Local adventures

Castleton SignHolidays have always been a big part of family life for me.  Each year as a family we would have a treasured three weeks traveling together, moving every few days, keen as we were to keep exploring new places. We’d take a stash of books that we’d all work our way through, sharing hushed conversations about unexpected twists in the tales, away from those who had not yet read them. As most of our holidays took place on boats, we’d often dine on delicious locally-caught seafood in small tavernas.

The majority of my childhood holidays involved traveling outside of the UK, and somewhere along the years I began to equate the word ‘holiday’ with ‘abroad’. In recent years however, my husband and I have kept our adventures to the UK. This is partly motivated by wanting to be more sustainable; flying equals lots of carbon emissions equals a bigger contribution to climate change equals a worse future for pretty much everyone. Earlier in the year we took the not-very-sustainable decision to fly to Thailand to visit my parents (I wrote about the conflict between sustainability and travel ambitions here, and about our trip here), so we were determined that we would keep our next travels to the UK.Walk to Dancing LedgeClimbing at Dancing LedgeThis is, as it turns out, no hardship because what I’ve learned in travelling locally is that the UK is strewn with wonderful places to visit. In the last couple of months alone we’ve been privy to some stunning areas. We hopped to the next county across (Dorset, for those whose geography of England is as bad as mine) with some friends and spent a weekend camping at Tom’s Field and climbing at Dancing Ledge. I must confess, for people who love being outdoors so much, the truth is that we are slightly reluctant campers. Sometimes it just seems like it’s trying to do normal life (showers, cooking, washing up) but in self-inflicted difficult circumstances (we are keen to do wild camping next and those chores behind in the house). That being said, I enjoy the experience of mealtimes that linger a bit longer in the sunshine and, crucially for this trip, the easy proximity it brings to exploring the outdoors. A mere twenty-minute countryside stroll and we were at the cliffs for climbing. The rest of the day was ours.cottage in the Peak DistrictFoxgloves in the Peak DistrictPeak District viewsA few weekends later we ventured a little further afield to join family for a holiday in the Peak District. Our inspiration for the trip lay in the Christmas that we spent there last year. The December trip was marked by snow and sledging, misty ridge walks, and fire-lit evenings. By exploring locally we were easily able to see the place in a new season – this one marked by deep greens and flowers in bloom, sunshine (a surprising amount!) and the unexpected entertainment of reluctant teenagers dragged on school field trips. Proximity won again; staying in the Peaks allowed us to walk out the front door of our cottage straight into a day of walking (usually to a pub, then home via an ice cream stop). Returning six months after my first visit to this area, I was struck by the fact that newness doesn’t always need to be the place, it can be the season in which it is experienced.

We are currently dreaming about and starting to make plans for the next break. The books, the good food, and the taste for exploration and change remain*. I’ve just stopped overlooking the fact that adventure and the unknown can lie within a stone’s throw, not a plane flight.

*something else that hasn’t changed: a beach holiday remains my idea of tortured boredom. We managed to spend 2 weeks in Thailand without lying on a single one, which almost feels like an achievement!

Today’s soundtrack: Lucy Rose // Work It Out

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