It was still dark when a group of walk leaders departed Cambridge for the Peak District. We arrived in Edale ahead of the freshers, who were traveling by coach, and convened in a nearby café. Just as Bronwen F sat down with her tea and scone, Patrick T appeared to summon us to the car park; the coach had arrived. Susannah P and I obeyed, leaving the others to finish their elevenses.
At the car park we encountered new recruits Paolo B and Mario D. I mentioned something about the café to Susannah, and Mario’s ears pricked up. Now we had to explain to an Italian that we didn’t have time to go to the café. Fortunately, Mario was understanding. Talk of a pub at the end of the walk may have helped.
Patrick T had everything organised to a T, having paired up old hands to lead seven separate walks of varying distances prior to the day. Mary M and Cameron R would lead a walk involving scrambling. Several pairs - Patrick T and Ella J, Bianca O and Peter B, Elliot B and Susannah P - would lead walks of a sensible distance going at a civilised pace. The remaining ones - Marci G and Yaron B, Andrew W and Sarah Mi, Bronwen F and Oliver N – were to take longer routes more hurriedly.
Once freshers had chosen walks, it was time to venture forth. Conditions were ideal and spirits were high. On reaching the first viewpoint, groups paused to admire the valley below, grateful to be seeing it on so beautiful an October morning.
Further along, my group encountered a sheep lying on the hillside looking outwards across the land, which was bathed in a dramatic light. Bronwen suggested that it was posing for an Instagram photo; I christened it ‘Insta-lamb’.
The weather shifted. Fantastic sunshine made way for drizzle; drizzle made way for rain. We donned our waterproofs and stopped for lunch in the shelter of a rock. Later on having resumed our walk, we encountered some navigational difficulties and decided that we ought to cut our 18.6km route short to ensure that we arrived at the pub on time. Naturally, this was not a defeat, but rather evidence that our group possessed qualities including prudence, adaptability and good sense.
On regaining civilisation, groups reunited in the Royal Hotel in Hayfield for drinks. At last, Mario could have his coffee!
Before long it was time to return home. I joined Simon W's car. Shortly after leaving a service station, Simon realised that we were running low on petrol (we hadn’t refuelled). There followed a tense half hour in which Sarah Mi issued directions for the nearest petrol station from her phone while Transport Secretary Andrew W and I sat in silence, praying that we would make it that far. At 9.50pm we reached a petrol station that was still open – just! We had made it with ten minutes to spare, and goodness knows how little petrol.
We arrived back in Cambridge an hour later, weary from our (mis)adventures, but also content for the day’s exertions. It is hoped that the trip will have given freshers a taste of the beautiful places we go to, as well as examples of the weather we encounter (all kinds) and the mishaps we get through and laugh about afterwards. A warm welcome to all newcomers who will continue with us undaunted, and especially those who have already signed up for the next trip!
Trip List: Mary M, Peter M, Danny V, Oliver N, Sarah Mi, Bronwen F, Patrick T, Cameron R, Marci G, Yaron B, Elliot B, Andrew W, Bianca O, Ella J, Susannah P, Svenja M, Lindsay M, Hansini, Alex B, Mario D, Paolo B, Samuel C, Thomas A, Chris Y, Carla P, Sarah G, Lorena G, Ej K, Qistina H, Marja H, Jeff F, Annabel M, Benjamin T, Sara D, Jo H, Irene N, Pauline C, Brian Graves, Anna B, Urte B, Emma M, Tareq O, Jane O, Vassilis G, Una X, Kassel G, Shirley L, Alix R, Cayson C, Helena E, Lena C, Eric W, Nadya P, Lin S, Alexis M, Tomas D, Таня Б, Millie K, Salma A, Sarah S, David L, Cecilia D, Calvin C, Duzhiyun Z, Simon W