Day 2 – Jacobs Ladder
The rain had come down through the night creating a monotonous drip from outside the tent.
We woke up from an unsettled sleep, mostly due to being kicked and pushed from three small children. Dicky had been crippled by cramp during the night, and as you can imagine, having cramp in two areas of your leg and no space to move, made for a hilarious comedic mini dance to try and relieve the pain, whilst trying to not sound like a banshee from the hills.
We hurriedly assembled ourselves back into our boots and straightened out the kinks, ready for the day ahead. Coopers cafe was on the itinerary for breakfast so we set off to find the infamous eatery, ravenous for some nutrition.
Set back from the road, at the start of the Pennine Way, we ordered the Kinder breakfast of champions, and then proceeded to swap most of the items to other family members around the table. After the breakfast swap was complete, we left feeling happy and content and ready for the day.
A wet start.
The rain had continued on through the morning and had already started to penetrate our clothing. We tightened up our hoods, changed our socks and started on the Pennine Way, determined to not let the sogginess beat us.
The trail started opposite the Nags Head pub which we promised to return to and buy the kids a pint after the day was done. We entered the walk and made our way up through the sheep fields, in fairly good spirits, despite the grey skies.
We were headed for Kinder Scout, but to be honest, I think I knew we wouldn’t get that far. Jacobs ladder was a good destination to head to, so we focused on that. The trail went round the hills and I managed to do a look back and marvel in the places we’d come from and walked the day before. We listened to the kids chatter on excitedly about the sheep in the fields and question whether they’d be able to jump on the back of one and ride into the distance.
Oliver became our gate holder, he would stop and make sure we were all safely through before running on ahead onto the next one. Finley turned his attentions back to food fairly quickly so we stopped and grabbed a quick bite out of our backpacks by Crowden Clough. I had packed extra food for day two, consisting of biscuits, sausage rolls, chicken pops and the occasional graze bar. We hid among the trees so our food didn’t get wet, the occasional walker coming past and eyeing up our fantastic cuisine.
Eventually we mustered up enough energy to wander on and follow the path round to Jacobs ladder. As we rounded the corner and took in the height, mother proclaimed she was not going up and sat herself down at the bottom. She is terrified of heights and has got osteoarthritis so I can’t blame her!
Molly stuck herself on to Uncle Pip, Oliver lead the way and I dragged Finley up when he inevitably fell over. We passed many people on the way up who commended the children on their efforts. I actually didn’t think the way up was too bad and before we knew it, we were at the stacks at the top of Jacobs Ladder. There’s nothing like a sense of achievement in children to ignite a new fire of energy they didn’t know they had.
The children climbed all over the stack, placing new pieces of rock at the top. We took a few pictures and screamed down to nanny, wondering if she’d keeled over yet.
Finally, we headed back down, on the opposite side of the hill with Molly hopping over the rocks as she does. Nanny had cooled down a little bit and was regretting not having kept active as her muscles had started seizing up. She shook them out and we set off the way we had come, back to the start line.
Eventually we noticed the rain had started to ease off and it was little more than a fine mist. Although we were still sopping wet, it felt good to take off our hoods and breathe in some clean fresh air. We laughed, we bonded and we took in the beauty of the scenery around us. The children were amazing and only really started to grumble on the last section of the farmlands, back to the start of the route. They pictured the nice cold pint and rallied up the last of their reserves to push forwards and complete their marathon. We all crossed the finish line together, breathing a sigh of relief that we’d made it all safely.
Sat in the warmth of the Nags head, the children lost their worries in their bowls of chocolate ice cream and pints of squash. We stretched our limbs and stood in front of the fire, trying to regain feeling in our fingertips. We felt a sense of completion, content that we had done what we had set out to do, despite coming up against a few hurdles on the way. A good amount of money had been raised for a deserving charity and we had challenged ourselves in the process.
I now know I can use this against the children when they’re moaning about a 2 mile jaunt, to say if they can walk this far, they can walk forever!
What a fantastic way to end a hike.