“The sun also rises on those who fail to call.”

ScarboroughCliff pathCliffs and sea

{Four more images under the cut}

Monday, 29th August 2016 – I decided to make the most of the bank holiday and go on a little trip. I’d actually been planning a local walk, but one search led to another and when I stumbled upon a route along the North Yorkshire coast I knew I had to go there. I love the sea! And the weather looked like it was going to be ok. I was supposed to leave early and make a day of it, but I didn’t feel well when I woke up. I wasn’t planning on going, but in the end I got fed up with my moping and decided to just go and do whatever I could manage. By the time I’d made the decision it was already 11am.

I was going to Scarborough. I was going to walk along the coast in the direction of Finey, and see where I’d end up. Then pray that public transport would pull through and get me back to Scarborough so I could get the train home. There very little planning involved today. I wanted to be a little spontaneous, a little adventuress, and ok, maybe a little reckless too.

I got into Scarborough at around 1.30pm after a hideous, crowded and noisy train ride. There had been a kid sitting next to me who was whining the entire time, as well as kicking the seat, kicking me, and sprawling out across the dividing line of our seats. I don’t know which one of us was more relieved to reach Scarborough. I walked from the train station to the beach. Which was, of course, packed. Everyone, their entire family and their pets were out. Of course I wouldn’t be the only one wanting to go to the seaside on a beautiful bank holiday. Still. I was nervous now about how much I would enjoy this. The walk took me along the south sands and then there was a steep climb up into the cliffs. I…hadn’t been planning on going uphill. Another plus for this walk had been it seemed fairly flat. Thankfully once up on the cliffs it was fairly flat. I followed the edge of the cliff towards Clayton sands. It was hot as anything- I’d been prepared for a chilly but clear day, and was overheating in too thick leggings and double layered t shirt. It was a perfect day for a walk by the sea though. The sea was jewel blue, the sky bright and clear, the cliffs lush and green and the wildflowers were blooming. The walk got a little different once I was nearing Clayton sands as I had to go inland and then ended up in a forest for a small while. On a muddy, slippy path. Still, it soon opened up and there was Clayton sands. I stopped for an ice lolly and food. Then carried on. The walk so far had been reasonably quiet, but still there had been enough people out. As I drew away from Clayton sands there was no one. Just the sun, sea and me. It was perfect.

Soon there were holiday cottages to my right. And before I knew it I had made it the whole way to Finey. I hadn’t expected to last the whole way. I was going to give up at Clayton sands, but it had seemed such a shame to give up halfway, and actually checking bus and train timetables revealed I still had a ways to go before the last train. So I’d pushed on. And made it. I scrambled down from the cliffs onto Finey brigg. Then took off my boots and followed the beach back to civilisation. I had perhaps been overkeen to take my shoes off when I did as the way started extremely rocky and slippy. Thankfully I eventually reached soft, yellow sand. I ran into the sea and played a little in the surf, letting the water rush towards me and wash around my ankles. It was late (around 6pm) and the beach was blessedly quiet, and the light was low…it was so beautiful. I felt so happy. I wanted to stay, eat something, watch the sun set there as I played in the water, but…

Of course time was ticking so I reluctantly headed in land. I had ages to wait for the bus to Scarborough, then I had a wait for the train home. So I went to the south sands and got some cheap chips, ate them looking at the beach, all lit up by then.

Then I slogged home by train, exhausted, a little bored, sand in my shoes irritating me. But it was worth it. It was a lovely day, and it was good to get out, and I just love the sea so much and am happy I managed to get myself to it at least this once before the summer ends. Tomorrow, back to work and the usual routine. Which if I think about it now I am not looking forward to of course. But I spent a whole day not thinking of any of that, not even thinking about my anxiety , or even feeling anxious. It was wonderful.

Happy Dog

“This complicated, maze-like reality will soon be behind me and I will survive, yes I’m going forward”

The Tarn The TarnView of Ilkley

{Eight more pictures under the cut}

A miserable spring has suddenly switched to a bright, hot summer in the UK. I decided to venture out for a walk on Sunday – I figured that since I am now living in Yorkshire, I should make a start on exploring it. I decided to head to the Ilkley Moor, as I had heard it was very pretty and not too tough for a novice (and thus, someone so out of practice as I.)

