The Peak District Tardis
We do very well for outdoor equipment shops in the Peak District. We do particularly well for them in the Hope Valley. A quick mental count up and I reckon there are easily 10 in this little strip of the National Park. Some of them mainly serve the walking community, others are high end mountain shops and several lie in between.
A few of the better shops are at one end of the valley in Hathersage and there’s one or two I sometimes buy from at the other end in our home village of Castleton. In between lies Bamford and fortunately here the choice is very simple. There’s one shop – but fortunately it just happens to be one of the best you’ll find in the area and also one of our favourites.
It sits at the back of the large garden centre in Bamford. There’ll always be a sign at the road, and if you look carefully from the road towards the right hand end of the site you can see it. But, the truth is, it isn’t the showiest of buildings and it would certainly be possible to miss it if you were just driving through. But don’t miss it if you’re in the area because it’s well worth a visit. It’s a gem of a shop called Hitch N Hike.
The outside of the shop is simple and unassuming and I always liken it to Dr Who’s Tardis. Head through the simple doorway and you’re into a huge space with lots of stock from a wide range of quality brands. General camping equipment, a great clothing and footwear selection and a host of climbing and caving kit – it’s all there. Infact the range of technical climbing gear is hard to beat and Hitch N Hike is widely regarded as one of the premier UK caving equipment stockists.
Of course a shop isn’t just about the stock. In Hitch N Hike’s case it’s fair to say it’s been around a while. Actually, Hitch N Hike is the Peak District’s longest established outdoor shop. I’m a great believer in experience and there’s no doubt a store that’s survived this long has built up plenty of it. In truth, one of the main things that keeps me coming back is the quality of service. Nothing is too much trouble and, no matter how tricky the question, I always come away feeling I’ve received great quality advice. If something is unavailable it can be ordered and if there’s something not stocked there’ll try and source it for you. There’s also a great website (find it here) and lots of kit can be ordered online.
Hitch N Hike has survived this long in a competitive market and with lots of online competition – there’s a reason for that!