It has been 63 years since the Peak District was opened as Britain’s first National Park. Spanning an area of 550 square miles and 6 counties, it is home to some of the most beautiful countryside our shores have on offer.

I have spent countless weekends out in the hills of the Peak; days climbing on Stanage Edge, winter walking on Kinder Scout, camping with friends, and more. Here is a selection of my 5 favourite activities in the Peak District.

1. Rock Climbing on Peak Gritstone

Rock Climbing in the Peak District

Rock Climbing in the Peak District

This is by far my number one favourite activity. There is something beautiful about the corse, aggressive, and short rock climbs of the gritstone crags. If in doubt, dig deep and use a bit of anger to keep going. I never have a bad time with friends, hanging out at one of the many world famous crags; Stanage Edge, Froggat, Higgar Tor, Millstone, to name but a few. This is the spiritual home of UK rock climbing and rightly so. Get some friends together and give it a try!

2. Winter Walking on Kinder Scout

The Peak District in Winter

The Peak District in Winter

As a last minute idea, a group of us headed up to Edale, at the foot of Kinder Scout, for a weekend of walking, whisky, and witty banter. We were  not disappointed with stunning, clear blue skies over the virgin white snows on the Kinder plateau. We even had the fortune of checking out some people enjoying the rarely forming ice falls of Kinder Downfall, one of the UK’s most popular ice climbs.

3. Camping at North Lees Campsite

Camping in the North Lees Campsite

Camping in the North Lees Campsite

Just below Stanage Edge sits the North Lees Campsite, a friendly family run campsite that is always a delight to stay in. They deliberately keep the numbers low so that you have space to spread out, keeping the noise levels down, and keeping that feeling of being out in the wild. Only a 10 minutes approach to the nearest rock climbs and a 30 minute walk into Hathersage, this is a perfect base for any Peak based weekend.

4. A Day Out in Bakewell

The amazing Bakewell Tart

The amazing Bakewell Tart

Set in an enviable location on the banks of the Wye, with the river meandering gently through the centre, this beautiful old market town is in the heart of the Peak District, surrounded by stunning countryside views. It is also home to one of my favourite sweet treats: the Bakewell Tart. I could eat them all day! In fact, I might see if I can find a poor, London imitation right now..!

5. The Dovedale Dash

The infamous Dovedale Dash river crossing

The infamous Dovedale Dash river crossing

Introduced by a London friend who grew up in the area, we headed up one weekend for my inaugural Dovedale Dash, a 4.75 mile cross-country race that takes you through freezing cold rivers and up unending hills held in November each year. Tradition states that you should only partake after a very heavy night on the sauce the night before so that you are suitably numb the next morning. Though there is a footbridge crossing the river, you will be heckled if you dare try using it. Get your feet wet or hang your head in shame!

Do you have any favourite activities in the Peak? Please share!

by Charley Radcliffe

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