I was a little nervous about a sudden turn in the weather (I mean, with the way things have been it’s not unreasonable to expect sudden snow) and nervous because it would be only my second solo walk. My first, I got lost, and I slipped and fell and gave myself a dodgy hip that still seizes up to this day. Thankfully, I would have GPS for this walk. I had planned out my route on the map. I packed my bag with items for sudden weather changes, lots of food, minor first aid items and change to buy something icy later. Then I set out.

I had one bus to take. I was not optimistic when this bus took fifty minutes to turn up. In the classic anxiety mind frame this was a sign, that something bad happening I’m always afraid of was going to come true.

I texted my sister. Be positive, she told me, with not, nor two or even three exclamation marks- but a good five. Stern and confident. OK, I said. It’s gorgeous out here. How’s that for positivity?

Honestly, the Yorkshire countryside, of the tiny amount I’ve seen, is really too pretty.

After a long and tedious bus ride I finally reached Ilkley. I meandered around seeking toilets. Found none. Faced the inevitable and started on my walk. Almost immediately I got lost. Nearly. I caught it quickly, thanks to the moving dot on my digital map, and got on the right path. My first milestone was The Tarn and I reached it easily enough after my initial slip. The route was mostly flat. The tarn did not look as big as it did on the map but the wild flowers and birds made up for its size. I settled down for a light lunch, not wanting to linger too long or eat everything at once, then set out again. The next part of the route was a steep, hot climb. The sun was strong and it had been a while since I’ve pushed my body in that way, my muscles burned with the sudden, unexpected activity. Behind me Ilkley was stretched out in its valley, more hills in the distance, and around me was sparse, dry moor interspersed with great rock formations. I climbed more. And more. Heart racing. Chest tight. I can’t do this I thought. I want to go back. I really want to pee. Then, a shining light. A small cafe- and toilets. I stopped off, checked my map then clambered on. The small rest had felt good but could do nothing in the face of months of inactivity. The path evened out and I could only feel relieved for a moment because then there was a big hill to climb ahead, jagged stone steps to heave myself up, to stop on, feeling awkward and in the way of everyone else who looked so relaxed…my racing heart may not have been purely the exertion, but also a certain anxiety, a keen self consciousness and embarrassment. I slogged on, and couldn’t help grin when I reached the top.

There’s a cheesy metaphor for life here, I thought. Once you are in the thick of it, it’s just as difficult to turn back as it is to go forward, and everything exciting and rewarding lies ahead, so you may as well brave it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and instead of thinking look how much more to go think look how far I’ve come. It’s such a great feeling to make it. So much better of the regret of never finding out what you could have had, what could have been if only…

I sat down to admire the views, snack more and send a panicky text to my sister. Then I carried on. I must not have been paying much attention, too relieved at reaching my destination, that I took the wrong turn and ended up walking more of the moor than I intended. I can’t complain- the moor was stunning, the sun bright and warm, a cool breeze blowing, birds singing and a grouse, there in the distance, making its own distinct chatter. I wandered on, enjoying the flat, springy ground, the fresh air, the peace. And I got back to my path. My walk had turned more figure of eight than circular, and I missed having someone else to read the map for me, but my little moving dot reassured me everything would be OK.

I felt a bit embarrassed for being glued to my phone whilst walking. What must others think. I know serious walkers do not like GPS (the look on this one guys face at my uni walking club when I suggested it) and I know we all judge others for being stuck to their phones. I needed my dot though, more than I needed to worry about their scrutiny.

