The Peak

The feeling of asking yourself the question ‘do I have everything I will need?’ before going off on an adventure or a trip is a question filled with pure excitement, never knowing what the road or your adventures will hold only knowing you want to find out as soon as possible. The next feeling is of course ‘ah to hell with it if I need it I’ll buy it or make do’ is another beautiful thought when you feel that the adventure won’t wait any longer and now nothing will stop you from hitting that road.

As I write this I sit in my living room in the early hours, 2:30am exactly to be exact, smoking a cigarette and drinking a coffee to wash the few hours’ sleep I’ve had out of my system and get ready for, unbeknownst to me at this time one of the longest days of my life, I won’t sleep again until I have climbed to the highest peak known to man in this particular district and travelled 6 hours on the sweet, dark, gloomy and sad road of the world, all of this and only then I will be able to sleep and all this travelling along this country and then up to the sky of it with a best friend of the highest degree, a man who if you knew him a simple name would do to describe who he is and indeed what sort of man he is, this would only satisfy you as an answer to this man if you knew him but you may not, Darren is a crazy man who means no harm to anyone, with the looks of a model the girls stare and want to mother him and take care of him and make the sweetest love and sweetest plans for the future with him however if they knew him like we do the superficial world around them would crumble as, in the right company, he has no filter and a crazier man I have not met. He is simply an honest, down to earth mad man who talks to himself more than he does to others but the sweetest and most beautifully souled man you could ever meet and due to the talking to himself and the honesty of him you can see this perfect soul every time you are with him and know him better than you know yourself because, how well do you really know yourself?

I sit and I wait for this man to knock on my door and say ‘ are you ready m’boy’ only for the simple answer ‘yes’ to ring out across the quiet and sleepy three in the morn cul-de-sac and for us to begin laughing and not stop laughing until that same front door shuts between us and the trip is over and nothing more can be said or done about this trip apart from the memories we keep and talk about as we surely plan the next one which will take place soon after as way wait? Why ever wait?

The reason for this trip is not only to climb this peak it is also due to two other unsuccessful trips to the district, that’s not to say that we didn’t make it but we didn’t feel fulfilled enough in our souls to completely tick this section of our lives off and due to babies being on their way to being born and other time constraints that only normal life can give you this trip is happening today at this time, now 2:44am.

After a slight delay over a forgotten wallet we filled the brand new car to the top and with a troubling service light on the dashboard illuminating the worried look on Darren’s face due to that very light we hit the road. The tension from the light is soon forgotten and in familiar surroundings we see the sun peak its head out from behind the very country we are travelling across and with childlike excitement we push forwards to our final destination with the only company on the road at night which is of course lorries, the only thing awake at night on the road are trucks and their glorious drivers roaring to their lonesome drop off points.

The night now gives way to the morning dew, the inky black now a majestic orange pink oil painting of morning that many painters have tried to replicate over the years but surely Mother Nature is the greatest artist of all? We now see a mixture of this artists work and manmade structures that normally would go unnoticed because of disinterest but today with the excitement of the children that are normally in the back seat sucking a boiled sweet to keep them quiet, we scream, shout, laugh and draw our sleepless eyes away from the road for a few moments to see scenes of breath taking beauty such as the smoking chimneys of some sort of power plant silhouetted against a sky of oil painted beauty. Life is good; this is exactly where we should be at this very moment.

Mother Nature smiles while we drive our miles.

Motorway miles can often be boring without the right company but an hour in and the excitement hasn’t turned to boredom, the car is full of laughs and the conversation is flowing with the kind of conversation you can only have with truly great friends when you are alone, no outside interference and no one judging what is said or who said it and why it is being said it’s just said, discussed and moved on in a simple way that has long been lost in society. In a world where conforming is norm no one understands the mad man or outsider or his values and doesn’t understand why he doesn’t fit in but surely he does fit in? Surely this is his place, to stand on the outside and find people who are similar to him? I mean that’s what you have done isn’t it? Not changed your ways or dressed in a certain way to fit in but simply waited until you found others just like you right? I could be wrong. All I know is when you find these people you’re meant to be with you could be doing the dishes with them and it could be the greatest time you have ever truly had in your life. The people who truly understand you won’t drift off half way through a story but long for more detail than you have ever given and you will die to know every single detail of their stories and life and will never stop trying to know them.

