Peveril Castle and Cave Dale, Peak District, England

Posted on
Sep 13, 2015
 
Posted in: Attractions


When compared to the rich history that all but assaults you when you’re in England, Peveril Castle isn’t that interesting. Built by Henry II in 1176, it was one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses. It would change hands over the years, moving in and out of royal control. By the end of the fourteenth century, its materials were stripped for reuse elsewhere, marking the start of the castle’s decline (at one time, it was even used to shelter animals).


And so it seems fair to ask why I was climbing up a steep slope to reach the top, bracing myself against cold wind and drizzle that passed for summer in the Peak District. It had nothing to do with the castle itself, but rather the view it afforded. From the top I could see sweeping views of Hope Valley and Cave Dale.


It was lush and green, and familiar to me though I’d never been here before – I’d seen this landscape hundreds of times throughout my childhood.


It was here that Buttercup pushed the Dread Pirate Roberts, not realizing it was Westley. It was tumbling down this green slope that he yelled “Aaaaaaaaas yooooooooooou wiiiiiiiiiish,” revealing his identity as her long lost love.

 

She would throw herself down after him when she realized her error – an action that was baffling to me as a kid.

 

Now, in my adulthood, I am more accepting of this scene. You follow your love. You don’t think about where it takes you.



In this case, Rand was following me. Left with a few spare days in England, I told him that I wanted to visit the filming locations of The Princess Bride. And while he did not respond with those three words Westley uttered so many times to his beloved, he might as well have.

We were alone when we reached the top of the hill where Peveril stood. Just us, a tower of ancient rock, and the soft sound of rain. I stared at the hills, I breathed in the air, I struggled against the incomprehension that accompanies visiting a place you didn’t realize actually existed.


Eventually a school group would make the climb up – impervious to the rain and the steepness of the ascent, their shouts and laughter permeating the stillness like the cries of birds. They would pass us as we plodded down, breaking whatever spell nostalgia had cast for me.

But for a little while it was just me and my beloved.



The man who had driven me out here, to a place entirely remote and – if I’m to be painfully honest – rather devoid of interest to anyone but the most avid Princess Bride fans. Who climbed up a hill in the wind and rain and cold. Who did not complain, who never once asked what the hell we were doing there. Who responds to all of my requests, no matter how unreasonable, in the same manner:

As you wish.



I don’t know if Peveril is worth seeing for most of you. I only know that I wanted to see it, and that, miraculously, was enough for him.

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