They were keen walkers; the sticks and hat type that you see on the covers of outdoorsy magazines. I resented going on longs walks and thought that the more that I dragged my feet the quicker they would get the idea and take me home so I could play on the computer until my eyes hurt. I was moving into the inevitable ‘I hate you all’ teenage years; where ‘hate’ was a stamp I enjoyed branding everything with and walking through the countryside was no exception.
The sky was a gigantic grey tarpaulin that leaked big blobs of misery and the grass was a minefield of sheep shit and cow pats. I was crippled with the embarrassment of wearing the correct attire because I felt that I didn’t look ‘cool’ enough. “You won’t be bothered about looking fashionable when it’s chucking it down with rain and you’re soaked through to you’re knickers!” was the usual speech I was given, “Now put these on and I don’t want any more complaining”. Only bitchy cows and sheep would judge me in my waterproofs and bobbly blue hat, I told myself.
And so we set off. The first steps in my walking boots as I trudged through the car park were heavy and strangled my feet but I always knew they were better than trainers. I was silent for the rest of the day as we pushed on through cloud bursts and that kind of gale-force wind that punches you in the face. The only thing that I ever thought that I gained from these trips to the Peak District was a sock full of blisters and a cold nose. But after shaking off my immaturity and progressing into young adulthood I realized that walking could be fun if it was done with the right attitude and the right company.
So, now, I feel as though I have reconciled with an ex. The relationship was an angry and messy one but now, after years apart, it’s time to move on and start a fresh. At last, I can happily admire the rolling hills of heather sliced up by the lime colored dry stone walls and with my resentment melted away I felt it fitting to dedicate a special goodbye to the Peak District. I guess I shall have to swap you temporarily for the Cumbres del Ajusco National Park, just outside of Mexico City.