But anyway I digress back to this story and will not divert your gaze from the beauty of the peak district any longer as we have now arrived in the glorious place and it is still more glorious than before. A three hour journey has been done in two due to some expert driving and avoidance of speed cameras from Darren while we have been exploring every idea that comes to mind. An example of such an idea is this; to take a piece of paper and write all our trouble and insecurities on it and once up the peak of choice leave it up there under a rock that has been there for millions of years and will not pack its suitcase any time soon and leave your troubles and insecurities to rot up there under that lonely rock and not in your brain and if you want those troubles and insecurities back you know where to find them.

While stopped at the side of the road in a valley with trees almost reaching over us and shaking hands with the trees on the other side of the road, a notion that is taking too long for us mere humans to be able to get around to, we saw the steepest hill I have ever seen in my life, a hill as high as a house and almost as steep, we decide we need some training for in an hour or less we will be trying to climb to the top of a  2000ft peak so we get our hiking boots on, mine cheap and Darren’s a little less cheap. We started up our hill to simply see what is over the hill and we discovered the sweetest little quarry you could hope to find with only 2 or 3 piles of rock to sell. Now the best thing of my life happened next which must be told, the fearful and steep return journey down House Hill we will call it began and as Darren and I started our decent we started to slide and couldn’t stop so I decided to simply go with it and slide down with all the quarry stone which was once on its way to magical new destinations but decided it would prefer life on house hill and bounced out of the truck before it left the beautiful little quarry. I felt like a pro snowboarder who knew the mountain so well the mountain did all the work for them and all I had to do was weave round the bigger rocks and trees and stop when I felt the need. The simple training session was over and I was pleased with my cheap hiking boots but less pleased with my decision to start smoking all those years ago. We pushed on because on is where beloved kinder is.

We were now in the heart of the peak and the peak was in our hearts.

We found our destination after a quick stop to look at a map at the local train station and as we sit in the car park and brew a cup of coffee and eat last night’s Chinese takeaway as a brilliant breakfast, our thoughts and talk turns to the challenge ahead, not a challenge for most but with arthritic hips and other assorted injury’s from a life of skateboarding and other silliness my mind wonders even if I’d make the mile or two walk to the base of the peak let alone the walk up there! I roll a cigarette and pack some pain killers in my bag and we were off. The only training we have undertaken for this trip is house hill about an hour ago but with passion and the still childlike excitement flowing through our veins we would be just fine.

To Kinder scout we go, we haven’t seen our beloved Kinder yet due to all the peaks around us shielding it from our view and with it being higher than every single one of these I can’t help but feel once again we have bitten off more than we could chew But if we quit now we will never know so to old kinder we continue to go.

Walking alongside a river, still nowhere near old kinder, our ears stumble across a sound, a sound so great it made me glad to be alive and through the leaves of the trees adorning the river we could just make out a little waterfall and decided that we have time to stop and embrace this sight for time is all around us, so we ventured in for a better look. This waterfall is beautiful and I will try and describe it as best as I can in my sleep deprived state, the water falls from around only 12 feet on to rocks below but the sound is enough to make us need to shout in order to hear each other, I’d take that sound over nightclub music anytime, a rotting tree trunk has made its home leaning against the waterfall with the powerful water imbedding it further into its doomed situation. The water is clear enough to see the golden rocks below and because we are near its source it must be the purest water possible in this world without man throwing a single shopping trolley into it, the river is wise and thousands of years ago it craved its self a cliff of around 10 feet to protect its valuable waters from man. Old Kinder may still be miles away but with sights like this around us we weren’t worried. With Darren packing his camera gear away we must away to what awaits us.

Along the way to the feet of Old Kinder we found two other waterfalls and what beautiful waterfalls they were! The first had swirls pools and holes in the rocks and steps for the million year old water to ease down rather than simply fall down and the final one we paid attention to doesn’t need describing as it was as beautiful as the first and second and by now you will know that I am rubbish at describing waterfalls for the sheer beauty of them brings me to my knees as the way looking at a beautiful girl does to your soul. Hopefully you will also know that I have fallen in love with these waterfalls and Mother Nature just as quickly as your soul falls in love due to a passing glance from a beautiful woman crossing your path in the street.

