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2022 Peak District Residential

Hello everyone, it has been a while! Last month we completed our second residential trip of the year to the Peak District, and was it a blast! One of our lovely members, Risa, has written up her experiences. We hope you enjoy the read, and are looking forward to our next trip!


Day 1

Our trip started at St. Pancras train station at 11am on Saturday the 12th. The circle of people that gathered around Duncan in the red hat slowly grew, as well as the energetic introductions. “Hi! Nice to meet you! What do you study?” marked the beginnings of many friendships that would last way beyond the four day trip.

We set off, a few members short, and boarded the train to Sheffield that was on the platform next to the Eurostar. “That's the train I always take to go home,” my new friend from Paris told me. In no time, the overhead luggage rack of the carriage was lined with camping rucksacks and walking poles. In front of me, a first year student was explaining the complexity of his computer science assignment to an architecture master’s student. Behind me, another member was describing his recent horrible bout with food poisoning while she sympathetically listened. An hour and a half later, we arrived at Sheffield, where we transferred to a more modern looking train that headed to Hathersage. The wet and cool air immediately hit us right as we got to Sheffield, and many of us started combing through our rucksacks looking for extra layers to put on.

The Hathersage train station was quiet, and it was drizzling when we first arrived. Most of us had put our colorful rain jackets and hoods on, as we lined up to pile our larger luggage on the white van that would deliver them to the hostel for us. It was a fifteen minute walk to the hostel, and we made a pit stop at possibly the only grocery store in town. We arrived at the cozy Thorpe Farm Bunkhouse and were welcomed by the smell of fresh cow manure.

“Put your bags down in the common room, and get ready for our small hike,” Duncan told us. We set off in the drizzle; the ground was soft, but the grass on the field was still strong enough that it provided traction to not slip. We started walking, talking, in a single file line, with a nostalgic feeling of primary school field trips from years ago. The sky was gloomy, but there was an excited energy amongst us.

Hike 1: Derwent (normal)

We hiked along the river, a nice flat trail, and it gave us the first taste of the muddy terrain we were going to face in the following days. We slowly went through our first sheep stiles, cattle grids, and teamwork moments, helping each other over the fence or slippery slopes. What we expected to be a 6k walk ended up becoming 10k, but we made it home safely.

We got home and saw that those who arrived late had stocked the groceries for the trip! The dinner team rushed to the kitchen to get started on the beans and tortillas. As we relentlessly chopped through the tomatoes, chicken, onions, and garlic, the rest of us got settled into our wooden bunk beds and showered. Round 1 dinner for those with dietary preferences! Round 2 dinner for the rest of us! All of us gobbled down our tortilla wraps, with tired but satisfied looks on our faces. The washing up team cleared our thirty plates and a bunch of pots and pans. Around 9pm we began our game night. Separating into two large groups, half of us stayed in the common room while the other half went to the big bedroom to play games. Intense games of Jungle Speed led to people fighting over the wooden totem, and card games of bs revealed our playfully deceitful alter egos. We turned in before midnight, knowing that a good night's rest would be necessary for the hikes to come.

Day 2

A chilly morning, some of us achy, some of us sleep deprived, but most of us ready to start the hikes. The various breakfast options were laid out in the common room, white or brown toast with nutella, butter, or jam spread, berry, honey, or nut granola, and tea or coffee.

“Which one are you going to do today? Challenging? Normal?"

"Maybe normal today to test the waters and challenging tomorrow”

“Challenging probably since I used to hike a lot”

Those who finished breakfast made their lunch sandwiches in the kitchen, and stocked up on granola bars, fruit, and crisps for the long day ahead.

Hike 2: Ladybower and Stanage (Normal 18k); Bamford, Stanage and Derwent (Challenging 23k)

The rain and wind on day 2 was relentless. The normal group completed an 18k trek to Ladybower and Stanage, while the challenging group did a 23k to Bamford, Stanage and Derwent. The views were cloudy but still clear enough to see the exciting ascent we made. But the long hike gave plenty of time to talk to and help each other through the grim weather; this day was the actualization of the saying “It’s the journey, not just the destination, that counts”.

