On each occasion – and there have been many – in recent months when I have privately bemoaned my manifest failure to maintain this blog at the heady levels achieved during maternity leave, and considered the manner in which I might open the post that resumes service, the same image comes to mind of Bernard Hill in the second Lord of the Rings film when, after being exorcised by Gandalf, he gradually unfurls and de-shrivels and, in some bewilderment, says: “Dark have been my days of late…”. I’m not entirely sure why this should be, save that a) I feel a little like the possessed Theoden at present and b) the recent months have been somewhat dark, not just in a daylight saving kind of sense, but in the sense that trying to distill a full time professional career into part time working hours whilst simultaneously look after an infant who persists in enhancing his experience of nursery by taking on every virus and cold available, is, on balance, difficult difficult lemon difficult.

Be that as it may, it’s all going to get better now as a) I feel certain that tonight  we will make a sizeable win on the lottery, hopefully larger than the £3 return I made on a disproportionately large investment in Euromillions last night (financial planning, folks) and b) more realistically, H and I have decided to resume our pre-parenthood preferred pastime of ambling about aimlessly in the local countryside and calling it hiking. And so we have resumed our campaign to conquer the hills and dales of the north of England, accompanied by the Nipper (thanks to this little beauty) and the Dog, and have ourselves begun to unfurl and de-shrivel and generally feel altogether Much Better.

Anyway, to ease ourselves back into it, we had a very pleasant walk last weekend at Tittesworth Water by following the five mile loop round the reservoir, starting from the Visitor Centre at the head of the reservoir at  Meerbrook, just north of Leek on the A53 Buxton/Leek road. I’m not going to pretend this was the most taxing walk I have ever done, but it was an extremely enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon, following forest paths around the reservoir, with some great views of Hen Cloud and the Roaches to which the crap photos I took below do no justice whatsoever:

Tittesworth Water from the Visitor Centre

Tittesworth Water from the Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre

Hen Cloud and the Roaches (I think)

Hen Cloud and the Roaches (I think)

The trail

The trail


Friday took us up the Pennine Way from Crowden, heading in the direction of Black Hill, but getting nowhere near because we only walked for an hour, as it was 6pm and veering dangerously into wine bathtime, also we had for some insane reason gone out without coats, but there were cracking views of Bleaklow and the Torside reservoir, and we therefore formulated grandiose plans of returning in early course to tackle the complete circuit, until I went over on my ankle and terminated the conversation.

Today was supposed to involve a good low level walk up near my parents in the Lakes, but my father made me a gin & mix before lunch and it all went downhill from there. (Not literally). (If you haven’t had a gin & mix, it’s gin and vermouth (extra dry and rosso), mixed in equal parts with ice and lemon, and please don’t blame me for the consequences).


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