13th - 16th October 2015
As planned, we've spent the last few days in a bit of whirl visiting family, friends, the bank manager and the dreaded dentist! The latter 2 went well and the former 2 forced us to drink gallons of tea - but it was absolutely fantastic to see everyone - and it was only when we met up with everybody that we realised how much we'd missed them all! I'm not sure how we're going to manage in the future because this time it has only been for a month - when we go over the water it will be 4 or 5!
Saturday 17th October 2015
Today we invited ourselves along on Sarah, Paul and Thomas's visit to Alton Towers, and as they were taking cousin Jack along as well, it provided very precious time for us to spend with our Grandsons. We went on an Octanauts mission, we went on a Tree Top Adventure and we got to blast each other with 'cherries' (sponge balls) in Justin's House.
The boy's climbed trees (as boys do), and as it was 'Scarefeast' they hid in Pumpkin's as well!
And they both got to take a driving test!
However, I'm not sure if they both passed!
|Lots of funny faces|
And we also rode on the sky train
|All the Boys|
|And the Girls|
We had a lovely but exhausting day - we arrived at 9.45 and didn't leave till gone 7pm - and although we packed loads in there was still plenty more that we could have done - but that will have to be saved for another occasion!
Sunday 18th October 2015
Today we went to Sarah and Paul's house (our home address) for a family get together - all our children and their partners, and all our grandchildren - including the one that's still cooking! It's not very often we're fortunate enough to get everybody together, and because we'll be absent at Christmas we decided to give the boys their presents today - and identifying what they wanted really wasn't a problem because they have both already started their Christmas lists. Jack opted for Power Ranger stuff and Thomas had Clangers and Lego on his list.
|Thomas's surprised face|
|I'm not sure who enjoyed the toys more - the little boy or the big one!|
Sarah provided a feast for us all, and as usual the get together was boisterous and noisy but I think thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Monday 19th October 2015
Well, for the last week we've been more or less starved of exercise, so after yesterdays indulgence we decided to go cycling. At the moment we're parked at Callow Top Holiday Park which is just outside Ashbourne - as usual, we're always looking for a bargain and as they were offering half price pitches for most of October so we bagged one. The site also has the advantage of direct access onto The High Peak Trail so this was where we started our ride. We departed from the T4rdis and followed the Tissington Trail to Hartington Station where we left the trail and headed into Hartington Village. From there we continued along the road into Hulme End and then we picked up the Manifold Valley Trail.
http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/79018/ppd-cycle-trails-leaflet.pdf (link shows both trails)
Like the High Peak Trail the Leek and Manifold route has been converted into a cycle trail from an old railway line, but this one was of the narrow gauge variety. It opened in 1904 and ran out of steam in 1934 when it was closed, but while in use it served the tiny farming communities by carrying milk and cheese from the isolated dairy at Ecton. It was famously known as 'a line starting nowhere and ending up at the same place'. The route follows the Manifold River gorge for about 9 miles between Hulme End and Waterhouses and is mostly off road except for a short section that goes through a long dark tunnel at Swainsley.
By now we were starting to get a bit peckish so we chose to break our ride at Wettonmill - and we were quite lucky. We managed to find the sunshine by the side of a little babbling stream that flowed under a pack horse bridge, and as usual, we had the company of several ducks scavenging for any dropped crumbs.
It's known as Thor's Cave and it's thought that the name came about because of the noises made by strong winds reverberating through the mouth and into it's fissures. It has been home to both stone age dwellers and wild animals and dates back at least 50,000 years - the bones of mammoths and wild bears have been discovered within other caves in the valley.
Also, from more recent times, in the local surrounding countryside you can see the remains of lead mines, and Ecton (which is quite nearby) was the site of the worlds richest copper mine dating back over 300 years.
The trail eventually spat us out onto the A523 Ashbourne - Leek road at Waterhouses, but we only stayed on the main road for about a quarter of a mile before we turned off onto another little lane that headed towards Calton. Then it was up quite a steep gradient to Throwley Cottages - these have been converted into holiday homes, but you could easily imagine them as miner's homes in times gone by. As usual, what went up had to come down, so we were soon swooping down a long sweeping hill and past the remains of Throwley Hall.
The Hall is very much a ruin now and it would be easy to pass by without giving it a second glance, but it,can trace it's origins back as far as 1203 when somebody called Oliver de Meverell lived there.
|Fantastic Far Reaching Views through The Manifold Valley|
The quiet road continued on through The Hamps Valley and down over Rushley Bridge into the back of Ilam where we felt compelled to stop for hot chocolate and cake.
|Ilam Cross http://www.ilam.org.uk/assets/ilam%20cross%20leaflet%20final.pdf|
Then it was another hill (up) - towards Blore, and on to Mapleton, and from there it was only another couple of miles back to the T4rdis via the Tissington Trail.
Tomorrow we'll move again to The Camping and Caravan Club Site at Teversal where we'll meet up with our friends Sharon and Paul for what might be another overdose of cycling - we are really looking forward to it 😁.
Click to see UK camping spots