A peek at The Peaks!
What did we need to know about The Peak District? First thing was the weather forecast. We have a bad track record for getting stranded in snow so if there was the slightest risk of the white stuff, we’d avoid the area like the plague. Fortunately, all was good apart from rain and high winds which we were more than familiar with by now.
Our first stop over was The Dog Inn which belongs to the Brit Stop Scheme. We were too late for food but we enjoyed a couple of pints of local ale in the friendly bar before settling down for a quiet nights sleep in the corner of their vast car park.
Monday is market day in Bakewell with over a hundred stalls advertised. Alas on a cold, rainy January afternoon, most of the stall holders had begun packing up by the time we arrived but we whiled away an hour or so exploring the town. A quirky surprise was the canal bridge weighted down by thousands of padlocks or lovelocks as they’re known. The phenomenon that has lovers of all ages pledging their troth by attaching a padlock adorned with their names, locked forever or at least until some grumpy council employee comes along and cut them all off. I’m happy to say romance is alive and well in Bakewell and the bridge is quite wonderful.
We consulted the trusty app park4Night and located a remote car park which looked perfect for sleeping in. We made our way there and tucked ourself away by an ancient stone wall, overlooking the lush green valley below.
Our peaceful Nightstop
We are both sleeping so much better in Ada, more soundly than we have for years. The black out blinds work a treat and the mattress on our big island bed is fabulous.
Matlock Bath was our first stop on Tuesday morning. being winter, it was a bit bleak, I can picture it, lively and bustling at the height of summer but this time of year, many shops were shut and there was an air of neglect about the place so we didn’t hang around long. Having said that, we found the most superb coffee shop named F’Coffee where we enjoyed a fab brunch.
Great Coffee, Free WiFi & Fabulous Food!
Matlock itself was much more impressive. What a beautiful place brimming with small independent shops. We stopped at Rubigo for our afternoon pint, which is rapidly becoming a ‘thing’. It was our sort of place and we could have stayed there for hours but we had to drive Ada to an overnight pitch. We found ourselves back at the same spot as the night before as it had been so perfect with a commitment to travelling further afield the next day.
By this time we were thinking about filling up with water, emptying the toilet cassette and doing some laundry. We decided to give a camping and caravan club site a try and booked into Castleton for two nights. Our route took us past Mamm Head and down though Winnats Pass, an incredibly steep limestone gorge, it was breathtaking!
It was early afternoon so we stopped at The George inn for the usual pint; sitting beside a crackling fire with a pint of Black Sheep ale and a vegan burger.
His and Hers Pint of The Day As the light began to fade, we explored the parish church which dates back to the 1700’s. I find simple functional churches so much more spiritual than those adorned with brass, gold and marble. The Christmas flowers and decorations had been removed but the crib was still by the alter, brightly lit, it stood out beautifully against the dark shadows and stained glass windows.
Castleton Parish Church
We had a slight mishap thanks to the inbuilt satnav, which we are beginning to realise is not exactly reliable. Yet again we found ourselves, driving up a green lane and having to do a three point turn to avoid driving into a muddy field. After abandoning technology and looking at an actual map, I managed to work out where we had gone wrong and with relief we managed to find the caravan and motorhome club site. Ada looked very muddy compared to all the other pristine vans but in our eyes she had never looked more beautiful!