The start of the Pennine Way

The start of the Pennine Way

It was with some trepidation that I set out on my first adventure as a reporter at the Club.

We'd been invited to join the Ramblers at the launch of its Go All Out campaign, which encourages people to say what they like and don't like about walking and being outdoors.

And the launch was in the Pennines. Gulp. Don't get me wrong, I don't scare easily.

I've been a reporter for a long time - I've done the war zone thing, been chased from a building site with a brick, received a dead rat through the post and death threats galore. For goodness' sake, I haven't just dealt with one toddler's tantrums, I even put myself through it again by having a second child! I'm tough!

But this was a whole new ball game. What? I hear you gasp incredulously.

You're afraid of the Pennines? Nope. I'm replying, shaking my head.

Surely not the Ramblers then? Definitely not, I chuckle.

My aversion is... the M6. There, I've said it. I hate it with a vengeance.

Like the M25 (I can never figure out which is clockwise and anti-clockwise, there always seem to be jams!), I believe the M6 is like chicken pox. If you have a bad time of it, it leaves you scarred for life.

I've gone to great lengths to avoid this massive artery that runs through England - one that would have even the best heart surgeon mumbling about "blockages" and being "clogged up". Even heart bypass surgery (the M6 Toll) doesn't always work.

So in true Amy Johnson style, once agreeing to go on the Ramblers' launch, I plotted a new course, albeit a circuitous route from the Club's Coventry HQ.

Unfortunately fate had other ideas. Facing the magazine's deadline, I had to quickly bash out a piece about myself and up against the clock, I had no choice but to meet my enemy head-on. The dreaded M6.

Suffice to say 3.5 hours later, sweaty and bedraggled, I arrived at the Moorlands Centre in Edale, the hub of the action for the Ramblers' launch.

My angst-ridden journey behind me, just ten minutes into the Walk and Talk event, we'd stopped at the fabulous Ramblers Inn for a quick snifter (alright, in my case it was lemonade).

I looked at the assembled group from all walks (excuse the pun!) of life and smiled. Here I was, at a pub, the unseasonally hot autumn sun on my back doing what I love best. Talking to people. And in the most fabulous of locations.

"You haven't been to the Pennines before?" said one man, raising his eyebrows. "Well you've got a real treat in store."

Opening a little creaking gate onto a field which marks the start of the Pennine Way, famed by Wainwright, I looked around me.

The dramatic, naked peaks were lying just a gentle roll away from hills and hedgerows bustling with wildlife.

Sighing dreamily, I inhaled. "You're right," I replied to the man. "I could stay here forever." And not just because of that journey back on the M6, honestly...