Hello June! One of my favourite months for many reasons and one of those reasons is that it’s my birthday month. Yes, I am a Gemini and I love it. This is technically my second lockdown birthday but this year, it really didn’t feel restrictive or like a lockdown birthday at all - thanks to my incredible family. My day was filled with nonstop surprises! One of those was driving up to the Peak District to eat a picnic with a view and then watch the sunset. The weather could not have been more perfect, with blue skies as far as the eye could see and rolling grassy hills. We even managed to spot a deer as we were driving through the peaks to get to our destination.
We headed to a beautiful spot in Hope Valley called Surprise View and you can see why it was given that name. There’s a car park with disabled parking and at first glance, you may not think it’s accessible, but I can assure you, there is one route that makes accessibility very possible. What makes it even more possible, is the design and skill of the WHILL. I really put the chair through its paces at Hope Valley but even then, it did not fail me - with the added bonus of not needing much battery power to do so. I went out with around 96% and returned with the battery still above 80%, which to me, is pretty good indeed. I think other power chairs would perhaps struggle as the route is narrow with uneven ground. For a heavier chair it would have probably been heavier going and needing someone to give it a push and whilst yes, my Dad helped with a push in some places but it was only a couple of times with minor help. The chair probably could have done it on its own as it went over small, rounded boulders as if they was nothing.
I know this chair is said to not have much suspension but I found that even on that uneven, slightly off-roading terrain, it handled it well but was also a comfortable journey. I did not find myself rockin’ and rollin’ all over the place or being bumped out my seat so I’d say although suspension is not a key listed element, it’s not missing at all that much from this chair. Surprisingly, I got more shake from cobbles.
My parents debated on which chair to bring between my WHILL and my manual as I had no idea of the plan so didn’t know what we were doing or where we were going. They went with the WHILL and I don’t think they could have been more pleased with their decision. In fact, we were talking about it for a while on the way back home saying that if we’d brought my manual, it would have been a tricky trek and not easy going for whoever was pushing as there was certainly a gradient to the route. Of course, that was to be expected, as we wanted to head up to get the best view of the sunset. My family could not sing enough praises about how well my chair handled it. They were very impressed to say the least, as was I. I know I say this often but the WHILL impresses me so much. It seems that, with each test it passes. With each trip, I find out something about it. It’s fair to say I fall in love with this chair a little more with each outing. How did I ever live without it? One of the best purchases I’ve ever made and I’m so incredibly grateful that I was able to find my dream chair.
To be able to get to what felt like the top of the world, was nothing less than incredible and just simply being there gives you a sense of being, a sense of living. We were there, present in that heart-warming moment and place; the memories of which will be with me forever. Memories and creating them with new experiences is something that is very important to me. They not only feel good in the moment but also great for the soul both now and in the long run. The view and sunset from Surprise View paired with our music, good food and nobody around us was simply serene and equally stunning. I’m a lover of sunsets and this birthday sunset did not disappoint one bit. My family know me so well and know the ways to my heart. Nature is so magical. I also love all things celestial and they even had an astrology board in the car park showing what star signs you’d be able to see for the month of June, which I thought was a rather lovely touch. They also had other notice boards with different information relating to routes, the name of the ‘darkest part of the peaks’, what you could see (of which we saw a fair few birds of prey) and other important information.
If you think that the Peak District is completely inaccessible to get to those views at the top then I’m so pleased to tell you that it is very much possible. I would just recommend you bring somebody with you not only to share the moments with but just in case you do need a helping push every once in a while. The amount of opportunities, experiences and places that open up when you have a WHILL seem to be so far, more than I could of dreamed. The possibilities seem to be endless and now that lockdown is lifting, I can’t wait to put that theory into good use and keep exploring! Roll on my 22nd year, adventure is out there!