Back in the immediate aftermath of the New Year, Britain was gripped by a "big freeze", which equated to a number of inches of snow on the areas of the UK easily accessible by the media. Scotland, particularly in the Borders, had a number of feet of snow, but seemed strangely to be able to avoid the weird panic afflicting the rest of the UK. Constant exhortations to not travel unless really necessary seemed to be ignored by the diligent commuters of the South East.Against this backdrop, and with no need at all to travel since embracing unemployment, we decided to set out for a walk in the Peak District. Conditions to reach the starting point, on the Chatsworth estate, were a bit dicey but very manageable so we wrapped up and headed up a farm track, then across open land to a small ridge and grove of trees. A little further on, we joined the edge of the estate itself, crumping through a satisfyingly heavy fall of snow, in places untouched by other walkers. We reached the mid-point of our planned walk, the Shooting Lodge overlooking the Main House, and spent some time admiring the glorious views across the Derwent Valley. Rapidly fading mid-winter light meant an accelerated end to the walk, including a death defying scramble down iced up steps alongside a stream behind the house, crossing the Derwent and then concluding along the river banks, surrounded by the last of the tobogganers. It proved an excellent demonstration of how easy it is to get a small taste of the wilderness close to the big urban centres of the East Midlands, and showed how simple it is to stop appreciating being able to plunge into (the manicured edge of) a national park within an hour of home.
Worth noting that all the pictures are courtesy of David Cheeseman; rights reserved etc (see my Flickr stream for more info).