I walked on, and for a while it was good, but then it got boggy and I stepped off the path briefly to avoid a particularly wet, quick sand looking section only to find myself slogging through waist high grass, dry and sharp, thick enough to hide the soft ground so I couldn’t tell with every step how I’d be landing. I had gotten myself got lost. I was going in vaguely the right direction but I was off the path and it was hard going, not to mention I was conscious of what I could be disturbing with my big, clumsy steps. I was fairly certain grouse nest in shorter grasses, but not certain enough. Even though there were no signs, it’s the respectful thing to do to stay on the path when the grouse are nesting. I wasn’t sure if they were nesting, but you can see how my panic was growing, can’t you? And it’s funny, there were so many people around until I needed them as a path marker, something to go to.

Thankfully I escaped the long grass to a flatter, less wild section of moor and could slog up that back to the path, following my dot faithfully. And of course it would be upwards back to the path. I was feeling grumpy and tired again. I sat down to munch and rest, then carried on, keeping hold of my phone in my hand, so the dot was right there. What did I do before the smartphone? Got lost. Wandered around, almost in tears from frustration and helplessness, and struggled. That’s why I love the smartphone. And envy those who can live without them. Now I have GPS, you won’t take it away from me.

I do hope that one day, I won’t have to be led around by my dot quite so much. I wonder what it’s like to have a sense of direction and if it can be fostered, or if I’m just doomed to a dot lead life. ;)

Safely back on the path my mood lightened again. I was still too tired, too unfit for the twists and turns of the day, but had new determination to make it to the end.

I did make it. Going downhill was, of course, awkward and rough on the ankles, but far less tiring. I found an ice cream van, bought an ice lolly, sat down on a bench and texted my sister -“I made it! Second solo walk, success!”

I felt so proud of myself. I felt effing elated. Adrenalin coursing through me, it felt like I could go back and run up that hill. Of course, I didn’t. I just went back to town and got the bus home.

I watched the scenery outside the window and thought about where to go next.

“The more you pretend to be strong, I see your weakness. The more you bare your fangs, I see your pain”

woodlandtree cut into a castlewoodlandold wall1426111990876

{Five more pictures under the cut}

I went home over the weekend. I seem to be going home a lot lately. I don’t know why. My excuse this time was it was my sister’s birthday, mother’s day and I had a dentist appointment which I couldn’t avoid because I’m on wisdom teeth watch right now. Also my father was home for once, which meant I could spend a bit of time with him. I went home on Friday and my father picked me up from the station. I spent the evening quietly talking to my parents, and then doing some work. The next day my father took myself, my sister and her boyfriend for a walk/climb up Shutlingsloe. This is a walk we’ve done as a family many, many times. In every weather but sunshine. It seemed like it would be a good day on Saturday so we were optimistic that for once we wouldn’t be battling the elements – well, my father was keen to tease me about ice and wind anyway but I was optimistic. We set off late in the afternoon. The walk started with a steep climb on a narrow country road, entering gloomy forest and carrying on steadily upwards. The path is lovely – the pines are thick and tall all around and the ground is coated in fallen pine needles – it’s complete fairytale woodland. The smell of fresh pine is delicious too. The walk isn’t too challenging either. At one point the walk opened up and the path turned to wooden boards and I just burst into a run, for no reason other than I could. I’m fatter now and not anaemic, and I can run if I want to. I can run and then hike up a steep woodland path right after. It felt pretty great. My heart was racing and I felt slightly out of breath, but I wasn’t in pain or feeling faint. It felt amazing to be this capable. I just grinned at my dad and said “I can run!” and I’m sure he thought I was a little crazy. Nevermind. Every time I think I hate my body I will try to remind myself of how great that feeling was.

The walk eventually opened up onto grassy fields, the woodland becoming sparser. The views were amazing from our height. I have recently discovered that I can take panoramas on my phone and I was like a child with a new toy on Saturday, stopping at every viewpoint to play with it. I think I got some good ones. I think my family was annoyed with me lagging behind to take them. I think it is fiddly and time consuming to get the photos to align in high winds, and it’s awkward when half way through your panorama people end up coming behind you and you end up looking as if you are trying to photograph them.

