Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Walking Inspirations

I love going walking. When I was little our holidays often consisted of walks, (probably because it was cheap), I remember following countless coastal paths, marvelling at the craggy cliffs, sparkling sea and beautiful beaches below. We hiked up mountains too, Delicious Fudge kept me and my sister going as we headed up Ben Nevis when I was 9 and she was 7. The views were fantastic, and when we reached the top the cloud was so close above us it seemed as if we could jump and touch it. I've climbed Ben Nevis twice since, once only to the lake about 2/3rds of the way up, as the top was under about 12ft of snow from other hikers reports. The third time we made it to the top, which was in the clouds from just above the lake, so the fantastic views of my first expedition were limited to approx 12ft, smothered by the clouds.

The second two times were both with friends from Sheffield University Walking Club (SUWC). I joined in my second year and before long was walking in the nearby Peak District nearly every weekend. After a year of going on walks I decided to become a leader, planning my own and co-leading with friends. I quickly became a first aider, and the Publicity Officer on the committee, at the same time as I met Chris, my boyfriend of just over 5 years.

My weekends were filled of walks, come rain or shine, but as we got older we started walking less with the club and more as a couple, or with friends. Time changes, work and housework get in the way, people move away, and suddenly you realise it's been not only weeks, but months since going wondering the Peak District. This was the case until Sunday.

One of our friends and my ex-housemate, Pete V was visiting from Edinburgh for the weekend, so we decided to brave the rain forecast (after all, we've all worked in plenty of bad weather) and headed out to the Peaks.

Our route began at Ladybower Reservoir, and along the bank of the reservoir to cross the damn before trekking up Win Hill the 'scenic route' (longer but less steep) only to take a shortcut off the path and directly to the top. Win Hill is one of those hills that starts off fine, but has a smaller, steeper mound on the top. It was worth the puffing and panting and sweat though, as there are spectacular hills from the top over Ladybower and towards Derwent edge and Kinder Scout, (the highest peak) and across Hope Valley.

After a bite to eat we headed downwards, along to Hope Cross and the dubiously termed 'Seat of Youth'. originally a village, it has mostly now fallen down, crumbled away and been reclaimed by the woods, but someone used several old stones to make a chair. We have often used it as a lunch stop, and this was no exception, before continuing our walk along Ladybower reservoir, and finally up to the double peaks of Crook Hill.

Crook Hill is not the most exciting of Peaks, it's not particularly high, it's essentially a field with two rocky tips poking out. But it was here that inspiration struck.

I was puffing along when to my right there was a beautiful view of Win Hill. The clouds were dark and grey and brooding, but from somewhere light struck the peak, brightening it to an almost luminous olive green. This created a stark contrast with the trees silhouetted below, and I thought 'that would make a lovely cross stitch'. Unfortunately, my lanky other half was making good use of his long legs, and had run off with the Camera so I couldn't take a photo. As we climber higher the view lost some of the effect, but still looked beautiful. Luckily Chris did take a photo, so you can still get the benefit of the view.

I did, however, complain to Pete M about Chris running off with the camera at such a beautiful view, that looked very cross-stitchable. This led to a conversation about creating more Peak District cross stitches, and I certainly have enough photo's to do so.

In fact, converting a photo to cross stitch is something I've thought about doing for ages, but I've always been a bit scared to tell the truth. What if the colours blend in too much so you can't see the 'layers' of hills, what if its too detailed and doesn't come out on a cross stitch very well, what if it's not detailed enough and doesn't look like anything much? There are countless reasons and excuses, but really, I've just been a bit scared of starting such a project. On Sunday, I decided that it was time to stop all that, and to give it a go. What's the worse that can happen anyway?

I'd best get busy choosing a photo!