Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 4: Railways and Ales

After a very blustery night (I honestly thought we would blow over at one point!) at our Brit Stop we awoke to a really rainy murky day which thankfully cheered up by the time we were ready to start our 1 mile drive to the Hartington Station car park of the Tissington Trail. Our plan was to have breakfast there, then a wander, then move back towards the Monsal Trail for the afternoon.

When we arrived at the car park we noticed 2 other motorhomes that had clearly stayed there overnight- and realising it was a nice spot, and that we were tired after our sleepless night we decided to copy! We chatted to the other motorhomers and they said we’d be fine to stay there, so we did. And we were. In fact, we had a great time- we walked from Hartington to Biggin, had a lavish meal at the Waterloo Inn in Biggin, and some beers ( well we were out of supplies!) wandered back, fell into a deep sleep, awoke about 8pm, had a sandwich and went back to sleep until 7am!!! It’s a hard life!

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We really enjoyed walking down the section of the Tissington trail, and it’s such a nice time to enjoy these trails as they aren’t too busy!

Next morning, we headed to Matlock, via Tissington

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Tissington is very pretty- it’s a good job, as it took us two attempts and a 15 mile detour to get there!! We missed the turnoff and then got locked into a small road where we couldn’t turn round! Never mind, in the process we saw some lovely little villages.

Matlock Bath- hmm, I’d been looking forward to showing Keefy round Matlock Bath having spent many a happy childhood days here. I don’t know if it was because we were out of season visiting (although still school hols??), whether since last visiting I’ve visited other nicer places, whether I just wasn’t in the mood, or what- but I couldn’t stand it there! No! I’m sorry Matlock, Derbyshire, fellow Midlanders – I just wasn’t feeling it there. It didn’t help that we wanted to go on the cable cars but just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay £14 EACH when we had already payed £4.40 in the car park, that we weren’t even supposed to be in due to the weight of our vehicle exceeding 2.5 tonnes but having no other options so had too.

Cor, it really cheeses me off when you see signs forbidding motorhomes to park tourist towns. Do councils not realise the majority of motorhomers have a disposable income that they want to spend in their town?? And that by putting up a sign preventing them to park there means people who are driving expensive vehicles (expensive vehicle= money to spend surely??) are unable to park in their town and therefore spend money?? Argh, this country needs to wake up and provide decent parking for large vehicles ie motorhomes rather than treat us like scum. Sorry rant over

Not wanting to waste our car park fees, or be defeated, but feeling nervous due to the signs all the same, we wandered the town but not fancying fish and chips at 10am or playing the amusements (that’s pretty much all there was shop wise) we settled on a chocolate shop and a fancy hot chocolate. Once ordered we went to pay on card and she didn’t accept card, so we spent 20 mins and 3 failed attempts at broken cash points, before trying somewhere else. Same problem, no card payments only cash. By this time, not to mention my run in with the tourist info lady who couldn’t tell me whether we could walk up the hill or not, I was ready to jump ship.

Sorry Matlock Bath, I feel like I’ve betrayed you, I still have my many happy memories of visiting here, but unfortunately this time won’t be added to those memories. Maybe another time?

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By this time, my mood had plummeted which I took out on the top up food shop at Sainsburys in Matlock- returning with Ben and Jerry’s, cakes, crisps, you name it. Meanwhile, Keith had been studying the Brit Stop book, the road atlas and google, and in a desperate attempt to salvage the day, we hit the M1 southbound, bidding fairwell to lovely Derbyshire and heading for BritStop 505- nr to the site of the Battle of Bosworth, where King Richard III died, and a site we’ve been wanting to visit for ages.

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As luck would have it, they were serving one of the finest Ales I’ve tasted yet- Old Trip, a fellow Nottinghamer and after several pints my mood lifted and all thoughts of Matlock had drifted away and the day had been saved.

I’m not going to lie, I definitely am a lightweight these days, as I awoke with a mammoth ale head this morning! Whoops! And although Keith denies he was hanging, the joys of being in a small confined space like a motorhome means I heard him rummaging in the early hours for a sneaky annadin extra or two!! Busted!

The weather once again was on our side, so we set off to the Bosworth battlefield Heritage Site nice and early. The visiter centre has won lots of awards and I can see why- it was well presented and had lots of interactive features to help you guide your way through the history surrounding the death of Richard III, including some archeological finds from excavations on the battlefield itself. It was interesting and good value for money, however I would have preferred not to have to pay £2.50 to park in their carpark given that we were already paying £7.95 each to get in! I really hope that doesn’t make me sound cheap!

