Spring in Sheffield should be sunshine and shorts

A week before Easter, and we should be starting to think about suncream and shorts when we head out for a walk on a Saturday morning. Not so this year. I’d planned to head out into the Peak District for a stiff climb up Kinder, but then after more than a foot of snow fell in Sheffield, local buses could not run up the hills, and there was no way of reaching Edale by either train or car (not that I have a car anyway). Rather disappointed, I decided to explore the local woods instead in the Rivelin valley.

Just like icing, snow makes everything look prettier, and just 200 yards from my house, as I reached the footpath across the fields, I realised that the walk was going to be photogenic if nothing else.

“It’s a magic wardrobe. There’s a wood inside it. And it’s snowing. Come and see!” I half-expected a faun to come leaping through the trees to greet me, such was the Narnia-esque nature of the scene. Unfortunately I saw no fauns, centaurs or talking lions. Though I would probably have had a heart attack if a lion had come strolling through the trees.

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Rivers and snow are always beautiful, and after I crossed the deserted and slightly eerie main road to enter the Rivelin valley nature trail, there was a photo opportunity round every corner.

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On occasion, my route was blocked by branches which had become so overloaded with snow they had literally bent over double.

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Despite the snow and cold, walking along a mostly flat riverside path, I hadn’t really been considering any comparison with Alpine resorts until I came across two cross-country skiers. Definitely the quickest way to get around!

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Although they may have come unstuck when they reached this river crossing point. I remembered it from previous walks, when it always makes me a little nervous, but today with icy stepping stones and the thought of a freezing cold bath if I were to slip, I must admit I did stop and consider whether it was worth the risk. Luckily I was wearing wellies, and decided to test the depth of the water in the river. It was just below the top of my wellies, so feeling slightly reassured, I very gingerly made my way across the river, part on the stones, part in the water. I was applauded by a couple on the other side as I finally reached my destination safely – they had (probably wisely) decided to take the longer route around.

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Well it wouldn’t have been a proper walk if I hadn’t had something a little scary to contend with.

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