Following the trail for a bit longer we think we have found Old Kinder and if we haven’t then this will be our old kinder, the rocks on top are, from here, jet black and the beautiful river that has lead us here leads to the top of our beloved peak and that its birth place so we decide to stick with the river for the climb and never deviate even if the track departs from it.

With my hat off and my thick ginger mane exposed to the world and my new glasses in my bag opening my tired three hour sleep, 3 hour travel, 3 hour hike eyes to the world we pushed on. With these insecurities mentioned, who can see them? Darren and some sheep. This is the only place in the world I have ever felt free and couldn’t care less in this moment what people, if they could see me, would say because does it matter? In moments of happiness nothing but that moment matters. The only thing that can judge me now is Mother Nature and if she doesn’t like the look of me then surely she has created a monster! I am glad that all over the world there are people who worship Mother Nature as she is all around and she is the most beautiful women of all!

We take a break by the river again and wash our faces in cold cold water and sit and reflect on what has passed and look forward to what lies ahead. A rock the size of a car lies sleeping next to me and I think of the power this small river once had to place that helpless rock there and to shape this beautiful valley in which we walk, it is truly amazing. The sun has joined us for our final walk and he is most welcome and a pleasing slight. Darren now pulls out a marker pen and says ‘let’s write our name on a rock and we will always be remembered by Old Kinder’ he did this, he wrote his name, his girlfriends and his unborn babes name and handed the pen to me, I decided in my tiredness to write a poem on a helpless rock and did so, this poem is between me and the rock and whoever decides to read it along their journey to the top.

A terrifying climb up the river begins, deciding not to follow the trail and keep our promise to not deviate from our now smaller by the minute river, mainly because a group of other people hiking and talking about rocks and the great flood of such and such a year, we venture on and up the river and actually have to do some real climbing in order to carry on, with wet boots and huge drops we decided what will be will be and urge our now tired bodies on and up, always up until the top.

Ah Old Kinder, I am now sitting on top of the peak, arthritic hips and all, something that more than three hours ago I thought impossible, what a journey! We travelled the whole way with the river that first caught our eye at the very beginning of our journey and with a spot of rock climbing under our belts we feel we have done something truly amazing and did it our own way, why would we have done it someone else’s way? On the way up our rock climbing route I thought it a good idea to leave the piece of paper behind I had written all my fears on and I did not include a fear of heights due to not having one until looking down 30ft on to the rocks below standing on a ledge big enough for only sideways feet and trying to find a way up because back was never an option in our minds. We made it.

The wind blows up here! I guess because we are the highest thing around now even higher than Old Kinder due to the fact we are standing on his faithful old head. Walking around the top of this peak and seeing other people and dog walkers does make us feel that what we did wasn’t such a great and incredible thing after all but what it represents to us is much more. It represents closing the childish chapter of our lives’ and for Darren especially its time to be become a man because he will soon be a father and what a great father he will become!

We are now sat next to the car rock once again and our minds are completely different, no longer longing for the top, instead longing for coffee and a sit down in which we know we no longer have to get up from. That sit down will still be a few hours away as we have to find a campsite for the night somewhere free and simple to rest our weary bodies and souls.

Back at the car and now we drive to find a spot to sleep the night away into beautiful morning. After a 20 minute sleep I awake to find Darren still driving and he decides enough is enough it’s time to eat so we park in a pub car park and walk to the garden and light our gas stove and cook some tins of food and eat and have coffee and as we pack up and jump back in the car feeling a little bit more refreshed the rain comes and washes all our dreams of camping away as we know what our cheap tents do in the rain and what they do is bring the rain down on you like you had no tent and simply slept in the field under the clouds that hide the beautiful stars.

It was decided, home, another three hour drive, this time a mostly quiet drive due to the sadness of leaving what we had come to see but knowing if we stayed we couldn’t have fulfilled any more of our dreams so it would have been a pointless and wet night for nothing. At home we can atleast hide in our beds and bricks away from the rain. A long day ended when I closed the door at around 8pm to Darren, a full 24 hours premature but satisfied with what we had achieved we end the trip there as we said we would all those hours and words ago.

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