Peak fitness

Back in the day (and I mean way back) I used to really enjoy the odd day traipsing about in the hills with friends. I ended up lugging my (then) skinny frame around the Brecon Beacons during my RAF Trade Training and I’ve been known to visit Snowdonia and The Lake District from time to time. I’ve been up the tallest mountains in England and Wales and I’ve gone for a run around one of the smaller lakes near Ambleside.

This was all in my youth, a period of my life that seems to be becoming more distant in my memory. It’s not that I’m ancient or anything but I’m approaching 40 and the stuff I used to do in my early twenties almost seems like it was done by someone else.

However, apart from some dodgy knees and a lazy disposition I’m actually in rather good health, so I was pleased when the Nottingham Flickr Group decided to organise a visit to the Derbyshire Peaks to see if we couldn’t climb some large hills and take some nice photos. Five of us turned out in the end and we set out from Edale in some half-decent British weather.

I say “half-decent” in that it wasn’t raining. This is always a good thing when walking in the Peaks but the overcast conditions didn’t really offer wonderful photographic lighting. Still, we were hear primarily for the walk (honest!) and at least we weren’t either getting drenched or boiled to death in an unlikely sunny day.

Derbyshire rocks I took my Canon 400D with me but I was intending to take as many “Through the viewfinder” shots of the day as I could. This technique involves me taking a second camera (an ancient Kodak Duaflex in my case) and taking a photo of the viewfinder of that camera with my dSLR. It sounds a bit odd, and it is. It looks odd too as I’ve attached an old Pringles tube to the Duaflex to cut out any light impacting on my photography. I got some very strange looks from people wondering why I was peering constantly into a tube of Pringles!

Notwithstanding my comedy photographic equipment we managed to stop taking photos long enough to wend our way up towards Grinsbrook Cough – a monster climb up a rocky slope. I’ve been up worse than this before (Scafell Pike I’m thinking of you) but my 39 year-old knees aren’t weren’t so pleased to be subjected to this sort of abuse. Still, considering my recent injury problems my knees managed OK on our way up to the top where we stopped for lunch and admire the absolutely spectacular views back down the valley.

Long way down This place is amazing. It’s not as rugged or as high as The Lakes or much of the Scottish Highlands but these Derbyshire Peaks are just bloody lovely. There was a bit too much cloud about and visibility could have been much better it felt great to have made the effort to lug ourselves up here and drink it all in. Our sandwiches certainly tasted better as a result.

After a short break we headed over the peaty hills. We visited a few more peaks (although I’m buggered if I know what they’re called!) before stopping for a well-deserved ice-cream at a farm not far from the finish. We were getting tired by now – none of us are getting any younger – and we were certainly ready for our pints at The Rambler in Edale when we arrived at the finish.

It was a really fun day with some great company. Special props to Dave for organising it and to Austen for the advanced driving tips in his car on the way there. Cheers fellas!

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