Easy Road/Hard Road – Which Would You Choose?
“Anywhere, but Wales”, I replied when asked where we should take our next vacation. Don’t get me wrong, my Dad is from North Wales and many a holiday (or vacations) were spent there also. It’s a beautiful place, with great mountainous views and a variety of outdoor activities that can be found in many towns all over Wales. But, a change was well overdue for my partner and I. This ‘well-needed’ time off work and from reality in general, had been booked for months in advance, and we wanted it to be special.
After hours of surfing ‘the net’ we found a campsite in the Peak District called Dale Farm, situated in Bakewell, (land of the original Bakewell Pudding), I know! So exciting!
We thought we’d try out this glamping thing everyone’s talking about, after noticing that Dale Farm had some impressive looking bell tents on site for a very reasonable price. The inclusions were not to be snuffed at either: fire-pitt; wood; tea-lights; wood burning stove; bed, and not to mention a little sheep named Dotty (that doesn’t know she’s a sheep), roams the campsite and welcomes visitors! Too cute! To say we were excited was an understatement. This is gonna’ be awesome! I thought.
aND IT ALL come a’TUMBLING DOWN
The evening before we were suppposed to be off on our adventure to Bakewell, we had prepared all the usual kit you need for ‘glamping’ including food and even a playlist we called: Bakewell Adventure. We went to bed like happy bunnies and dreamt of all the good times to come. Well, so we thought.
Early that morning, Rob, my partner, decided to check his emails. Then I heard a disheartening, “ohhhh, no!” The campsite had emailed us to inform that there had been damage overnight to the bell-tent we were going to stay in, therefore it had to be cancelled. My stomach sank, I was so upset; but I said, “it’ll all be okay, we’ll call them and surely something can be arranged for us.”
I tried to stay positive although deep down I thought our adventure had been ruined. In the end, Dale farm could only offer us another date to stay there, but of course this wasn’t an option, as it was hard enough getting this week booked off work.
Anyway, we managed to find another place to stay last minute. It wasn’t in Bakewell, but it was only a 20 minute drive away. We still managed to grab a bell-tent too; this time in Buxton, (land of water and lovely pale ales) which offered similar inclusions and the campsite was absolutely adorable, located in the woods with everything you need for a pleasant and peaceful break away. Not forgetting all the gorgeous bunting and fairy-lights draped along the tent, and there’s a little farm nextdoor…. fabulous! We were so lucky! The place was called Staden Grange.
Long story short, we arrived at the campsite, unloaded and enjoyed our surroundings for a while before deciding to take a walk into Buxton. We walked for about half an hour before finding a pub called The Blazing Rag; it was a very ‘local pub’ with friendly people working it and the beer was good, but the area wasn’t very ‘tourist’esc’, so to speak. One pint later we decided to head back to the bell-tent.
Trail of terror
Rob thought it would be fun to take a more rural route back. I refused. “No way! Iam notwalking into that jungle all the way back, no!”He turns left into the rural path and says”come on, stop whining!” So, I reluctantly humoured and followed him into a path leading to a field that you couldn’t see the back of. Tall grass, narrow paths, and lots of winding trees surrounded us; nature is mystical and sometimes quite scary; your imagination runs wild with all the dark, hidden spaces and wonders of the unseen… Just me?
I noticed high up a hill, in the distance what appeared to be a row of slender men, all dressed in white trousers, walking eerily in sync accross the hillside. Silently, I stood still, staring; pointing. Rob hurried me along, and I said in a shakey voice, “no, look! Who are they? Why are they doing that?” For a second, he looked just as scared as me, but then he squinted for a better look, and reassured me that they were just cows; run of mill, black and white cows. I was wearing my glasses, (which I often forget to wear), so it must have been the pint of beer that stirred my imagination, who knows?
Panic over right? Ohhh no; this is just the beginning! As we walked on a little further I come to realise that we will be walking on that same hillside, with the slender man cows and NO fencing will be between us… oh dear. “I can’t do it!” I cried. “yes you can, don’t be rediculous”, Rob replied. I started to feel a little brave, and then I see it. Directly in our path; A very big, a very scary, a very close…. Bull! It had horns and everything and was glaring at us like we were trespassing on his territory!
Please ground, swallow me! I thought, but I was quickly reassured that this is a public walkway, therefore it had to be safe. “Okay, okay, just don’t look at it, let’s just walk swiftly past and get out of its way.” By the way; Rob both looked at the Bull and talked to it as we passed. Not funny!
Walking on, we find some pretty photo opportunities, a lovely big bridge, and the path itself was beautiful; especially if you don’t mind being in the midst of large animals. “we’re nearly there!” Rob shouts; to my relief. Then we approach a large metal gate. My initial thoughts were, what’s behind this gate? What scary animals are lurking around here? Is this a private farm? Will we get shot? Eeeeek! Then I remembered, it’s a public walkway; all is safe and well in our world, I repeated near 50 times in my head.
My Worst Fear… nearly
BARK! As I push the large and annoyingly noisy gate open, a big ginger dog runs out about 30 feet from us. It’s okay, It’s on a lead; but it is still in our path! This dog looked like a Chow or something it was quite fluffy and big. Rob walked in first and as he walked towards the dog and attempted to stroke it, the dog jumped, suddenly. It didn’t bark, but how can you predict how a dog’s going to react? You can’t; simple! Silent but deadly sprung to mind.
I was shaking in my boots (pink running shoes); I’m next to walk passed this unpredictable creature. But, I had two choices: Either walk passed the dog or walk back for 25 minutes and cross the bull and scary man cows again. Squeeeeeek, went the gate.
Yes, I am alive and well; in-case you were worried. I have no idea what the dog did as I walked, (ran like a mad man), past the dog; I really wish I had more to tell, but I had my hands over my eyes while baby crying towards Rob in the safe area.
Finally,our destination is in sight. We crossed some chickens but they were fine. I have no phobias of chickens. Balloons, spiders and even holes; but not chickens. (I used to like the series’ American Horror Story, but the latest one, Cult; is all about everything I can’t stand. Don’t watch it. I’m almost certain you will, now).
So, we got back to the tent after this crazy ‘walk to the pub’, and had a lovely time roasting marshmallows by a fire, with little tree stumps to sit on, and enjoyed a glass of prosecco, or two, and belly laughed about our mini adventure. The next day we explored Bakewell (I drove there, duh); it’s the most gorgeous and interesting town ever; We are already planning to go back again. So much to do! One amazing example is this really cool museum: Old House Museum
Although, I hate being taken out of my comfort zone, I am ALWAYS happy I was. When it’s over, of course. It creates fond and hilarious memories, and my fears and anxieties seem to melt away more and more each time. I am glad we took the hard road. If we took the easy road then we wouldn’t have experienced what we did, and learned from it. If we took the easy road, then all I could have told you about is that we walked down a paved road with passing cars, and that we held hands. Nice, yet dull.
If you think about it, most times the easy road, in life, will lead to normality; no change; it’s just safe. Most times, the hard road in life, though scary and uncertain, leads to success; in learning, growing, understanding and self belief! You wont know unless you go! X