Story and pics contributed by Pete.
I have just returned from another four-day epic trip organised by Angela, staying in the snowy surrounds of Great Hucklow, not too far from Bakewell in the heart of the Peak District.
It’s been an incredibly active weekend, full of the usual IOG snowy shenanigans – we’ve had falls, bumps and bruises, late nights, heated discussions over board games and been asked to keep the noise down too often for people of our expected maturity level! Many thanks to Angela for organising, and all who organised walks – Sarah & Simon, Ian, Alan and Torben, plus anyone else I’ve neglected to mention. Extra plaudits to the heroes who offered to drive the rest of us up north, and the incredibly well-organised and patient staff at The Nightingale Centre, which was our home for the duration of the weekend. Finally, John organised a cracking charity quiz on the Saturday evening which went down very well – not only with us, but the other group who were staying at the centre that jumped in as well.
I drove up with Torben and a pair of tortoises, ready to collect Alan in Edale. The first mistake – I was not really with it, when I blearily got in the car at 06:00. I wasn’t really sure that time existed before then. Many things were left behind that I rued later, including the sit mat I was given for Christmas that would have been very much appreciated on the cold, wet ground in the Peak District at this time of year! We met up with Alan at Edale, who guided us around a very pleasant walk up on to the ridge of just under 10 miles, before finally heading back down to the hostel just before it snowed.
We made it over to the centre after dark, and were the last to sign-in – pretty much everyone else had arrived in good time and decamped to the very nearby pub. A sensible choice!
After settling in, the next day was spent roaming the area to the south – staying down below to avoid the mist that would have ruined the views of climbing anyway, passing by my namesake rock and at one point, standing around watching a man being dragged down a hill by a sheep dog (others were there to help, so we were fine with laughing at someone else’s misfortune!). It all ended in smiles.
My third day of hiking, An Arduous Abney Amble (apologies to Glen for pinching his alliterative title style), was gainfully led by Sarah with a bit of helpful pointing from Simon. Any hopes I had of today being an easier time were swiftly dispelled, as we clambered up hill and down dale. The snow had melted into the muddy paths and made them even more slippery! I was very glad I had brought along my trusty pole, and lost count of the number of members on the walk I ended up catching and pushing back up who hadn’t quite had the same forethought. I will neglect to mention names, even of the ones who should know better. haha.
We said our goodbyes on day four, and most sensible people headed home to get back at a reasonable time. I am many things, but sensible is not one of them so I joined the hardy crew to follow Alan’s nice circular loop starting from Castleton YHA around some of the remaining peaks, including my trusty old friend Mam Tor. This was a pleasant way to finish the weekend off, and tire everyone out for the long drive home.
And on a slightly gentler note…
Story and pics from Angela
Twenty-six IOG members took part in this residential event – and for some it was their first experience of an IOG trip. The Nightingale Centre in Great Hucklow provided a warm and welcoming venue for the group, conveniently situated for walks from the door, an important factor on Saturday when the roads were still icy from the previous evening’s snow, and with the village pub situated next door. The Centre is well located within easy reach of Bakewell, Buxton and Monsal Head, with numerous options for walks close by and we were well looked after during our stay.
On Saturday a group of 18 of us, led by Simon, walked across the fields to the “Plague village” of Eyam where we learnt about the horrific events of 1666 which have made this area famous (the tailor who imported flea infested cloth from London; the star crossed lovers unable to meet; basic provisions left by neighbours in return for money disinfected in vinegar, and the woman who buried her husband on the hillside alongside her five children).
Leaving the village behind we climbed steadily upwards visiting key sites on the way including Riley Graves before a descent for a welcome pub stop to warm ourselves up before the return on foot to Great Hucklow.
On our final day several brave people who had remembered to pack their swimming gear made an early morning trip to nearby Hathersage Lido for a dip before breakfast.
Despite the cold temperatures and misty conditions we all made the most of an enjoyable three days away with good company in a beautiful part of the UK.
And, once again, some humorous lines from Glen to celebrate the event and thank the organiser.
Great Hucklow Gratitude
It’s clearly been a popular trip that those who missed it will rue
It must also have been an important one as our Chairman came too
While most of us were still in bed, sleeping like a log
There were some hardy chappies who went off for a jog
Far too strenuous for most,too much of a slog
In yesterday’s mist, all those sheep, couldn’t see ’em
As a few of us strode out and shuffled to Eyam
Sliding down slopes, so tricky with mud
One fell to earth with a dignified thud
But positive walkplans, no time to be vague
And heartrending stories, all caused by the Plague
While on the way, some people went a little off-piste
Others later went to the Queen Anne
And came back very happy!
Excited chat during dinner, some animated yelpings
Plus the same usual suspects having ample second helpings
A thoughtful menu to satisfy vegetarians
And everyone else, including unitarians
On to the evening and people relax
Whether it’s cards, jenga or puzzles, just chill to the max
Good friendly people with outwardly respectable facades
That all goes downhill quickly when they’re playing charades
Those of us who saw it mainly felt pity
At Ian’s unforgettable rendition of Sex in the City!
Thanks to all the walk leaders taking charge of their groups
For interesting strolls comprising scenic loops
Thanks too to John who did the biz
With a thoughtful and entertaining quiz
That everyone’s enjoyed it is not hard to tell
So let’s hear it for our organiser
Thanks so much, Angela Bell.