University groups often send out emails regarding upcoming events. The most common ones are reminders of small events going on in my college or some fun activities going on throughout the school, but this time I got a new one!
“Weekend hike through the beautiful hills of Ripley!” I came to England with the desire to explore the countryside, so I quickly grabbed a few friends to come along and signed up for the hike.
The day comes, and we all had to be up and ready by 8:30 on a Sunday morning (I don’t know about you lovely folk reading this, but that is TOO DANG EARLY). As I gather my friends, we start to walk to the take-off destination a couple minutes from my dorm. The weather was like you’d expect any British winter morning (or is it winter British morning?) to be like: damp and cloudy. Since I have already been in the UK for about four weeks now, I have grown accustomed to the never-ending overcast, so this was to be expected when I signed up for the trip. All was good, or so I thought.
There was about thirty to forty people in total piling into the bus that would take us a short forty-five-minute drive to our destination of Ripley. This is where I can no longer give detail. Shortly after acquainting my bottom with the bus seat, I passed out (Reminder: 8:30 is TOO DANG EARLY). My friends told me the drive up was absolutely beautiful though! You can just imagine from there.
The next thing I remember is a shake from my mate trying to wake me up. This is when everything took a turn for the worst. I get up, walk off the bus, and get absolutely assaulted with a torrential downpour of heavy rain falling at a massive slant due to the high wind. The wind was basically propelling it sideways. Do you ever just immediately regret agreeing to do something that you don’t normally do?
The leaders of the hike trucked on in this horrible weather while I trailed, reluctantly, in the back of the pack. Luckily, this dreadful rain was on and off for the day and only lasted around ten to fifteen minutes when it was on.
Although the rain put a damper on things, the hike was quite scenic. We walked through the town, passed a castle, through giant passages of farming land, and countless amounts of mud. Countless. I think if I wasn’t walking on a paved road then I was walking on this thick, gooey, basically tar kind of mud. Like the kind of mud where your shoes would come clean off because it would be sucked down so far into the mud (You don’t wanna know what my shoes look like now).
Although the mud was very difficult to walk in, some of the best views could only be seen once you conquered that mud. My favorite view was when we were on this one hill overlooking a valley and over to a different hill. It was so incredible how, even on a foggy day, you could see hundreds of acres of farms, trees, and sheep sprinkled over the land.
When the hike was over, the group went to a nice pub in the heart of the town to relax and refuel before heading home. Fun Fact: the pub had this very cool local brewery pint glass that read, “York Brewery” and had the York skyline on it. I asked if I could purchase one from the manager and he came back with two different local brewery pint glasses and said I can take those and the York one for free. British people are awesome!
After our meal, we piled back into the bus, slept, and was home by four. In the end, the weather in England will always be trash, but even on its worst day, Britain will forever be gorgeous. English Countryside= Stunning.