Despite all the challenges and appointments I’ve mentioned before, it still feels like we’ve actually managed to get out and about a reasonable amount during my paternity leave. Can’t believe I go back to work next week – it’s come around so quickly! I can’t say I’m desperate to go back!
Ok, so this isn’t strictly “out and about” but how cool were the Winter Olympics?! During those first few days where we were largely housebound, the Winter Olympics was on the TV constantly. It also came in handy during the early hours of the night shifts!
We had a particularly keen interest where our friend Laura Deas was competing for Team GB, alongside Lizzy Yarnold. We managed to make it home from hospital in time to watch both skeleton runs and watch Laura claim her bronze medal 😆. I can’t wait to introduce Little H to an Olympic medalist!! I’m hoping that when she is older it will inspire her to believe she can achieve anything she works hard for.
I also fell in love with Snowboard-cross, which I think is just brilliant. I’ve decided that I want to learn to snowboard this year… so we’ll see how that goes!!🏂
National Trust Visits
We are National Trust members and are lucky to have a few places nearby. One of our favourites is Calke Abbey. We’ve never been in the house mainly because of the dog, and have only ever walked around the grounds, but there are enough of them that you could do a different walk each time for quite a few visits. Recently it seems they’ve put in or improved a load of footpaths meaning there are now even more pushchair friendly options!
We opted to use our Babybjorn carrier while we scoped out the pushchair friendliness – our friends had used this one, and I’d thoroughly recommend it. I’ve worn it quite a bit and I’ve yet to find it gets uncomfortable. Super-easy to use once you’ve worked out where all the limbs go, and Mrs Heatho has even managed to work out putting Little H in and out on her own quite quickly – important with me going back to work soon!
Many of the footpaths are separate from livestock, and the deer park is completely fenced off, so we usually let Fern off the lead to follow her nose and burn some energy. She does enjoy a good spell of lunacy running in between the trees of the wooded bits.
The “Beast from the East”
I’m not sure I have ever seen snow quite like what we got a week or so ago. It did somewhat dampen our ability to get out with Little H as we were conscious of the outside temperature…
We limited ourselves to a short stroll around our local park, Elvaston Castle, which typically only takes us 45-60mins but gives Fern a really good run out. We found ourselves caught in a snow shower – which made the whole place look stunning and somewhat magical.
Peaks on the Doorstep
We are only a short drive from the Peak District, which is a beautiful part of the world. It also reminds us both of Herefordshire, where we both grew up. A couple of our favourite spots are Dovedale and the Longshaw Estate. After a hectic first two weeks, we managed to make it out into the Peak District every other day during my final week of leave 😊.
It only took us 20 days to find ourselves back on the hills with Little H warmly wrapped up in a million layers and her Nod-pod. It was as late as our 33rd week that we made it up Mam Tor in the snow for sunrise (cheeky photo from pre-blog times below – so beautiful, and so worth the effort of a 05.30 wake-up), so it was never going to be long before Little H found her way up a hill! 😂
We managed to visit both Dovedale & Longshaw during paternity leave. After the shocking weather of the previous week, the sun shone for us and we had a great time – it was nice to visit these places during the week when they were a little quieter. They’re great at all times of year and very accessible, so well worth a visit for the amazing views.
We also made a trip to Black Rocks on the last day of real paternity leave, before gearing back up for work over the weekend. A little stroll along the old train line and a relaxed pub lunch (image of lunch below is at The Greyhound in Cromford – this pie and chips was AMAZING!) just polished off the week nicely!
One thing we did learn this week was that, in winter, feeding a child with a dog is difficult in places where dogs are not welcome inside 🤔. This caught us out at Longshaw, and we ended up feeding Little H in the car! Lesson learned for next time!
Getting Back on the Bike
So this wasn’t with Little H – apparently I’m not allowed to take Little H out for a bike ride for a while yet 😂. During pregnancy, Mrs Heatho happened to find me in the way during a bout of morning sickness, and bought me a book as an unnecessary apology; 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. Little did she know this would become a pet project of mine 🤓. In the time before Little H arrived, I managed to tick off 10 of the 100 (and 2 of the second 100)! It was day 19 that a coffee date for Mrs Heatho meant I was given permission to get myself out on the bike – 40km after 3 weeks meant I was pretty pleased with my efforts (if not a bit stiff afterwards!).
On Day 20, I cannily suggested we go for a walk at Longshaw and then explore the previously unvisited “Curbar Edge”. The ulterior motive was of course that Longshaw is only a few km from the bottom of Curbar Edge which is Climb 35 😉… the sun was shining and my legs were burning through lack of practice & fitness, but I made it to the top in one go and the endorphin rush at the top reminded me exactly why this has become such a passion of mine – the challenge remains to “ride them all” 💪🏻.