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Anyway, all in all, a great end to a brilliant week away! We’ve been beyond lucky with the weather, met some lovely fellow motorhomers, walked some terrific trails, ate and drank in some awesome pubs, and generally rested and recharged our batteries.

All thoughts are now turning towards our Easter adventure- Scotland! Whooo

So, thanks for reading, feel free to comment and enjoy the rest of your weekend, oh and sorry for the rant!

Until next time

Lx

Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 3: Railways and Ales

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at home, having a well earned rest having driven 500 miles over the last week!

We’ve had a wonderful week, and have been very lucky with the weather, hence the lack of blog posts- we’ve been out and about, eating, drinking and napping!! Oh, and I actually started and finished a book I’d been wanting to read, which is what holidays are all about aren’t they?!

So, let’s rewind back to Tuesday morning, when we set off from our lovely little campsite and head off to visit the very pretty Spa town of Buxton.

We spent an enjoyable couple of hours wandering round the sites

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and enjoyed a coffee and people watch outside a cafe on the high street. We were gutted to realise that the one and only Brian May was playing at the opera house the following day, but unfortunately and not surprisingly, it was all sold out.

After lunch we set off towards The Snake Pass, an interestingly named pass that caught our eye on the map, that was to take us towards the Derwent Dam/Ladybower Resevoir. I’d read a little about this famous Resevoir, and knew Keefy would enjoy visiting, as a history lover I knew he would be keen to see for himself where the Dambusters practiced. Being a slight self confessed air head, and having never seen a real dam before (I don’t think) I hadn’t quite understood how large it would be and spent the first 15 mins feeling a bit underwhelmed

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Once I realised I was looking at the the wrong thing…durrr, I was genuinely impressed and excited- it really is an impressive bit of engineering and is huge- and I would highly recommend visiting if you are in the area.

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It’s was soon getting time for our traditional holiday nap, so we hit the road towards Castleton, with the intention of finding somewhere to wildcamp so that we were close to the attractions for the next day.

After a little bit of exploring we settled on a spot overlooking Castleton near to Mam Tor, and settled in for a night of Criminal Minds.

Next day, we awoke to thick fog- which was disappointing seeing as we were hoping to walk up Mam Tor BEFORE breakfast (yes you read that right..)
Doing the very British thing, we decided we wouldn’t let a bit of fog put us off, so donned our walking gear and set off up to the peak.

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I’m not entirely sure how we are both smiling at this point, being that it was before 8am and we couldn’t see a thing, but we were and even though we were disappointed we laughed all the way down )those of you that know me well, il let you decide how true you think that statement is…)
After a rewarding bacon and egg butty and a chat with the motorhomer parked next door, we head on down to the pretty village of Castleton for a wander, and to find a cave to explore.

It’s a very pretty town, with Mam Tor (known as the Shivering mountain to locals) in the backdrop

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The tourist information here couldn’t have been more friendly, helpful and dog loving- Jazz was allowed in and of course lapped up all the attention from the ladies who worked there! Having chatted to the TI lady we decided on visiting the Blue John Caves – the main factor in this decision being that we could take Jazz, the well travelled pampered pooch in.

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We enjoyed the visit, but wonder if we’ve been spoilt with other caves we visited elsewhere- it was nice to take Jazz in, we enjoyed walking down (and up again!) the 245 stairs to get to the bottom, but we both left feeling it was a little overpriced perhaps?

Seeing as we were a the top of the hill ( The Winnats Pass)

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It was well worth the second walk up the view was spectacular.

By now, it was coming up towards nap time again, and so we programmed the sat nav with a pub we’d seen in the Brit Stop book located near the Tissington Trail ready for tomorrow. After a nap, a couple of pints, a chat with another motorhomer also staying, we were worn out and so hit the sack!

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Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 2: Edges and Ales

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on a lovely hard standing pitch with panoramic views on…..wait for it…. A………CAMPSITE!

We are pitched up for the night on the very pretty, and extremely good value Beech Croft Farm Caravan and Campsite

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During winter months, we can manage 2-3 nights without hookup/ water/ loos, then we need a night on site to empty, re fill, charge etc. So, here we are, and first impressions are very good! Especially for just £18 for the night.

