Life’s a pitch and then you drive: Hope Valley

Quit your moaning and look for a positive

It was great to be back in Castleton in Hope Valley, a place we visited a few times from Nottingham when we lived there. It’s an all year round tourism honeypot due to its dramatic geology and landscape; it’s home to several caves and mines that contain the semi-precious Blue John stone found only in this area. And it has several warm and homely pubs that serve lovely beer and food and are welcoming to ‘muddy boots and dogs’ (I love pubs that display that sign as I know we are guaranteed to find like-minded people – and four legged-friends – inside). And the boots certainly were muddy this week after another period of prolonged rain and winds (we experienced our second storm of the Winter, this time it was Desmond).

But we can’t complain – in fact we try and never complain because we think life is too short and no matter how crap things may seem, you can be sure that:

  • out of every negative you will be able to find a positive (if you look hard enough)
  • complaining doesn’t do any good (it changes nothing except perhaps making you feel miserable)
  • there will always be someone worse off, so quit your moaning

And, boy, there certainly were some people worse off than us; not far ‘up the road’ in North Yorkshire and Cumbria. Poor souls that were flooded out and livestock stranded on tiny islands in flooded fields. So, a bit fed up of the torrential rain we were, but not in any position to complain. So we didn’t. In fact, we tried to look for the positives from the situation… the answer: some exciting adventures to be had out on the hills bike trails in this stunning area.

Amy Clough climb
This Girl Did final

Sometimes a familiar location or setting can take on a whole new persona when the weather is wild. A hill walk, cycle ride or (if you are brave enough) wild camp, become even wilder and more challenging when you’ve got the weather to overcome. When people retreat indoors and in front of the fire/tv, they are missing out on an opportunity to get some outdoor therapy and denying themselves of the feeling of satisfaction that an outdoor adventure offers. Instead of hibernating from the inclement weather, we took it on and:

  • went on family cycle rides in the rain
  • walked to a summit and laughed in the face of the buffeting wind
  • took our bikes to a summit and enjoyed a muddy ridge ride under dramatic skies
  • cycled to the bottom of a ‘clough’ and scrambled up the stream to the top of the waterfall (then trail ran back)
  • took the power kite at dusk in search of some exciting kite flying

Amy running
HUg a cairn
Ella kite

As it turned out, the conditions led to some really enjoyable adventures in the outdoors – ones we would’t have actually enjoyed in the same way if the weather had been less dramatic. OK, we’d had some bike punctures to fix, some falls, some grazes and bruises, and wind-slapped faces. But we’d also felt like we’d lived. And this made us feel happy. In short, we’d looked for positives, sought adventure and pushed ourselves.

We’d originally headed to Castleton to enjoy the landscapes and have some outdoor adventures, and we were determined that the weather wouldn’t dampen our plans or our spirits.

And we succeeded.