The hike to the campsite
After we got out of the train station, we hiked through sheep fields much like this one to get to our own sheep field where we set up camp.
This weekend we headed out of town early on Saturday with one of Mike's friends from law school in Toronto and her fiancé to the Peak District for some camping and hiking. It was a struggle to figure out where we should go (the Peak District is a big hiking region in the English "mountains," three hours north of London near Manchester), but our lovely Australian friends Jas and Stu had the great idea of going to Edale. We originally were going to rent a car to get there, but since there was a train station near the campsite, we opted to take the train instead. It was easier since none of us like to drive on the wrong (left) side!
The campsite was about a 20-minute walk from the train station, so we hiked in to the site with our full packs and set up camp. The campsite was really just a sheep-farming field near the train tracks, but there were basic washroom facilities and a tap for fresh water. Once we set up our camp, it started to rain... of course. Luckily, the rain didn't last too long, so after seeking shelter in Will and Fiona's tent while
eating some lunch and playing a bit of 'Taboo', we headed off for our first hike. Edale is in a long valley, and we had been told that we should check out the neighbouring town called Castleton. Castleton is in the next valley over, so we knew our hike would involve walking over the mountain. We followed the signposts through farmer’s fields until we came to a trail that took us over the mountain. From the top, we could see all of Edale and Castleton - it really was a great view. The mountain was really a long range that had a ridge at the top with a nice trail. We followed the ridge for a bit before heading down and making our way along an abandoned road (it had suffered a series of collapses because of unstable rock formations) into Castleton. We stopped a couple of times to check out some caves and old coalmines. All in all it took us a little under two hours to make it into a pub in Castleton, where we enjoyed some hot food and a few pints. We topped it off with an old English classic... sticky toffee pudding!
back was a bit more eventful due to some navigational issues. We decided to take a different route back, which ended up taking way, way longer. It also involved scaling the highest peak in the area, Mam Tor. We probably could have avoided it, but we were a bit lost, and knew that our camp was on the other side of Mam Tor. Instead of going around, we decided to go straight up and over. This is pretty easy in the UK because the mountains are just covered in peat... it wasn't as if we had to bushwhack. Elysia especially liked this type of hiking because she was pretty sure there were no snakes, and the only animals out there were sheep.
It is kind of neat to do this sort of hiking because you have the freedom to choose your own path completely. There are guideposts and marked routes, but nothing stops you from going anywhere you want... just close the gate on the way through the fence!
The view from the top of Mam Tor was quite stunning, especially because there was a bit of a storm rolling in and it had started to snow. To
top it all off, the sun was setting (which put a little bit of urgency into our getting back to camp)!
From Mam Tor we could literally see our tents (although there was a bit of an argument as to which tents ours were!), so we made good time getting back to camp. To finish the evening off we cooked up some hot food and headed off to bed. (No campfires allowed in this type of camping!) The night was cold, but it didn't rain too hard. Tomorrow we would do some more hiking and exploring on the other side of the valley!
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