So yesterday, we made an early start and drove the 5 miles from our Britstop to another pub, The Robin Hood Inn which was the starting point of the walk we were doing and where we had pre booked a table for dinner, and during the process of booking asked if we could stay overnight in the car park, to which they obliged.

We set off on our “Edges and Ales” walk and couldn’t believe how lucky we were with the weather!

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It was a lovely walk which took in Bircham Edge, Chatsworth Estate and then Dobb Edge although we both found it tough as we are out of practice with the ol hill walking! Mind you, my homemade sloe gin helped!

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When we got to the Chatsworth House estate there was a big trail hunt about to start, and we were offered mulled wine and cake! Which was very welcome by that point I can tell you!

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We carried on the walk and got back to Bluebell feeling a bit like this…..

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One advantage to parking our motorhome in the pub car park was that we could both shower and change before dinner! We went in early for dinner and enjoyed a couple of pints of Pedigree before. The menu was lovely and we both were near enough foaming at the mouth by the time our parsnip and honey soup came out! I followed the soup with Sirloin of Roast beef and Keefy had homemade fish and chips and we both had homemade treacle tart with whiskey cream and ice cream for pud. The meal was gorgeous and the ale slipped down very well indeed!!

After “one for the road” we stumbled back to our room for the night and fell into a deep snooze! Must have been all that fresh air!!

We had a chilled and quiet evening and managed to escape hangover thankfully!

This morning the weather wasn’t so bright, so we decided to have a drive and then check in to the site at the earliest opportunity, in this case 12pm.

We drove up through Froggart, then to Bakewell, where we nearly stopped, but it was packed busy and we’ve both been before, so carried on to the quieter but equally as pretty Ashford in the Water

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then Monsal Head viewpoint

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We’re now all settled on our campsite, re charging and chilling – after all the weathers a bit gloomy and we are on holiday so are quite happy to have a day of doing not much!! 🙂 ***

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*** edit 5:30pm***

Us being us, got bored of chilling by roughly 2pm, so decided to see what walks were around from the site. We knew were close to the famous Monsal trail but didn’t realise we were within walking distance. A quick cross reference on streetmap and the memory map and a donning of the waterproofs and we were off.

We did a 3.5 mile circuit in 1.5 hrs- it took us across the moor

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Down into the gauge and onto the Monsal trail

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Along the trail and through some cool tunnels

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And back up a hill to the campsite!

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Not forgetting past the campsites very own dog and muddy boot wash! (Much to the disapproval of Jazz!)

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The sun has now set, and it’s most certainly time for a beer!

Until next time

Lx

Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 1: The Crooked Spire of Chesterfield

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up in the car park at BritStop 518 (2914 book) overlooking the Derbyshire Dales and the town of Chesterfield.

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We didn’t leave Norfolkshire til lunchtime as we’d had a busy day yesterday moving Keefy’s mum. We weren’t in a major rush, as all we wanted to do was see the Crooked Spire of Chesterfield, and then chill and have a couple of beers in the pub.

It was a very blustery journey across the fens, but we still made good time, despite us rarely going about 50mph. We passed through rain and sun then rain again, but by the time we reached Chesterfield we had a break in the rain so found a car park right by the church and so set off for a quick explore.

The spire really is worth a visit to see, the crook in it is believed to becau sed by untreated timber being used when it was built 700 yrs ago- it’s very Tim Burton like.

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After a good circuit round the church ( there wasn’t much else to see in town) we drove the 4 miles or so out of town to our rural retreat of a pub which is on a hill so overlooks the valley. We had a good chill, watched a film, napped, went for a couple of beers and watched the International Space Station pass overhead, then turned in for the night.

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It was so peaceful during the night, and this morning we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise over the valley. We are feeling chilled to the max, and are looking forward to driving up to near to a Chatsworth house today for a good walk – and weathers looking promising so hurrah!

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In other news, I’m somehow picking up 4G from here which is a first for me, and although we weren’t able to pick up wifi from this site, my 4G on my phone is tethered to my ipad and Keith’s ipad and seems to be powering it very impressively. Currently I’m online uploading photos and writing this blog post, and Keith is online streaming music from Spotify, and enjoying his new Bluetooth speakers, which are fab btw (more on those another time). I will just have to keep an eye on my data allowance! :-/

Have a great Sunday folks, and happy half term to fellow teachers out there!

Until next time

Lx