Lunch break was taken under a tree, all of us huddled together, trying to scarf down everything we could just so that we could keep moving, keep walking. Some of us even resorted to squat jumps since the violent shivering from the cold felt worse. We made it home safely, back in one piece. A diasporic dispersion happened as soon as we arrived home, with some of us making a beeline to the showers, some of us to the ice cream shop next door (these were the unlucky ones, you’ll see), and then others just relishing the comforting dryness of the sofas in the common room; sitting down never felt so good. While the first showers were piping hot (as desired), putting life back into our icy fingertips and toes, those who couldn’t get into the first five showers because of ice cream or other obligations, had to endure either the mostly-freezing-but-sporadically-lukewarm showers, or just wait till later into the night, when the boiler had heated up enough water to a bearable temperature (Poor Pedro). But despite things not going to plan with the shower, it didn’t *dampen* the mood. It was still a good time (note that I didn’t get ice cream).

Dinner was green curry and rice, vegetarian or chicken, and it was clear that people had bigger portions compared to the first day. A long day of hiking makes you sensitive to the effect sustenance has on the human body; a cadbury chocolate brunch bar changes everything. It felt like our bodies were calling for green curry and rice or any form of energy. After dinner we had more fun games of totem pole snatching and poker cards, and then turned in around midnight.

Day 3

Some of us woke up to the cold. The breakfast team prepared the array of cereals and toast like the day before, and the kitchen had the lunch sandwich setup. Almost half of the group decided to stay back at the hostel and make a day trip to nearby Sheffield, while the rest of us made our way to Hathersage station for the train to Edale.

Hike 3: Edale (Challenging with detours 15k)

“Normal route go to Johannes, challenging one come with me”, the entire crowd slowly gathered around Duncan while Johannes stood alone on the top of the slope.

“All right, guess we’re all doing the challenging one today!”

We started the hike with a small ascent, through trails completely mud-ified by the torrential rain from the night before. Whatever dryness our walking boots gained from the night before were dampened within the first kilometer. But there was little to no rain nor wind, and the day before made us appreciate this day, despite the cold. The trail slowly turned rocky, literally, and soon enough we were climbing stairs made of boulders, with a steep ascent. It felt like we made multiple peaks this day, since at any point during the hike, you were able to witness the stunning hills and basins from above. This hike made you feel the climb that you made.

All was well until this hill. This is where it all went (literally too) downhill.

This harmless looking hill wasn’t too steep, but it was muddy. It wasn't ‘muddy’ like it was coated with mud but more like it was made of mud, like the mud was inches deep. It was probably easier sliding downhill horizontally than walking vertically. One of our trusted leaders, Xin, unfortunately fell subject to this damned hill (too many puns to make I can’t resist), and injured her ankle. While half of us reached the bottom of this trek, Pedro, Yi Xi, Dunan, Malvi, Alex, and Johannes brought poor Xi down. Xi and Alex made their way back to the hostel, while the rest of us continued our hike.

We made a few detours but by afternoon, the SUN had come out. I guess the rain was worth it since the combination of rain and sun makes…. RAINBOWS.

Rainbows! Everywhere! And the rainbows were so nearby that you could see where the arches started and ended. I have never seen rainbows so close. You could feel the warmth from the sun; the brightness of the day brightened our moods, all of us exclaiming, THE SUN!!

We returned home, at 3:50, with exactly ten minutes to run to the ice cream store next door before it closed. Showers were taken quickly and the dinner team started cooking the last dinner, spaghetti and meatballs. After the washing up team cleared our plates, someone’s bluetooth speaker made its way to the center of the dining table. Austrian marching, Latin dance, Rasputin, Legally Blonde, were some of the many themes of the songs that played. As the first five seconds of the song played, eyes would dart around, looking for faces that showed recognition of the nostalgic tunes.

We danced and sang our hearts out.

My greatest revelation was that our trusted walk leaders are as big of Taylor Swift fans as I am. Knew every lyric, word for word. Greatest day ever. Through the singing, I heard someone next to me say “I’m so sad it's gonna be over soon, back to reality”

Day 4

Checkout was at ten, and by quarter to nine, we were all lined up outside the hostel, piling our rucksacks into the white taxi that would deliver it to the Hathersage station. The smell of cow manure was no longer unbearable as we waited for the others. Seeing the great arches inside St. Pancras station marked our return to civilization. It was raining, but it didn’t seem to bother me. While I would usually wait or take the bus, it felt natural to just walk in the rain back home.

Talking to the friends I made on the trip weeks later, they all said “it was a trip full of surprises”. Very few of us had ever experienced hiking in the English countryside, and despite the rain, wind, and mud, it was worthwhile enough that we were planning the next hike to go on together. It was a memory that we will all reflect on with a smile.

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1 commento

Patricia Allison
Patricia Allison
09 gen 2023

So beautiful Place!! I really wish to spend my vacation there !! The atmosphere is blistering!


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