As we got higher and more exposed it became colder and windier. So far it had been a pleasant day and I had been regretting not wearing a t-shirt. Well, I had to layer up then. We eventually came to the bottom of Shutlingsloe. I was a little nervous – I don’t like the climb up Shutlingsloe. It’s steep and exposed. I have experienced hill walking in such high winds that you literally couldn’t stand up. I was very nervous. I started off OK but near the top I ended up standing still, too scared to carry on. My sister had to hold my hand and guide me the rest of the way. It was nice on top of Shutlingsloe though, as it always is, with pleasant views of the countryside. It was crazy windy though, which was pretty typical too and I don’t know why I expected it may be different. We tried to take pictures of ourselves by the white pillar- signifying the top -and I’m sure there was a lot of stray hairs and squinting. I’m glad to have photos though. I currently have a photo of my dad and myself on Shutlingsloe in my windowsill from several years ago. I’m too skinny, and my smile is forced. I think it would be interesting to compare the two. I want to see how I’ve changed.

Of course, once up we had to go down. This was also a bit nerve-wracking, and I had my dad hold my hand this time. By the time I got down though I was fine. I was feeling pretty energetic, up for running all the way back, all flailing limbs like Phoebe in that FRIENDS episode, but I paced myself properly and let myself enjoy strolling back. It was getting late, cold and a little gloomy. But it was still pleasant, and it was great going downwards. We took a different way back so we could visit our (my father and I’s) favourite view point – the second to last picture shows the view from up there. It’s always quiet and there are some nicely placed benches to sit for a while and just soak in the scenery and fresh air. Which we did. Then we got back to the car and went home. I made supper for everyone, then retreated to my room to chill out, too tired to work.

Nothing much happened on Sunday. Just spent it at home with my cat and my dad mostly, although in the evening I spent time with my sister and her boyfriend. A little awkward, but I tried to be nice and enjoy myself and not let anyone know that actually, I wasn’t feeling very comfortable with it. My sister is very grown up now. I am still struggling to adjust.

On Monday my dad drove me back to Uni after a morning dentist appointment, and this was awkward as my room hadn’t been cleaned and the medication my parents don’t know I’m on and the chocolate I’m not supposed to be eating were all on full display. I felt very embarrassed, awkward and yet I’m hopeful that I atleast managed to hide away all the medicine packets before my Dad saw. My dad sat with me and helped me with some work then dropped me off at uni for my Japanese. I wish I could have spent longer with him – perhaps gone out with a meal with him, like we used to. I missed my dad when he was away, as he has been for a great majority of this year, and I wanted to spend time with him. Japanese isn’t going so well either. I skipped last week’s lesson because I just couldn’t be bothered, and I could hardly concentrate on Monday. My heart is no longer in it. I’m just so tired at the moment, that it is hard to really care about anything.

Nonetheless I made Tuesday and Wednesday OK days too. I went back to work on Tuesday and everyone was so nice, they didn’t tell me off for my sudden time off at all and they were all interested in what I had been up to and congratulated me on my new job. I was thisclose to quitting and I’m glad I forced myself to go back. It has been a really good thing for me volunteering. Anyway, I managed to wake up today and attend my 9am lecture, and spent some time in the library doing work. So it’s not too bad. I’m still struggling, but I am making positive steps to improvement, I guess.

I want to go back home and laze about with my cat, to be honest, though.

“The weather is just like my heart. It’s cloudy then it’s clear, tears fall. Then I pretend I’m fine”


{Eight more pictures under the cut}

For Fathers day I met up with my dad to go walking. I’d actually suggested I come home for the weekend but he suggested we go walking on Sunday instead – he’d pick me up from a station somewhere between where I am, and he is. I was actually relieved by his decision versus disappointed. I wasn’t entirely comfortable going home, and it is expensive. Although I did want to, and still want to see my cat and I am not sure what to do about that.

