England has some wonderful places to visit and enjoy despite the country’s seemingly countless chilly days.
Do you enjoy hiking?
Then the Peak District (what I like to call “the Lake District’s child”) offers glorious far stretched views from high, difficult to reach summits; to easy strolling riverside walks along picturesque stone built villages. It has everything the mind and body needs to relax and refresh itself within its national park.
One world renowned sweet treat, ‘the Bakewell tart’ finds its origins from the aptly named town of Bakewell. I will be sharing the recipe a little later in this post.
What I really wanted to share with you is a story about endurance.
My recent experience reminded me that to survive life’s trials, a motivating reason must be woven into our thinking pattern.
Let me explain.
It all started from what was supposed to be an easy two-hour hike. Our adventure began on the outskirts of an area called ‘Windy Knoll’, known for, as you can imagine extreme gales. The ongoing slaughter of wind swept fog dampened our clothes and hats from top to bottom within minutes. Cold and wet, we ventured onwards and upwards towards the vantage point of ‘Mam Tor’ (a 517 m hill near Castleton in the High Peak of Derbyshire, England). Conversations between our group about turning back forced us to a halt, as we continued to be harassed by the ‘shivering mountain’ as some like to call it.
After a little deliberation we decided to carry on instead of turning back, hoping the wind would ease off; and as we started to decline, it did. Other hikers passed us from the opposite direction, heading towards the wind swept summit, but the interestingly-worrying detail was that they all had mudded boots up past their ankles. The cut through which made this a two-hour from a four-hour walk were bogged down sheep infested fields laying near a small stream, which had obviously overflowed from all the snow a week ago. It was back to the drawing board.
With each mudded passer-by shrinking our desire to attempt the boggy field, we decided to take the longer route and go around it. Eventually the pretty small town of Castleton (a village in the High Peak district of Derbyshire, England, at the western end of the Hope Valley) was in sight. What we had forgotten about this decision, was the steep 1.5 mile climb up ‘Winnats Pass’ back to where we had parked the car.
My friend and I, with fortitude and concern for our tired group, left them to the enchanted wondering of the many quirky warm shops, whilst we took on ‘Winnats Pass’ (The road winds through a cleft, surrounded by towering limestone pinnacles. The pass was once thought to have originated as a giant collapsed cavern; however, a more recent explanation is that it was a ravine between the coral reefs that originally formed the limestone. The name is a corruption of ‘wind gates’.
We quickly realised, this is no ordinary climb. With an ever-increasing incline the pass never gives its victims a rest or a moment of kindness; it just gets steeper, more punishing and painful.
It took only fifteen minutes for our legs to become filled with lactic acid, constantly reminding us to stop, to turn around, to give up. Taking five minutes out to plan the remaining task ahead of us, we encouraged each other to endure no matter the cost. People had died in this pass. But, we were determined not to fall victim to it’s monster like appetite for failure.
Taking turns in leading gave us a chance to let our faces express the pain and agony of the walk without discouraging the one behind; and the one behind bellowed words of endurance such as “you can cry; you can scream; but you can’t give up!”.
Through the howling wind, dense damp fog and falling rocks; we continued up. One hour later from our initial ascent we arrived at the car battered and bruised. We had succeeded. After a whole hour of ‘fighting talk’, there was only silence, as we meditated on the challenge we had just experienced and won.
We realised at that moment; no one would ever really understand or know what we had just been through. Our group wouldn’t be able to understand the love and loyalty we displayed towards them. It was hidden, as though it were a secret. It would only be our experience for the rest of time; a reminder for us to endure a trial no matter the cost.
If the motivating factor was removed from this equation, I fear our strength would have given out. The lessons:
- love for others will keep determination at the forefront of your mind extinguishing any doubt or fear
- having a motivating factor will feed the flames of willpower
- falling doesn’t mean failure, staying down does.
Other than endurance tests, one of the benefits to visiting the Peak District are the small pretty little towns and villages dotted about i.e. Bakewell. This is where the ‘Bakewell Tart’ (a buttery soft pastry, filled with almonds and strawberry jam) originated from. Absolutely delicious. The recipe is as follows:
6 – 8 oz. Ready to roll Shortcrust Pastry
4 – 6 oz. Sieved Strawberry Jam
4 oz. Caster Sugar
3 oz. Unsalted Butter
4 oz. Ground Almonds + A Touch of Almond Essence
Roll out your pastry, line your shallow dish and prick the base.
Cover the base with your jam.
Melt the butter.
Separate your eggs, you need use only the yolks.
Beat together all the ingredients, pour in your melted butter last. You will have a smooth batter mixture.
Pour your filling over the jam.
Bake at Gas Mark 5 / 175°C or to suit your oven, for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with fresh cream.
If ever you feel like giving up on a recent or longer lasting trial in your life; remember that ‘Winnats Pass’ was conquered only due to love, loyalty and compassion; qualities we all possess inside us.