Friday, September 07, 2007

Walking in the Peaks

We had 50% success with our walks in the Peak District.

The first walk was a twenty minute drive from Bakewell through beautiful and isolated countryside. Both of us would sorely like to move to the middle of nowhere and be surrounded by lots of green and very few people, but the trouble is that niggly thing of employment.

Ahem. Back to the walk.

Walk number one was to Thor's Cave.

"Thor's Cave is the most spectacular sight of the Manifold valley, dominating the central section of the valley. The rock in which it is set rears up out of the hillside like a giant fang with the cave entrance forming a hole in it ten metres in diameter, a sight which is clearly visible for several miles.

Excavations have shown that the cave was occupied as long as 10,000 years ago and this occupation probably continued until Roman or Saxon times, making it one of the oldest sites of human activity in the Peak. Stone tools and the remains of a range now extinct animals were found within the cave."

(above info from here.)

Thor's Cave is definitely a destination worth striving for, and strive we did. It took us an hour longer than the three hour estimate because we tried to improvise a shorter route the cave and failed. But we met a new friend along the way.

The second walk was the unsuccessful 50%. We didn't want to do a whole second walk as the first one tuckered us out, but we thought that we could begin the second one Neil had planned, find a nice spot to sit and read, and laze away the last few hours before we left the Peak District. However…

The path was often indiscernible, overgrown with weeds up to my elbows at some points. And the first half mile of it was by a quarry, lined with the above signs.

If you are American, you may not have heard of stinging nettle. Stinging nettle is the British version of poison ivy, and I was wearing Capri pants. Not only did I have to fight back the thorns, I also had to avoid this innocent-looking, heart-shaped, and unfortunately ankle-height plant.

We kept waiting for the fabulous vista or the bubbling stream to sit by. But by the time we realized that such a place was not on this map, we were too far in to turn back. And neither of us wanted to wade through the nettles again. So, there was no option but to finish the whole three hour walk.

The very last stretch was the worst with a narrow, muddy path through a nettle field. About twenty steps away from the clear break in the trees, I slipped and fell onto my backside right into a patch of nettles, which stung me even though my shirt. A true taste of the British countryside.

Then, to finish off the trek, as we left the forest of nettles, we passed a sign that read something like: this is a difficult path that we don't recommend you use.

And I wouldn't recommend it either.

The next post will be the chainsaw carving – with video!


yamster said...

Yay, you're back! But oh my, quicksand and stinging nettles... I await the chainsaw carving with bated breath.

Jack said...

Ooooo... the nettle stings look bad... It must be torture not to scratch them :-( Hope the trek was worth it!!!