February 4th- 6th
Gandalf the VW is parked up alongside his pal, Hiilda the Hymer (my Dad and Step Mum’s) motorhome and we’re nestled behind The Waterloo Inn in Biggin, Derbyshire, cashing in our Christmas present from them- a camping weekend.
We’re staying at the Waterloo Inn campsite, conveniently located just behind the pub. The site is fairly basic, but does have hard standing pitches, heated showers and loos, a washing up shack, usual waste emptying facilities, miles up on miles of walks and bike rides on its doorstep; and of course the (dog friendly) pub complete with log fire within staggering distance. What more could we possibly need?! Some decent weather was on our wish list, but honestly, having been grounded due to a broken big toe and even ending up on crouches for some of January, I really couldn’t care less about the weather. I was just ready for an adventure and to see some hills!
We had a great journey up from Norfolk on Friday morning, arriving at the site just in time for lunch. Following lunch, we had a walk down to Hartington, a pretty little village with a nice and cosy pub, The Devonshire Arms.
We had a quick dram – it had to be a quick one as the daylight was fading fast, before making our way back up the track to Biggin ready for dinner in the pub.
The Waterloo Arms was unpretentious and exceptionally friendly. We instantly were made to feel welcome and the food was nice too. Keith and I enjoyed the local banger of the week from the butchers nearby at Stanage Edge. We enjoyed our evening in the pub catching up with Dad and Jenny, so engrossed we were with our company we had no idea that snow had fallen whilst we’d been inside!
Friday night was exceptionally peaceful on site and we all slept well.
Saturday arrived, and whilst it was a bit blowy and chilly, it was dry- so we unloaded our bikes, and after breakfast baps, hit the very nearby Tissington Trail.
The Tissington Trail is an old disused railway line, now turned into recreational track. The surface was ideal for our E bikes, and the scenery was stunning. The more exposed sections offered panaromic views of the The Peak District, as we whizzed by Alsop dale and beyond.
Some sections had terrifically tall and steep sides- the path (old track) cutting through the limestone like a knife. There were huge railways bridges for us to cycle under too.
The only problem was the rapidly deteriorating weather- it was blowing a hooley to put it lightly, and actually blooming cold wet and a bit miserable. We explored Tissington, a very pretty little village with picture perfect stone cottages and small lanes and a hall now used as a venue, and also a duck pond.
We nipped into the butchers, and enjoyed our picnic lunch…. in the bus shelter, which was a very welcome relief as it was FREEZING.
We had considered carrying on slightly further to Ashbourne, however we had done 7 miles already – some of which were hard work with the high cross winds, and also Dad didn’t have an E Bike so was struggling with the weather conditions on his bike. We all agreed we’d had enough for one day, and would rather finish and feel happy weather than carry on a bit further and begin to feel unhappy/ratty.
So we made our way back the way we came, along the Tissington Trail back to our new temporary local, where the roaring fires awaited us and a top shelf bottle of Jura to warm us up.
Despite the weather, it hadn’t dampened our spirits, and once warmed up I think we all felt a huge satisfaction about our day’s adventure. Keith and I really enjoyed the scenery along the way and I’m sure in warmer and dryer weather this would be a brilliant activity to enjoy.
Dinner was a delicious beef brisket pot roast and we followed this by an earlyish night! Unfortunately our neighbours on the site did NOT have an early night and we were awoken several times by campfire singing and general noise. However – they were in TENTS! So clearly Needed to get wasted I think to cope! 🤣
Sunday dawned, and despite it absolutely lashing it down during the night, we awoke to fairly ok weather, so had a quick early breakfast and donned our walking boots. The campsite we’re being generous and allowing us to have a later check out. We enjoyed a terrific walk down through Biggin Dale- which reminded me and Keefy of something out of Lord of the Rings, with its green mossy banks and stone and scree banks.
As we had set off early we had the place to ourselves. If we had had more time, we could have extended the walk to either Hartington or Milldale in the opposite direction – however the river was a reminder of how rough the weather had been – you could hear it quite a distance away, it was thrashing though the valley.
Our return route was a retracing of our steps, or rather a sliding back to the pub- the grass path was really muddy and slippy in places with both Keefy and Jenny going over a couple of times. Still – we loved it. I really feel invigorated in this scenery, and having had a number of weeks being unable to even do the mile dog walk loop, just being out and feeling the wind and cold on my face and some scenery was brilliant. We had sunday lunch in the pub before retrieving Gandalf the VW and Hiiilda the Hymer, saying our farewells and retreating back to Norfolk, just in time to unload before it got dark.
A splendid weekend away.
We’d recommend the campsite for walking/cycling around the Tissington/Hartington area. Its no frills, but did the job superbly!
Until Next Time – which is in less than 5 days… eek!