Hartington Hall (1)

Our journeys from Southend to Hartington and vice versa were unexpectedly good, averaging over 50 mph in each direction. Cars were unloaded, bikes fettled, the clans gathered and we all went to the pub for our evening meal on Friday. Here is a selection of pubbish photos:-

L to R: Clare (overexposed Shocked) Nicole, Papa, Marge (Mrs Alans).

Tom (TBenson of this parish), waitress, Gordy, Joan (Butterfly)

Half of Marge, Tony (Toekneep), Gill (Mrs TKP)

Clare, Vernon and Jackie (Mrs FB)

Joan, Alans, Janet (Mrs Wow)

Rhubarb crumble with Custard!

After a – erm – broken night’s sleep (my radiator sounded as though a small electric motor had been attached to it, and whoever was in the room above us sounded athletic, to say the least) the cycling began. This was a tour of some of the finest railway systems which have been dedicated to leisure use. To Biggin at the beginning, we climbed steeply from the hostel and joined the Tissington Trail,

heading south to Tissington, where the ladies running the tea shop were on their final day’s service, unwillingly apparently, having been ousted from their posts by a rival bid. Even so, the tea and flapjack were of the highest order. We headed east from Tissington, down a couple of chevrons and avoiding the ford, only to find our bikes covered in the finest sheep slurry, so several of us dunked them in the water to removed the offending substance. We went through Bradbourne and straight on to Carsington Water. This reservoir is a fairly recent addition to the delights of Derbyshire and is now one of its main visitor attractions. There were lots of wildfowl, some pretty good coffee, some barnacle geese, and

this kestrel.

Shortly afterwards we adjourned to the Miner’s Arms pub (do ACF rides always end up at the Miner’s Arms?) in Carsington village where everyone else’s food was served, consumed and its devourers ready to go before Jan’s and mine even appeared in front of us. Thus it was that we were even slower than usual up the next hill, which is graced with no chevrons but jolly well feels like it immediately after a large plate of lasagne and chips.

At the top, we joined another ex-railway, the High Peak Trail, and headed roughly north-west back towards Hartington. The scenery was breathtaking at times, but so was the wind, which hampered us accordingly. This whole ride, indeed the entire weekend, was spent in the “White Peak”, based on limestone rock, with its verdant pastures and whiter-than-white dry-stone walls.

The “Dark Peak”, to the north, is of millstone grit and peat bogs, and is an entirely different type of scenery. The boundary between the two is at Edale, with its wonderful caverns, and you can tell which side of the divide a meadow is simply by the colour of the grass. In general, the rain water from the White Peak drains south, towards the Trent, whereas the Dark Peak rivers are tributaries of the Mersey.

None of that bothered us intrepid cyclists though, as we battled through a north-easterly, finally emerging in Parsley Hay, the most northerly point of the ride. As a little light relief, Toekneep and Mrs TKP had a try on our Thorn Raven tandem, and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

From here, we had the most exhilarating ride down Long Dale, in which Jan & I gave the tandem its head, and southwards aye we fled. We crossed the B5054 before returning to the yout Hostel from the east, our highest speed of the day being achieved on the hill into Hartington, a little over 35 mph.

This post has gone on for long enough, so I’ll report on Sunday’s events later.

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