Anyway, I went to bed late on Saturday so I wasn’t particularly pleased waking at 7am on Sunday. My bus was at 8:56am so I had quite a bit of time to get ready. This was a good thing- I was so sleepy and out of it that it took ages to get ready and in the end I rushed out of the house, pushing for time! I walked very quickly to the bus station and somehow managed to get there on time. The bus came and I sat at the back and listened to music. I’d updated my mp3 player on Saturday which was good, although I still could not quite settle. I got into the city centre earlier than anticipated, walked to the station, collected my tickets and then waited for the train. There had been a staff shortage on Sunday so I had been worried my train would be cancelled. I’d even phoned up the train provider to check it wasn’t, but I still could not help but worry. Thankfully my train was running, although it was busy. Well, I managed to get a seat anyway. The journey was long and boring. Even though I’d put new music on my player, I again found it hard to settle. I couldn’t quite relax, felt agitated and nervous for some reason, too aware of my surroundings, too aware of the time. I kept shifting position, kept looking around me, kept fidgeting with the volume of my music. It began to rain soon enough, which did not bode well for my day either.

I began to wonder why I had bothered to leave the house. That anxious, scared part of me wanted to retreat, wanted to go home and lock the door and forget it. To be alone.

I got into Sheffield around 10- something. I was surprised my dad wanted to meet me there, as its a long drive for him, and I was also curious about where he was taking me. He wasn’t there when I got down to the station entrance and I paced nervously around the station, still unable to wait patiently in one place. I was relieved when he phoned to say he was there. He picked me up and we set off for the peak district. Well, we tried. Sheffield is a large and confusing city, our sat nav took us here and there until my dad got frustrated, turned it off and decided to follow the road signs. In this way we finally managed to stop going in circles and escape the city. Turned out, my dad was taking me to around the Derwent Reservoir. I was a little nervous about this, as I’d been in that area with my walking club, but thankfully my dad decided to take me somewhere different. We arrived and managed to find parking – it was very busy. It had thankfully stopped raining by the time we got there. We set off, walking through the forest and past the Derwent Dam towers. Then through more forest around the Derwent reservoir before taking a path up off towards Little Howden Moor.

We walked along wide pathways in the forest, and eventually we got out to the moor, surrounded by lush green bracken, lots of sheep, and not many people any more. The path climbed up, stayed this way for a little bit, and then down. We stopped to have a bite to eat before carrying on, trudging up another sharp ascent but thankfully keeping this height. The lakeside pathway had been crowded, there had been a certain amount of people in the forest, but the valley we came to was very still and quiet. The bracken was thick, and we walked along a narrow pathway just wide enough to stand with both feet together that snaked along the hillside. Our path jutted out from the side of the hill, with the river of the valley on one side, and a steep, sharp drop down to it. We were a little exposed, the pathway was narrow, uneven and very muddy – and slippery – in parts. I began to feel a bit disoriented, worried that with just one wrong footing I’d tumble down to the river below. I don’t like such sheer, exposed heights. I had to stop often but my dad was patient with me, and allowed it. We walked through the valley, coming to a stop to have a bit more to eat at one of the high points where we could admire the view. Then we carried on walking, eventually climbing right out of the valley. We then walked back along the Derwent edge – passing both Dovestone Tor and the Wheel Stones. My dad insisted we climb the rocks at Dovestone Tor, which was little frightening. My upper body strength is not great so it was with considerable effort that I hefted myself up – although the views were great from up there. (In the photos, the white marker shows where we climbed up to.) The weather became a bit misty, a little damp now. I kept annoying my dad by fussing over whether it was, or was not, raining. I really did not want to get wet. The mist made pictures a little difficult too. However it was nice and cool – a cold breeze blowing to stop it from being too sticky, and the sun was covered so it wasn’t hot either. The path was a well maintained stone pathway along the top so it was pretty easy going for the most part. Although I had hurt my leg at some point earlier last week, and it had started to hurt sometime in the valley, and by the time we were on Derwent edge it had become noticeable enough that my father was asking why I was limping. “I’m not,” I mumbled, even though I really was.

We also saw lots of Grouse, and even baby grouse, which was quite nice – it became a bit of a game for me to peer closely at the bracken to see if they were there.

