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Region 1 - YAP: The Peak District

Continuing our new YAP initiative, Region 1 decided to go on a hike to experinece the beatuy of mother nature. With our region being around central london, most of us spend our days, surrounded by man made buildings, towering over us from every angle. We decided to get completely away from the large concrete jungle, and enter a more open area surrounded full of natural beauty, by visiting one of the national parks within our stunning country. As The Peak District is near to Region 5, we asked some of the youth from around the area to join us on this hike. Below is an account from one of the brothers that came with us.

Sai Ram dearest reader. My name is Brana, and I’m one of three youth from New Zealand who has been living in the UK for just over a year now. For all of us, the year has flown by and has been an absolutely life changing experience. We’ve met many wonderful new brothers and sisters within the Sai family and have been treated so well by everyone. Our heartfelt thank you to all of you. This is a bit of a Kiwi write up on a wonderful trip we joined the Region 1 Youth with to the Peak District.

Saturday morning 8am, the group heads off from London in a convoy. Saturday morning 8:30am, and a number of the group have already fallen asleep. Leaving early on a long drive – you’ve got to love it. The group has a wonderful energy to it, with a lot of love and laughter. We stop off for a quick breakie and are off again up the M1. Just as the legs are starting to get sore from inactivity, we’re off the motorway and head towards our meeting point in Chatsworth Park. The whole group is looking forward to spending some quality time in nature. We drive on for another 20-odd minutes before eventually reaching our destination in the beautiful Peak District.

I must admit at this point in time to you dear reader that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’ve since been teased by a few of the youth for the apparent look of disappointment on my face upon arrival. In my defence though, either the name ‘Peak’ District is a slight curve ball, or we have really different definitions of what a ‘peak’ is. But as one of my new brothers points out, you can’t just come from the land of The Lord of the Rings and expect to see the same thing. Having said this though, the place is genuinely beautiful, and I mean that. Not only here, but I can put my hands over my heart and say I really love the English countryside. It reminds me so much of parts of the North Island of NZ, with a different variety of trees and fauna. There seems to be a mentality throughout the country of the grass always being greener on the other side, but the UK really is a beautiful place. The grass is very green in the UK! And I mean that both metaphorically and literally.

The group join forces with some wonderful youth from Region 5 before setting off. Immediately up a gentle hill and past a lovely rock formation, we were revelling in the freshness of the country air. Crossing a highway and up a hill we then stumbled upon a giant sundial with a confusing riddle imprinted on it. None of us could solve the mystery and concluded that someone might have placed it there for a laugh. Things got a bit more exciting when on our path lay a number of cows. No joke, they were actually there, and behind them, a bull with a large nose ring. The animals were beautiful though and had a really peaceful energy to them, quietly munching away on the very juicy green grass of the UK. Their calmness helped us drop the nervousness whilst walking around them. We reached the highest point along the walk (the ‘peak’, you might say) and spent some time gazing at the beautiful and vast valley below us.

These are moments in which we can stop, take a deep breath and really admire the wonder of creation before us. Nature is very special. It is pure life force and consciousness in its own right. Some of my favourite moments in life are standing on top of a mountain and just gazing into the horizon. A quiet moment of gratitude for the present and for everything that has lead you to that very special moment of peace. A look to the skies, and an appreciation of All That Is. Our spiritual connection can be very much internal, and gratitude can be shown purely by thought and heartfelt intent.

Nature allows us to let go and go back to a purer state of being. Away from all of the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle that is London. Away from the noise, and the pollution to a space where the air is pure and the sounds are soft. Where the colours are vibrant and the energies radiant. Where our minds can relax and our heart smiles in silence.

It’s time to leave this space, but not before a photo session or four. Back down the hill, we headed towards the town whilst indulging in samosas, flapjacks, and watching a genuinely fascinating show of border collie vs chicken. We remain uncertain whether these two were fighting of playing. In fact rumour has it that they are still at it. A well-deserved loo break and through a revolving gate we stop for lunch. With acres of green UK grass we were spoilt for choice for where to sit and eat.

Through a valley full of sheep and up a hill we pass a herd of deer looking so beautiful, friendly and graceful. Up and over a couple of stone walls we headed back to the place where it all began. A refreshed mind, body, and spirit. A greater appreciation of nature and animals and a stronger bond within the group, it was time to head back home. Whilst we continue today with our busy lives, the Peak District remains still, wise, full of life, and just waiting to be explored.

Sai Ram, with Love, gratitude and green grass,
Branavan Ravichelvan
Youth