366 – Sunday 8th May 2016: A Peak District Pastoral Scene
UK weather is so good at the moment – 25 C has been achieved – it makes everywhere look definitely Summer-ish – bluebells are still in evidence… En route to our next CL some 20 miles away, we drove to Bakewell. You cannot visit Derbyshire without getting a Bakewell tart! Well, actually a Pudding as they are here. The first car park was crammed – but a helpful attendant gave us directions to another near a large car boot sale. Loads of room there – and we lunched al fresco. It was absolutely steaming hot and Bakewell was teeming with people – all good for business but not so good for navigating the little streets – thankfully pedestrianised. Why is it that as soon as the sun comes out, the English strip off virtually all they can and then burn? We saw very interesting sock and T-Shirt red marks. Forays into Boots and a little craft market yielded some goodies – and K sent Maddy a Bakewell tart (pudding) by post!
We motored on to a CL farm – in the most picturesque setting. Our pitch looked out over an uninterrupted view across rolling fields and pastures. Our booking was for 3 nights and we immediately asked if we could stay for longer – yes was the answer. The cattle were being herded in for the evening and we looked out over the setting sun. Our year-long journey has seen some spectacular sights – but the English countryside in Spring and nice weather does take some beating. Bucolic ?
“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea
The ploughman homeward winds his weary way
And leaves the the world to darkness and to me”
Perfect for our scene – Thomas Gray – 1745-ish.
From the bridge into Bakewell: hordes of people!
More hordes and several ‘The Original” Bakewell Pudding shops!
Our Certificated Location near Fridem. Immaculate….
… with rolling views.
367 – Monday 9th May 2016: Tissington Trail Bike Ride
Another stunning day greeted us in the a.m. The plan was to take to the bicycles for the first time since Rome. There is a series of cycle paths in the area based on disused railway tracks – thanks to Dr Beeching in the 60s. The Tissington Trail looked promising – and not too hilly. I undertook some bike maintenance – tyre pumping, lubricating gears and chains, etc. I donned cycling leggings complete with nappy (padding) – proposed distance was about 20 odd miles after all…and my saddle could take part in a BDSM fashion show! Now James – there may be young people reading… Mummy – “What’s BDSM?” “Well dear – it’s short for “Bedroom Display of Social Maintenance” – a sort of restful activity for husbands and wives…”
Back to cycling… the track was flat and well gravelled – lots of fellow wheelers out and about – we had the perception that we were travelling slightly downhill… A pee stop at Hartington and on towards Tissington, gently. (I will find a cycling poem, later maybe…). Now, Tissington is famous for ‘Welldressing’. hen K told me – I thought I would be quite disgracefully underdressed – especially in my nappy leggings… A series of water wells in the village are decorated at this time of year as an ancient ritual to pray for water. They commemorate various events – war memories, religious themes, etc. Unusual and quite attractive though. Lunch in the sun sitting against a stone wall – excellent K-made soup as always. A pint and crisps in the local pub completed our repast – and we saddled up for the slightly uphill return.
A very gentle uphill cycle homeward – accompanied by a bracing crosswind – and meeting the cyclists whom we saw on the downward trip earlier. A super supper awaited – slow cooked whilst we meandered our ways… we finished the evening watching the rest of “The spy who came in from the cold” – and thence to the nuptial bed…..
“The curfew rolls the bell of parting wheels
The blowing bard winds slowly o’er the lea
The wheelers homeward weave their weary way
And leave the path to Katherine and to me”
James Clune – circa 2016 – apologies to Thomas Gray – and to our reader !
The dressing can take a week to complete. Clay has to be kept wet so petals, stones etc can be inserted. The frames are then moved to the wells.
The Tissington well dressing was this week so a sign pronounced ‘Tissington is Open for Business’. Temporary car parks, cafes and the coach loads were shipped in. A super day out for the Womens’ Institute … J and I felt very young! This cafe was doing a bumper trade in tea and lunches … no pub in the village! We had to cycle to of the village to find a pub with ‘tourist’ prices :(.
The thing about the Peak District is that is just rolls on and on … dry stone walls, fields with cattle or sheep and a sheer sense of space. You can certainly breathe up here.
368 – Tuesday 10th May 2016: A ‘Down’ (Pour) Day
Weather has done an about turn: Cloudy to start and the it has just rained and rained, and rained some more. One of the joys of not having to cram everything in on a two week holiday is that you can be guided by the weather. Today we were … a late start … first opportunity for a serious lie in since arriving in the UK. A few leisurely jobs:
- Organised CL sites to stay on whilst in the Peak District.
- We are all sorted to meet up with Kerstin and her mother for a night near Knutsford.
- Booked onto some Wildcamping.co.uk meets: Rutland and the Highlands.