We descended down to pass through more bracken, then through fields of wildflowers, then back to the lakeside. We passed the submerged hamlet of Derwent along the way – which was a little creepy to think of. One picture showed the top of the church poking out of the reservoir. The walk back was pretty long, and a little dreary, it was drizzling proper, and the scenery did not change much. My leg was aching fiercely, the pain long spread from my upper thigh right down through me knee and my foot, although I was enduring as best as I could. It was a bit of a relief to get back to the car. “It’s nice just to sit, isn’t it,” my father remarked. This is why I like walking with my father compared to the hiking club – we can go slowly, stop often, and at the end I don’t have to feel embarassed about being tired out.

We drove back into Sheffield. In our mud splattered casual clothes we ended up at McDonalds for supper. I was ravenous so even that was enough. My father dropped my off at the station and the journey back managed to be even longer than the journey there – a train and two buses and I was just tired and sore.

It was a good day, although at first I was a bit tired, and not in the mood, eventually I eased into it, and began to enjoy it.

Somehow though I felt a bit nervous around my dad – which is crazy, but I am even overly concerned about what my own parents think of me. Whenever I say something, even to my dad, I wonder what he thinks. I wonder if he’s just patiently putting up with me. I can ramble on a little bit, especially around my parents, I wonder if my dad finds it tiring. I had a great day, but it was tinged with worry that he wasn’t. I started off the day tired, because I had not slept enough, but ended it a very different sort of tired.

“This is your heart, can you feel it?”

Ilam HallWalking towards Bunster Hill
Ontop of Bunster Hill with Thorpe Cloud in the distance
Walking in the direction of Thorpe Cloud

{Nine more pictures under the cut}

I went walking with my dad yesterday. He only phoned me up on Sunday evening to tell me about it. This meant that I had little time to prepare for a very early start. I’d barely slept at all Friday night, and Saturday night likewise, so I’d spent most of Sunday asleep. I felt like I had just fallen asleep by the time my alarm went off at 5:45am on Monday morning. It took me a moment to realise the sound I was hearing was my alarm – I was confused by it, I was confused by the time on my alarm clock. Really? Am I supposed to be awake now? But I dragged myself out of bed anyway, went to shower and get ready. Managed to be late leaving the house anyway, and had to rush to the bus stop. My bus was at 6:50am. By 6:40am I was 15 minutes walk away from the bus station. I ran, walked, ran again. 6:50am on the dot I was there, breathing heavily, feeling slightly feint from the exertion when I hadn’t eaten and hardly slept, but the bus was not. 6:55am, bus still not there. I phoned my dad, panicked. Just as I hung up on my dad the bus came, what a relief. I boarded and arrived into town soon enough. I’d been planning on breakfast at Subway, but it was closed, so I went to Sainsbury’s local, where there were no dairy free options so I was forced to break my diet – I bought pastries, and then I felt guilty so I bought some fruit too. I got to the station and sorted out my tickets then got on the train. Just over an hour later – sometime after 9am- I arrived at Stoke-on-Trent station. I’ve always, always passed through this station to other places, so it was quite weird getting off the train here. My dad met me in the car park and we drove to the Peak District. Today my dad had planned a route in the Dovedale Valley. I’d been around this area before with my walking society, but a different area, and on a day with far worse weather than yesterday.

We started out from Ilam Hall, walking towards Bunster hill. We ascended Bunster Hill, passing many lambs with their mothers watching us warily. In the distance a farmer was herding up his sheep, whilst his sheep dog sat on the back of his tractor and watched. All these sheep were making a right racket, but otherwise it was peaceful. The weather was clear and warm, I’d brought my fleece, hat and gloves and wrapped up in many layers, but soon I was down to my tshirt. The ascent was a long slog, as all ascents are, but as we got higher a nice cool breeze picked up which was very welcome. The views were also beautiful – with the fields, and Ilam in the distance. As we walked along Bunster hill the view opened up so we could also see Thorpe Cloud on the other side of the hill we were on and Dovedale valley with the River Dove nestled in between. The shapes of other walkers were everywhere – Thorpe Cloud and the path alongside the River Dove were teeming with walkers, all of which we could see from above. We sat down to eat a snack – more pastries – then carried on.

