Monthly Archives: May 2015
We awoke to a cloudy morning in our warm bed at the Peacock. Seem to have overcome the jet lag and were ready for a big day out and around Bakewell. It was market day in the town and the square opposite was more or less full of stalls of all shapes, sizes and contents. The fruit and vegies at these market days all look pretty good. Some of the other stalls and their contents seem as tired as the stall holders look! Homealone managed to pick up a punnet of strawberries for us to nibble on as we drove around. There are some very attractive buildings and homes in Bakewell, particularly those high up on the hills looking down into the town.
Bakewell is surrounded by countryside. Sheep everywhere. Cattle as well. But it seems it is most remembered for the famous Bakewell Pudding. The original pudding was first made in the 1860s and it was a botched recipe for something else. Nevertheless it proved immensely popular and remains so today. Puff pastry, some cherry jam and then on top a baked custard of sorts. They are warmed and served with clotted cream or custard. We had ours cold, without the cream or custard, and they were pretty good. The original shop is still there today and is where the baking takes place. It was constructed in the late 1700s.
After a bit more driving around we headed off to Chatsworth House. This is an impressive old place. Built in 1707 it is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Derbyshire. And have they set up a little money machine here. People everywhere. 3 pound to park the car, 26 pound to get in to see the house and gardens. 12 pounds for just the gardens. We only had time for the gardens, apparently there are 650 or so acres of these. Pretty impressive. No doubt the Duke needs the cash to just run the place.
While here we also called into the Estates commercial food outlet. The estate markets produce from the estate, mostly sheep and cattle. But there is numerous other stuff here. It’s a bit like an upmarket supermarket. Produce from all around the world. A great cheese and fresh bread offering was tempting. Instead we had a bowl of tomato soup with a crusty bread roll. Pretty good soup! It was here we noticed that the Daily Mail was running a piece on the benefits of a glass of red wine at night. It seems it is pretty good for you and the girls over here are finding that it (the wine) “is killing their cravings for crisps and chocolate – and helps get rid of ‘wobbly bottom'”. I have kept a copy of this research for others to refer to if they wish. The Daily Mail is well-known for the quality of its journalism.
After looking around the Estate gardens we headed off for Melton Mowbray, a little bit further south and east. This place is the home of the Pork Pie. Also one of the few areas that is allowed to make and call it Stilton cheese. This looks to be an interesting place for a stopover. We are now well and truly into the driving thing and there is not the same debate about directions and the like……………well almost!
Landed and on our way to Bakewell
Well we have landed at Manchester and made our way down to Bakewell for our first night in the Old Dart. After a bit over 24 hours in the plane, including a two-hour stopover in Singapore and an hour on the ground in Munich, we were somewhat jaded on arrival. But full of get up and go. So we did. Off to the Rental Car Village to pick up the car and head off out of the city to Bakewell, a couple of hours to the south-east in the heart of the Peak District.
It was about 9 am in the morning, a Sunday, so not much traffic. Heading out-of-town we had to negotiate a few turns here and there, no GPS to guide us (at 13 pounds a day we didn’t hire one) but then again who needs a GPS when you have a 2004 street map and a guide like Homealone in the passenger’s seat! After a bit of pointing and some clear directions to go this way and that we found our way. Allthego had a couple of moments where he suggested that the pointing could be confusing and to focus on the road and lanes. After a bit of pushback on these suggestions harmony was restored and we made our way onwards.
Our first stop for a look-see was near a little town called Chapel-en-le-Frith where there was a rather large system of viaducts carrying a couple of railway lines across a ‘ravine’, while there a British Rail goods train made the crossing looking down on the little village below.
Next was Buxton to catch its famous Opera House overlooking a 19 century garden and parkland complex. The old mineral baths, originally the site of an old Roman Bath House, are in the process of being restored. Should like amazing when complete. Allthego will have to return here at some time here to be restored as well.
Further along we stopped in at one of the major attractions in the Peak District at Monsal Head. This is the Headstone Viaduct, crossing the River Wye. This viaduct and a few tunnels were constructed in the mid 1800s to carry the Midland Railway which linked Manchester to London. It opened in 1863 and was closed in 1968. It is 300ft long and the 5 arch spans are 50ft high. They have banned bungee jumping and rope swinging from the arches which had been popular it seems. Homealone was not interested in this in any case. The old train line is now the route of the Monsal Trail for walkers. And they were everywhere. We didn’t join them, just had a look down and then drove to the bottom. This was also where I had tried to book some accommodation, but had no response from the Monsal Head Hotel. Now upon inspection of the said Hotel I think was our first stroke of luck! Not overly inviting despite the great location overlooking the viaduct.
A short drive into Bakewell found us at the Peacock for the night. Right smack bang in the middle of town.
Until next time.