- Organised our trip back to Bristol to drop Chardonnay for more works.
- Booked into the ever accommodating Aged P’s
- Booked to see motorhome friends, Frances and Edward, who we just kept meeting up with in Italy
- And to have lunch with another motorhomer, Penny.
- And, and booked … and several CL sites in between. We have not taken the plunge and wild camped yet in the UK and have been conscious that a lot of the CLs seem to get booked up now, especially around the weekends.
- Chardonnay is now sparkly clean on the inside too … a good day’s work.
What did I just say about allowing weather to dictate our activities? I think it just did! And K’s not set a foot outside!
The Storm by Christopher Bunton
A Storm rolled across the field,
Flashing lightning and thunder pealed.
The rain came crashing down,
and I almost nearly drown,
cause the top of my tent was not sealed.
Fortunately, Chardonnay is snug and water tight!
369 – Wednesday 11th May 2016: Quintessentially England Walk
A Walk (again) in Middle England……we parked in Ashbourne neatly overhanging the grass and taking up only one space. Part of the Tissington Trail – lots of ups and downs – plenty of bluebells and wild garlic – and nearing (sensing?) the end of our tour – a PH ! – yes – a Public House, the Okeover Arms – for some post picnic lunchtime sustenance.
Ashborne: once the confluence of 6 major couching routes, which generate a pub plethora … if there is such a thing! This is the rare scaffold sign of the Green Man & Black Head Inn. Too early to stop!
Sorry tickled me …of course fold don’t business hours when they die.
The village of Thorpe kindly provided benches for our lunch stop and this was our quintessential English view.
The River Dove. Or is it the River of Love? Loving the area.
We have been reminded how so much of England is mixed tree varieties.
The Tour Leader spots a detour by way of the Okeover Arms PH.
370 – Thursday 12th May 2016: Cycling the High Peak Trail
Creaking brakes, dodgy gears – didn’t prevent me from launching on to the High Peaks Trail… K’s bike is fine though – mine needs some professional TLC soon. We appreciated the major engineering and construction works that were necessary to build these railways – good old British engineering, again. Fresh air lunch overlooking the village of Cromford and beyond to Matlock – this is England in the Spring! And it can’t possibly get any better.
The Hight Peak Trail, once a railway track needed serval steam powered engine houses to haul the trains up steep inclines. This one at Middleton Top houses a restored working beam engine. We had an ice cream!
Lunch view looking down onto Cromford. The large house in the middle was built by Arkwright but he died before it was completed. Top left and hazy is Matlock.
371: Friday 13th May 2016: Derwent Valley and Cromford Canal Walk
AM – short run along part of the High Peak Trail and then we dropped J’s bike off in Matlock for repair. Having driven through Matlock and Matlock Spa, we don’t feel the need to return. We then motored to Cromford and walked – uphill steeply! Pretty fields and houses – and everything seemed uphill – to the Black Rocks – near our lunchtime spot of yesterday. We declined to walk a very steep downhill section – question – if uphill is an ‘incline’ – why is downhill not a ‘decline’? I was declining uphill all day, somehow… In the PM, I reclined for a while, dreaming of inclines. Was I inclined to decline any more inclines? Never !
The STEEP climb back up to the Black Rocks and passed the outside privy … hope there is a window the other side for the view!
Water was pumped from the River Derwent by the Leawood Pump House into the Cranford canal
372: Saturday 14th May: A Move a Little Further North & Eurovision
We had to leave our amazing CL site, as it was fully booked. Plan A: We planned to walk from Ilam Park to Dovedale, but the place was heaving. Really dense with bodies. The campsite managers told me there must be some serious walking event on as the National Trust car park was full by 7.00am. We could have attempted to park on rough ground up the hill, but decided to abort as there were just so many people. We drove to our next CL at Eyam via Buxton … to buy a cheap radio so we could listen to Eurovision. Buxton also had no appeal, (it had not appealed to J when he visited years ago either) so we did not linger.
This site is also on a working farm and there is the constant baying of the cattle and the bird song … and another lovely view … rolling away from us. We decided (actually J did!) that we would not walk from here as Plan B. So Plan C evolved …. slowly. A leisurely afternoon pottering. We did not want to exhaust ourselves with the up coming excitement of Eurovision! We attempted a score sheet, but it soon became irrelevant as J gave all performers a minus number, until challenged and then they received a big fat Zero. All nonsense and rigged, but still very good fun. We understand that America would like to join in. We suspect they would take it seriously.
Late in the evening, as K rediclined horizontally in the NB (nuptial bed), I threw in the Eurovision towel as Australia batted to an exciting victory – only to discover in the am – that Ukraine had bowled them out in the final innings! UK had trailed in – not quite last – Ireland had not even qualified!!