An exam in two days, little confidence in my knowledge for said exam. Perfect time to embark on a 3 hour forest walk!
Dalamere forest was a place I frequently visited as a child with my family. It always have such precious memories surrounding it. We would bundle into the car, arrive and have an explore together, then wander off to a little near by cafe for ice cream & drinks. The little cafe has gone now, I had to inform Mum upon return. It was always so magical. The expanse, surroundings & feeling of just being completely submersed into nature is something I will always cherish.
Stephen had visited before but we hadn't experienced it together. I had been nagging him for some time, so while it was a nice day (for Manchester, 'nice' means 'not raining') we decided yes. After a labour intensive morning for Stephen moving couches, he returned, showered whilst I made sandwiches for us both (what era is this??), and we left.
Dalamere is quite secluded and takes many a windy roads to find it. Stephen took the opportunity to have a car strop, exclaiming 'This could not be a 60mph road, I can't even see'. Shortly after a car came so close we ended up nearly inside the bush covering the roads perimeter. Meanwhile I was taking sheer joy in being surrounded by cows, horses, sheep and chickens; oblivious of Stephens bubbling car & general life rage.
After an hour drive in a boiling car with the smell of the oil leak setting the ambiance, we arrived. Setting off to the nearest entrance, we relaxed immediately. I always feel the same around nature. I began a deep chat about how magical it all is. One tiny seed into the ground grows these immensely tall & organically strong trees. They're all unique, self sustained and would withstand most eventualities.
We set sights on a lake in the distance, Stephen on his bff google maps setting coordinates & landmarks for the journey. Not literally, but he would take delight in doing so.
We had to lurk around not so subtly to take this picture. By subtle, I mean we waited & stared at another couple until they had finished their photo shoot & it was our turn on the picture-perfect bench. The view was incredible. We saw across the whole lake & the hours it would take us to walk around it. 3, in total. In 24*c heat. Wearing jeans, carrying a heavy backpack & walking at Stephen's lanky leg appropriate speed.
As sweet as this picture is & it is one we both treasure, the situation following it was strange. We tried again for another one. Stephen was in position, I was setting the self time & two men walked up to him and thought I would take a picture of those three. One of them put their arms around Stephen & was a little too intrusive, people are strange. I did suggest if he wanted a forest shower or a quick lake bath but he resisted. Shame, I would have loved to have seen him jeans deep in the lake.
Stephen took it upon himself to climb over a questionably safe log over a pretty grim river. I did little to help but took the opportunity to document it, incase of any accidents I would be able to remind him 'Oh remember when we were in the forest and you broke a log because you'd been eating too much Hagen Daz?'
Also, that water bottle. We had no idea we would be walking for 3 hours, out of the flat for 5 1/2. That 350ml had to last us both the whole time. He took the rationing too literally. You would have thought we were in the Sahara; 'No you drink it, you need it more' 'We've got this much left to last us 1 1/2 hours, can we last?' 'I need more water, why didn't we bring more water?!'.
He's a pwetty little boi. Those precious freckles though!
Two days after this, he had an overly foreign woman who struggled to understand his posh boy accent whip off 90% of his hair before he had even finished explaining what he wanted. He now looks like he's pushing retirement age.
We both love being outside, walking & exploring. It was such a precious day, one of my favourites we've had together.