Climbing / Hiking / Outdoors

When the going gets tough…

the tough go walking, climbing, biking and swimming in rivers

I'll be honest; things are a bit tough at the moment.  Work is keeping me busy (not least with an hour's commute each way) and Dave is settling in to a new job up at BBC North.  Working nights, weekends and bank holidays, I'm left to my own devices for entertainment.  So I've been spreading my wings and getting outdoors whenever possible!

Earlier this year I headed outdoors for a climb with Tom and Dan; after so long off the rock, and many months without a lead, I completely went to pieces trying to get off the ground on a somewhat polished gritstone classic.  I got going after a while, but it shook my confidence sufficiently for me to spend the rest of the day eating crisps, having designated myself 'official photographer'.  Circumstances have conspired to stop me getting out again of late but I'm determined to build on the learning I gained from starting to trad lead last summer.

Most of the climbing equipment isn't mine.  Oddly, the thermos, tupperware and water bottle are, though…

By contrast, circumstances have conspired to enable me to get out on a mountain bike more than once; circumstances often shaped by Kate!  Although I was somewhat tentative after my first foray into biking off road, I have tried to keep going and my confidence has grown as I've got to grips with knobbly tyres, bumpy tracks and brakes that actually work.  Our most recent ride corresponded with the International Women's Cycling Day, led by Cyclofemme.  It saw us join women in over 150 countries on a bike ride on a Sunday in May, and it was a slightly surreal feeling to know that we were connected with other female cyclists all over the globe.  Although we didn't sport the official 'tattoo' for the day, we did our best with limited resources (eyeliner pencil) and celebrated in style with baked goods at the end!

Homedrawn tattoos

Kate loving it!

The endless joy of baked goods

As winter finally disappeared, to be followed in short order by summer (nope, spring didn't get a look in), Rachel and I decided it was time to revisit a spot we'd picked out on a walk last year; a special river swimming spot in Youlgreave, in the White Peak area of the Peak District.  We had encountered this little gem on a warm day last year, when we'd looked longingly at the cool, calm waters (and worriedly at the Angus cattle grazing all around the pool).  On the Haddon estate, the River Bradford has been dammed and edged with stones to provide a safe, shallow area for bathing – much required when you're about as far as you can get from the sea.

Peace on the river

I decided to concoct a 'short stroll' to entertain us and warm us up ready for a dip in the chilly waters.  I never will learn – I only measured the distance later, only to find we'd walked something just short of 12 miles!  But the trudge around the limestone valleys and grassy moorlands was perfect preparation for a dip, and the water meant that there were no achy legs or feet the next day!  A little silty, perhaps, but perfectly acceptable and definitely an improvement on standing under the hosepipe, which was the alternative during the recent heatwave…

Enjoying the dip

Look, daddy, a funny lady is wearing wetsuit boots!

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