We made it then. Dodging the showers and donning the old waterproofs, the birthday boy achieved his wish and "climbed up a really big hill". Ten minutes out of town the gritstone edge that marks the beginnings of the Peak District, rears darkly, and a little forebodingly, skywards from the mossy fields.
From The Roaches, on a clear day, you can see right across the Cheshire Plain and catch the twinkle of the sea at Liverpool, miles and miles away from landlocked Staffordshire. In another direction the curious hill of The Wrekin marks a path to the Black Mountains beyond but in looking a different way, the heather clad Morridge (the moor ridge) fills your view to the horizon.
Our busy boy was in his element, leading the way up the epic crags, gasping with amazement at just how far he could see, peering into the peaty depths of the ridge top pool and wondering if the legendary mermaid might appear to lure him and his brother into the gloom. (Luckily she was otherwise engaged today so we ate our picnic in a sheltered spot and took in the view.
Mum and dad joined us for what turned out to be one of the best family outings ever. Not a cent spent, aside from birthday ice creams from the doting grandparents, and plenty of time to watch, chat, wonder and exclaim at this beautiful place we've known all our lives and still find awe-inspiring.
I don't think we will ever forget this special, simple birthday. Being eight was the "best birthday ever" apparently. Brilliant. xx