on the legs. The first half hour was walking up a road, which was a bit dull, before heading off into fields and paths towards the reservoir. It was a peaceful walk and there weren’t that many other hikers about. Another one ticked off from our 50 Walks in the Peak District book.

The book also gave information about the disaster in 1864 when just before completion the dam collapsed sending tons of water down through the Loxley Valley towards Sheffield tragically killing 244 people. We reflected on the gravity of this disaster as we walked round the reservoir. Its good to be reminded of what’s been before us and the hardships people have suffered especially now in a place that feels incredibly peaceful. There are plaques round the dam giving this history as well.

A nice walk, nothing to shout about and not one to repeat soon but just nice πŸ™‚

SUNDAY: Once a month Longshaw Estate in the Peak District host a 10k trail route. Its 2 loops of a 5k circuit with 2 solid uphill stints. We love doing this race as it gets you out early and is a real toughy! This particular time was the muddiest the trail has ever been (the volunteers confirmed) and yep it was really muddy. Added to the fun though! Here we are with my sister Emily and my dad Kevin and our very muddy trainers after the run.

Home for a bath and for some good food. After being in the cold outdoors one of our favourite recipes is the sweet potato stew from Deliciouslly Ella πŸ™‚



Hathersage to Stanage : Possibly the Windiest Walk Ever

If we thought last weekend was windy then today was on a whole new level…

Almost lost my hat there!

Another from our 50 Walks in the Peak District book, today we hiked a 9 mile circular route from Hathersage to Stanage & back. And oh my did the wind want to let us know she was there.

The book said 5 hours but we did it in 3.15. Probably because we were so desperate to feel our cheeks & noses again. We also did miss a tiny section out. See the picture below from stage 6 to 7 we hiked along the main road (the yellow line) just to the left of the route which will have shaved off around 30 minutes as well.

We’ve only done this route up from Hathersage once before & I’d forgotten how pleasant it is. We stopped at Coleman’s Deli before setting off & bought a tuna & cheese toastie & had a wander round the Alpkit shop. This particular outdoors shop has good memories for me as it’s where I bought my North Face Artic Parka coat back in 2013. Rufino is always impressed that I bought such a good coat & thinks I bought it when we were together. I bought it just before we met he just likes to think that it was meeting him that brought the outdoors and love of good quality outdoors clothing to my life. He is wrong! Anyway suffice to say I’ve never been cold since & after living in Scotland for three years & vowing ‘I never want to be that cold again’, it does the trick πŸ™‚ Today the shop was full of fell runners before a race.

The walk up into Stanage plantation:

Me on the top struggling to walk & using the trig point as an anchor so I don’t blow away:

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We passed the runners a few times. I was struggling to walk straight never mind run! Once off the top the wind died down quite quickly but not enough to want to stop & eat. At one point we hid behind someones car to block the wind while Rufino checked the map. We made it back to the car without eating the toastie so headed home to have it warmed up with a bowl of soup. A really nice walk in an area of the Peaks we know well but our first time completing this route. Would recommend πŸ™‚



Hayfield to Kinder Downfall : First RULU hike of 2020

January 2020. A new Year. A new decade. A whole lot of new hikes to explore! We’ve already been out a few times this month but Saturday was our first hike just the two of us.

Our go-to hike is the Kinder loop starting & ending in Edale in the Peak District. It’s a great hike with stunning views & has become one of our favourites. When we take friends hiking, we go to Edale. When we don’t want to have to think where we’re going, we head to Edale. When you know a route confidently it’s like a good recipe you can rely on & theres a load of variations of the loop you can do. But recently we’ve been thinking we need to expand our ‘go-to’s’ & venture to different parts of the Peaks (around 6 months ago we headed to The Roaches near Leek – a popular spot for climbers – & ran a really fun 10k route which we plan to go back & hike soon). It’s great getting to know a place but not becoming so comfortable you stop exploring elsewhere. So on Friday evening Rufino researched & decided we should hike the Hayfield to Kinder route & off we went. Still on kinder but from the other side…

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We followed the route from our 50 Walks in The Peak District book which as well as giving excellent details about the hikes provides ‘fascinating background reading for every walk’ as proudly stated on the back cover. And so they should state! It was a fascinating read… The story of how Kinder Scout became open to the public: Benny Rothman was a Manchester Rambler & along with other ramblers from the local area & Sheffield led a mass trespass in 1932 on Kinder Scout against the owners of the land protesting that the land be open to public access. Benny was one of five arrested & did a short stint in jail for unlawful assembly & breach of the peace but had inspired a cause which continued to campaign until 1951 when the recently formed National Park negotiated with the land owners to keep the moorlands open to the public. Hurray for hikers! Thank you Benny & co for your campaigning & not giving up πŸ™‚ There was even a song written about Benny, you can listen here.

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The hike heads out of Bowden Bridge car park & up to Kinder. Up and Up and Up. The full loop was just over 7 miles & took 4 hours but by the end I felt as though we’d done a full day!

It was a stunning walk & had a more dramatic feeling than the Jacobs Ladder side of Kinder and felt in parts similar to the Lakes. That might have been because of the weather. There was low cloud & a dull grey sky which contrasted against the colours of the land & highlighted the earthy quality & texture of the day. When you’re only a sunshine hiker you miss the dramatic days. It felt really atmospheric. Our weather app informed us it was 6 degrees but with wind chill would feel like 2 & it certainly did. My thighs & bum were numb for much of the walk. Serves me right for not preparing properly. We checked the weather app whilst already on Kinder… My North Face trousers which are brilliant weren’t thick enough by far to keep me warm but on a positive this numb bum memory will push me to purchase those RAB fleece lined trousers I had been eyeing up at Go Outdoors last weekend with my Christmas voucher. Yay!

Cold cheeks & bracing against the wind with attitude

At the top it was super windy & cold (did I mention?) To distract myself I ran through my lines for a show I’m touring in next month. Rufino doesn’t feel the cold like me so other than his face he was fine.

On the way down Rufino did the most epic fall. It was so graceful & swan like. He somehow went up before going down. Incredible. Like in slow motion. I wish I could have captured it on film to show him how graceful he was. The downward journey went through steep muddy fields. There was evidence of previous falls or near falls from other hikers because of the mud slide marks on the grass.

When we got back to the car we were both muddy (particularly Rufino) & hadn’t brought a change of clothes or a bag to put the muddy boots in. Every time we say ‘Oh we must get an Ikea box & line it with a bin liner for muddy things & bring old towels to sit on. We forgot again. Next time!’ but we haven’t yet remembered. I think we’re always shocked by how muddy the trails can get.

Anyway this hike isn’t that tough, although steep in places, but felt tough for me as I wasn’t in the hiking mood & needed to push myself. I was glad I did, as I always am. We thoroughly enjoyed our homemade parsnip soup & plate of chips when we got home πŸ™‚