August 15, 2016

Good Days: cycling in the Peak District!

Sometimes you get days which are just plain old bad days. Maybe some bad news, maybe a bad vibe, bad conversations, bad feelings, bad outlook. So that being said, it’s worthwhile celebrating Good Days.

Lee and I had one the other day. As I said in my previous post, I love the holidays but what I really do not like is the boredom that ensues after days on end in the house. Limited funds for us mean no summer holiday this year so whilst Lee carries on his usual day to day routine at home where he works from the office, periodically catching up with Americans during the day and night, I sit on the sofa,  repeatedly going back to Series 1 Episode 1 of Grey’s Anatomy wondering whether to do it to myself all over again. My boredom is due to lack of money and, at times, lack of motivation. So I planned us a day out that wouldn’t cost the earth and would require a large amount of motivation!

A couple of years ago, during another summer holiday, I visited my parents in the Peak District whilst they were camping and exploring many a bike trail. Along with my Auntie, Uncle and 4 cousins, we hired bikes for the day and cycled along the Monsal Trail. The trail begins near Buxton (yep, famous for the water) and ends in the quaint village of Bakewell (yep, famous for the tart). Now guys, I am by no means a fitness fan. I have zero motivation for most forms of exercise and my lack of discipline (and biceps) is testament to this. However, this 17 mile round trip, is fairly flat, and an easy ride even for a beginner like me. Cycling through the old railway tracks you will go over bridges, through tunnels and weave in and out of walkers and their dogs making good use of that bell!

As part of his job, Lee works with a lot of Americans and it always amazes me how dumfounded they are when they come to the UK and exclaim how green it is. We really do take the lush countryside for granted and there is plenty of lush countryside in the Peak District. Similarly, I grew up in the county of Dorset which I never realised was so green and vast until I moved to a big city. So cycling through this landscape, literally through as we entered and emerged from the old railways tunnels, felt exhilarating and far from feeling trapped on the sofa.

We hired our bikes from Blackwell Mill Cycles and they were lovely, friendly, good value for money and extremely accommodating when we realised that we had 1.5 hours to cycle what had previously taken us over 2 hours! So when we arrived late with the fear that they’d shut with our car keys as deposit, they just laughed and said they were glad we had enjoyed it and it was no problem. They have all kinds of add ons for families and even electric bikes to ease the leg strain! At £13.50 for the bikes for the day, it was great value and well worth the price for the priceless fun and scenery.

Also recommended along the way is the delicious cakes and coffee at the Hassop Station (about 2 thirds of the way into the trail) and basically anywhere in the beautiful village of Bakewell. The tarts are not as you imagine, they will far exceed expectations in terms of taste and not a Mr Kipling in sight.

So if you’re in the area and a day out with a difference appeals, then I’d highly recommend getting some bikes and discovering some hidden UK treasure. It was a good day.

Yours in good things,

Emmah xo


August 15, 2016