Saturday, 21 February 2015

'Peak'ing my Canadian senses

It was 6:06 am. My alarm had just alerted me awake. I rolled over and thought in the most whiny voice possible, I don't want to get up! But I'm really glad I did.

After 38 GKH residents rounded up in the lobby, we split up and boarded the two buses we had booked for the day. Out destination - the Peak District. Most were still half asleep at the wee hour of 8:00 am.

We hadn't been on the road for very long when I received a message informing me that there was a little snow action in the area we were heading and to be prepared to modify our plans for the day. After chatting with the rest of my team, we decided to chance it. First stop - Mam Tor. And yes, it had snowed. But even better than that, it was STILL snowing! After recently been missing my usual yearly snow fix, I was beyond pleased with the sights around me. And, it was BIG snow. Not accumulation, but flake size.

When we finally arrived at Mam Tor, we began walking along the trail towards the top. It was stunning. Breath-taking. I saw farmland, snow and trees. The only thing missing from home was the ocean, and at this point, I wasn't about to complain! Snowballs were thrown, pictures were snapped. Although we didn't make it to the top, it was a fantastic way to start off the day!

Areeba, waiting for me with snowball in hand!
Some views from Mam Tor!

My flatmate Sreeman and I.
I believe the saying goes... "Happy wife, happy life." In this case, it's just "Happy Emily!" 
A panoramic view from Mam Tor.
Our next stop was Poole's Cavern, just outside of Buxton. Here we took a few minutes to warm up and grab a hot beverage before heading on a tour of the cavern. I will admit, the idea of being in a cave terrifies me in a most irrational way. Thankfully, the cave did not collapse on us, and I got to check off my 'one thing that scares me' for the day! It was pretty amazing inside! Unfortunately because it was so dark, picture taking wasn't the easiest. But, I did manage to get a few!

The group at the beginning of the Cavern tour. 
Inside the cavern.

Some names etched into the cavern walls. We found one dated '1666'!
Once the tour ended the group split up in two. Some went on a short hike at Poole's Cavern, while the rest of us made our way into Buxton. I had the pleasure of walking around Pavilion Gardens with some friends, new and old. Again, I saw trees and I was happy. It was so peaceful to walk around this park taking in the sights and enjoying some good conversation.

Pavilion Gardens

Proof I have friends!
L to R: Ahmed, the Orange Canadian, Matthew, Tom, and Yousef 

Soon after the rest of the group arrived. I joined my friends Yousef and Ahmed, and we took to some adventuring around this little town.  We walked along one of the main roads in search of 'the dome at the university.' It was pretty easy to find. But, the best part of this stop was the fact that there was a recruitment event happening, and we scored free lunch (and there was lobster!).

After we snacked, we decided to head to what's known as the Crescent. It was pretty neat. We climbed the Slopes and found St. Ann's well, where Yousef filled up! And with that, we split up.

The Crescent
A sign of spring? Sorry Nova Scotians...
St. Ann's well
It was no sooner that we had parted ways, when it began to lightly snow, and then quickly transition into freezing rain, and then eventually hail. I was overwhelmed with all of the winter things I'd been missing! I honestly didn't know what to do. So, I filmed it. Then I just stood in an idiot. It was amazing!

A panoramic view from atop the Slopes!
The dome in the right-centre is the university where we crashed the recruitment event.
It was nearing the time to meet up for our departure home, so I began walking towards Pavilion Gardens. Instead of walking through them this time, I decided to cross the street and walk through the cemetery. It was difficult to read most of the headstones, but some of them were magnificently designed - particularly the older ones. I think the earliest date I could find was 1866, and the newest 2012. There's something just so calming about walking through a place like this. I tend to find a simple quietness and connection with nature when in a cemetery, that I cannot find elsewhere. Perhaps it's something to do with the fact that this is pretty much our last interaction with the natural world?

Anyway, I returned to the Garden and walked around in search of a bench to sit and watch the ducks. This, I am sad to report, was a difficult task. It appears that the majority of the benches I found pointed more so in the direct of small children playing, rather than small Anatidae. I felt as an adult, sitting on her own, it probably would flag some concerns had I not sat at the the one bench I found facing water and no children.

Some wildlife at Pavilion Garden

Soon after, we boarded the buses, and made the trek home. Since I was on the better of the two buses, we enjoyed a little sing-a-long as we drove. The perfect ending to a great day!

-the Orange Canadian

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