This weekend myself, Kate, and two friends, Sam and Charlotte, took on what my dad calls the Derbyshire Three Peaks – Win Hill, Lose Hill and Mam Tor. Due to our poor navigation skills on a previous training walk I asked my dad to step in to help guide us around the 16 mile route. When we first set out from the car park I’m convinced we must have looked like three students on an expedition with their DofE instructor. Before long we were handed the navigation reins, and having made our way through the quaint village of Hope we soon began on our upward journey.
We had chosen a practise walk that included various inclines, as this is the element of the event we are most nervous about – little did we know just how long the climb would last. Weaving up through fields and dodging some angry looking cows, we thought we had reached the top as it seemed to ease and become more flat. We soon realised the worst was yet to come as we faced a further gruelling 100m steep climb to reach the summit of our first peak, Win Hill. Here we felt on top of the world and very accomplished. Our spirits were high and the next two peaks we were hoping to conquer were now in sight.
It is here that we were given responsibility of my dad’s prized possession, his Garmin – a GPS device complete with pre-programmed route, making it pretty much impossible to get lost (in theory). Sam led the way back down the hill (why don’t they just build bridges between hills?) where it began to spit with rain. But in true British style, the sun had made an appearance as we came to climb the next peak, Lose Hill, causing us all to completely de-robe. In fact, at this point, I could barely see from the sweat dripping down into my eyes – Note to self: invest in a cool sweatband for the actual walk..? A passer-by reassured us that Lose Hill was tougher than Mam Tor and encouraged us to take the easier way up rather than the steeper tougher option. Taking his advice we continued on the “easier” route (god knows how bad the alternative was!!), but were still feeling positive that we’d reach the top. We finally summited Lose Hill and were 10km in. It was motivating in itself just to see how far we had come, not to mention the sights of where we would be heading next. The views from the top were amazing and worth the slog up.
Now, the easier option was to head along the ridge straight for Mam Tor, however myself and dad have Irish heritage so a pub pit-stop was always on the cards. Unfortunately they don’t build pubs on hills (new business venture?) so we dropped down into Edale to grab a quick pint and pub lunch. As it was Sunday there was a Carvery which made the boys very happy. As soon as we’d arrived the heavens opened and there were many wet dogs and their owners who poured into the pub 5 minutes after our arrival. Our legs were glad of the break and we got to use actual toilets which was ace! We put our waterproofs on and headed out into the wet wilderness once more! We had to re-trace our steps back from Edale, up onto the ridge that would take us to Mam Tor. This was a long, slow slog up, with us getting very wet, the paths very slippy and muddy and spirits definitely dipped. An afternoon nap would have been a better suiting activity after filling our stomachs with delicious food.
When we finally reached the ridge we were fooled once again, assuming that we’d done our day’s hard work. To our disappointment it was one continuous incline up to Mam Tor. At this stage we’d resorted to playing the categories game, which quickly came to a halt as we were all too out of breathe in our march up. It didn’t help boost our confidence seeing a guy run up the hill as we were struggling to walk up it! About an hour after we’d left the pub we had reached the top of Mam Tor. The rain had stopped and we felt super ecstatic that we’d made it to the final peak still feeling reasonably ok! From here it was just down and flat right? – easy.
We had only made it down to the first road when our navigation skills took a turn for the worse. The Garmin had lost the map causing us to loose time while we attempted to re-load it. After jumping over a wall to get away from some angry cows (yes, more) we were back on track. The last part of the route involved us walking down a runnel (we didn’t know what this was either, it’s a big ditch!) and towards the Blue John Caverns. From here we dropped down into Castleton, had a quick kit-kat and then made it back to the car at Hope.
It took us 8 hours, with an hour for lunch, to do 25km which is around 16 miles. So we just have to do half again for the real thing! By the end of it our legs and feet were tired but we feel much more confident to make it to the finish line on 24th June! I just felt sorry for whoever was sat next to Sam on his train back to Leeds…
Kate – IntoUniversity Nottingham East