There are few experiences more beautiful than strolling along by a gurgling river, in a chalky valley flanked by rolling hills, with the golden, green and red leaves swirling around.
It’s a feeling which my wife and I signed up for yesterday morning in the hope of enjoying the autumnal pleasures of the Peak District.
However, throw a baby into this mix and the outlook was not quite so rosy!
According to my father-in-law, we were going on a “buggy-friendly” walk down well-trodden paths in the stunning Dovedale valley. We’d usually take Sophie in the baby carrier but this time we decided it wouldn’t be necessary. At the very least it would give my back a break.
In order to escape the car parking charges (of a well reputed National organisation), we parked about a mile away and walked. Only it was a mile as the crow flies.
We were required to storm down an almost vertical hill (steepness of descent 25%…probably), round meander after meander of road and dodge the constant traffic of cars who were going to the main car park.
What’s more, it turns out buggies are not made to go over cattle grids… Enough said.
This was all before we started the walk we’d actually come to do!
As we reached the main car park, Sophie announced her waking with a high-pitched scream. My sister-in-law suggested that Sophie was getting a bit tired of going to sleep in one place and waking up in another. She probably had a point!
My father-in-law repeated his reassurance that the walk was “buggy friendly” and the start of the path was quite promising. There were a few bumpy rocks to navigate but beyond that it was smooth going.
Until the stepping stones.
I had to carry Sophie over carefully while my brother-in-law and father-in-law cautiously clambered across with the buggy and my mother-in-law carried the car seat.
To be met with a stile and padlocked gate. This time, we detached Sophie, passed her over and then lugged the buggy contraption across the obstacle. Effort!
The bumpy rocks turned into cracks and crevasses with the ominous threat of falling rocks from the surrounding gorges (OK, I’m exaggerating a bit!)
Eventually, we gave up and turned back to renegotiate the various “buggy-friendly” difficulties. Turns out there was another path across the river to avoid the stepping stones.
It involved going through the river.
Next time we fancy a nice pleasant stroll out with Sophie, I think we’ll read the small print!
(And an autumn walk helps me link up with the #SavouringTheSeason bloggers over at Clarina’s Contemplations! Good to be back guys!)