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Blog: A Weekend Of Ups And Downs

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On of the GRATE Rituals Of My Adult Life has always been The Peterborough Beer Festival. Almost every year I've gone and met up with Robin, Mileage and Guesty, three of my friends from school, and almost every year we've said "We really should meet up more often, not just at The Beer Festival."

A few years ago we actually managed to DO this, going on a pub crawl in... er... Peterborough where we all got SPECTACULARLY drunk and I ended up having a NIGHTMARE three hour journey home on TERRIFYING public transport, clinging on to the edge of SOBRIETY for DEAR LIFE. After that we spoke of doing something a bit more ambitious, and it was THUS that we met last Friday in Castleton, in the Derby Dales, for a whole WEEKEND of DELIGHT. I managed to SLAM my finger in Mileage's car door on the way there (which is a bit worrying for the Gavin Osborn gig tonight!) but otherwise everything was AMAZING!

As anyone currently living in Great Britain will tell you, we certainly picked the right weekend for it, as the weather was AMAZING. We didn't see much of it on Friday night (PUB) but on Saturday we rose bright-ish and early-ish to do a BIG WALK. We STRODE out of town, got slightly lost, found ourselves, got slightly lost AGANE, and eventually found ourselves at the start of the Great Ridge Walk, starting at Losehill and then marching all the way along to Mam Tor itself. It was SPECTACULAR - we had to keep stopping to GAZE in AWE at the landscape, and ended up sat for a good long while at the end, only partly because we were A Bit Tired.

Then we did a TERRIFYING DESCENT down the CLIFF FACE - it was VERY steep and VERY VERY WINDY and when we finally got to the bottom and looked up I did think that it might NOT have been the best way to do it. Still, we were all in one piece so had an ICE CREAM and then went down the Blue John mine. I'd been there aged 7 and it seemed EERILY SIMILAR - I guess ANCIENT CAVES don't change much, but the LOO looked like it hadn't been looked at since the Silver Jubilee too! The trip itself was FANTASTIC tho, and we emerged full of KNOWLEDGE, with THROBBING BRANES and ACHING LEGS.

The weekend involved a LOT of hills and THOUSANDS (NB REALLY) of STAIRS. Four chaps from the FENS should be APPLAUDED for managing it!

We walked back to town via some more CAVES (which we didn't go in) and LANDSCAPE, then went out in the evening to a) eat b) watch the football [which was APPALLING - i didn't think my expectations could GET any lower, but LO! they did!] c) watch the voting on Eurovision and d) BEER. It was ACE, tho I did feel a bit delicate next day.

Robin was flying back to Holland at 3pm, so to fill the time we went to MATLOCK BATCH, one of the most GORGEOUS parts of the entire country IF NOT PLANET, where the four of us tried to SCARE each other by saying "I'm sure we won't DIE" in the Cable Cars. Once again I discovered when I got to the other end that I had been TERRIFIED! We went all round The Heights Of Abraham, which I was surprised to find was LOVELEY. We had another ice cream, went down another cave, visited the GIFT SHOP and went up an observation tower... which turned out to not be as high up as a significant part of the ACTUAL HILL.

Towards the end of the trip I thought "Haven't I done well? All these hills and steps and I haven't falled over ONCE!" INEVITABLY I then tripped on some stairs and GASHED my knees. As with my CRUSHED finger, however, I was terribly brave. This was when we got ice creams, which really helped.

After descending by cable car once more we began our goodbyes - Guesty set off home, the rest of us went to drop Robin off, and Mileage then took me back to Peterborough - and I was soon on the train home, reflecting on what a BRILLIANT time we'd had. I was actually rather PROUD of us - we COULD have just sat around in the pub all day, but instead we went on a proper big trip and DID things, visited ATTRACTIONS, saw a lot of the COUNTRY and did Proper Stuff... and then went to the pub. And it was EASY - all it took was a will to DO something and a lack of need to put the DAMPENERS on stuff. We could all have this sort of ACTION FUN all the time!

Having said that, maybe not ALL the time - my legs are still bloody killing me, all these stairs and INCLINES are AGAINST NATURE!

posted 29/5/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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Ah! Hot peak district days in the pub - reminds me of the old AGMs!
posted 29/5/2012 by Francois

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