We’d been planning to go back on ourselves to take a certain route down to Dovedale valley, instead we carried on to the end of Bunster hill in the direction of Thorpe Cloud. Once there we were faced with a tricky descent down to the valley – it was steep, and the ground was dry with many loose stones. My father held my hand most of the way down, supporting me every time I stumbled, whereas when he stumbled I tensed and had a moment of panic because he would only pull me down if he fell. We picked our way down successfully and then joined the crowds walking along the river. At a certain point on the path you have to cross the river along a set of stepping stones before the path resumes – here is where our path, and the path from Thorpe Cloud meet. There were so many people that there was actually a queue to use the stepping stones. They should build two different stepping stones for the different directions of traffic, my father joked. and another smaller one for the dogs, I followed. Eventually it was our turn and I held my fathers hand in both of my own, as the way the water swirled around the rocks was disorientating and I didn’t want to fall in – the water looked clear but in reality it is possibly diseased due to the presence of the sheep. Once across we carried along the river basically – up to lovers leap and down, then following the river past Ilam rock and all the way to Milldale, and further on towards Wolfscote Dale. By the time we reached Fishpond Bank, just before Wolfscote Dale or within it I’m not certain, the crowds had died down – most had parked off at lovers leap, or Milldale. The Fishpond Bank valley was very quiet. A man in the distance, fishing. A couple lounging by the river bank. Otherwise just us. The green fields were scattered with bright wild flowers. It was less polished there than the path leading up to Milldale, too.

We hardly talked as we walked all this way, and I felt myself falling into a strange, but very welcome relaxed state, my mind unfocused, my thoughts meandering but never settling, not ruminating over bad things. We stopped to eat lunch at Fishpond Bank before we carried on our walk along the river. Eventually we realised we would have to turn back as it was already 2:00pm, even though we both were interested in carrying on and seeing how the scenery would change as we continued to follow the river.

We backtracked to Ilam rock – at which point we changed directions, crossing the river and then taking a steep ascent on another path to Ilam – the path we were actually going to descend on, originally. We took this ascent very slowly- as it was relentlessly steep, and we were both tired. I had to stop quite often, to catch my breath. I felt hot and very thirsty for some reason, my mouth dry. The surroundings were pretty though – forest and more wildflowers, bluebells in early bloom and others. We walked back to Bunster hill and then descended on the same path we had ascended – passing the sheep again. Out of nowhere one of the lambs started to follow me – trotting after me whilst making plaintive sounds. “Why is it doing this?” I cried to my dad, as I picked up the pace, trying to get away from this tiny little creature now running after me. Thankfully its mother picked up on what was going on and called it back. “You nearly took home something extra” my father remarked. Anyway, we made it back to Ilam, where I persuaded my father to buy us a cold snack – ice cream for him, an ice lolly for me. It was a welcome treat. The whole day had turned out to be perfectly clear and very sunny, with a cool breeze on the hills. A good day for walking, actually. I was glad that it had not rained in particular.

We then went back to the car and my dad drove me to Uttoxeter station this time, only to find we’d missed the train we’d wanted by one minute. “At least we didn’t pull up as the train was pulling away,” I said. We went to a local retail park to a store and had a look at the plants, then ate supper at KFC. “All I’ve eaten today is pastries and this, really,” I said, a little dismayed “I guess walking 12 miles makes up for it?” We went back to the station and I got on the train. I felt a little wistful to be leaving my dad behind – a part of me wanted to go home, strangely. Actually, I really wanted to see my cat.

It was cold by then, and I was thoroughly tired out. Once back, I got the bus, and then another bus because the 30 minute walk back from the bus station seemed too much, and then finally I was back at my house.

It was a nice day – I was glad to get away for a bit. There’s something refreshing about taking a long, long walk. I can also see why Dovedale is one of the most popular sites in the Peak District. The walk is very friendly for all walkers – with nice paths, nice resting stops, even a little shop and toilets at Milldale. But you have all the beautiful scenery of the peak district alongside it – the river, the forests scattered with wildflowers, the caves and interesting rock formations, the impressive hills with some challenging enough ascents for those wanting a bit more from their walk. Very pleasant.