I'm a bit behind, having entirely failed to blog about:
- Devin Townsend gig
- Matthew's birthday
- Suze and Andy's wedding
- Matthew's birthday party
(all of which were awesome).
However I shall skip a bit and tell you about my holidays :)
We stayed in Bakewell - in a nice enough little apartment in the Sleeplodge at Bagshaw Hall, which is up the most amazing little narrow road/footpath called Fly Hill. Not recommended by bike!
Friday we took a walk over from Bakewell to Chatsworth, which is essentially up one side of the ridge and down the other (though we missed our bridle-path and took a slightly longer route by road). The section up through the woods was loads of fun. We then had a great time in the Adventure Playground, before spending a couple of hours in the garden, where Matthew rolled on the formal lawn, paddled in the cascade and explored the woods, before admiring the Emperor Fountain. The weather was glorious and the skies a stunning blue and I took loads of photos. We then got the bus back to Bakewell, and as Matthew was half asleep I carried him off the bus, and as a result managed to leave my phone behind, I think it must have slipped out of my pocket as I manoeuvred him onto my lap. I only realised later in the pub! We did later manage to track it down though and speak to the bus driver who promised to drop it at the depot first thing the next morning. So photos will have to wait until I get it back (they're going to post it to me as soon as I get a cheque to them to pay for the postage!).
Saturday we walked out along Coombe Road to the start of the Monsal Trail, and Matthew rode his balance bike along it as far as Hassop, where we had an early lunch in the cafe and a play on the climbing frame, before hiring three bikes. Matthew was too small for a tag-along bike, but *just* big enough to hire a bike of his own. Or well, *nearly* big enough. He could ride it OK, but setting off and stopped required help, and he couldn't really reach the brake levers properly either. A shame they didn't really have anything more suitable! Still, despite a few wobbles and a moment or two when we thought it had been a monumental error to try we eventually got the hang of it between us and had a really good ride, along to Monsal Head and the viaduct, then on through the next two tunnels, before re-tracing our steps for more cake and climbing frame at Hassop. Lovely to see him riding with confidence, and even though the bike was too big he didn't want to give it back :) To be fair despite being bigger I think the (Raleigh) bike weighed less than his Ridgeback does - we'll definitely be investigating more alternatives when buying his next bike.
Sunday we got the bus to Castleton and went for a hike. We'd kind of intended to go up Mow Cop, but having left the (new) OS map behind by mistake we took a walk that ended up not really going in the right direction but being the better walk for it! Up Cave Dale onto the hill behind the Castle and back round and down the other side. Really lovely walking and a nice little scramble for Matthew on a rocky outcrop too. More gorgeous weather as well, though relatively cool in the wind on the top! Once we got back down we headed over to Speedwell Cavern - oddly the tour doesn't mention how it gets that name. It's essentially a boat ride along some very straight old lead-mine workings to the big cavern, a look around, and then the same ride back. Tom the tour guide was a long haired fairly local lad in his early twenties and moderately entertaining. My favourite moment though was the conversation with Matthew that made various other passengers laugh. "It's very dark down here" "That's because the sun can't get down here" "They should have put more lights in". Lots of fun. We discovered afterwards that Castleton's cafes all shut fairly early on Sundays, but just caught one for a drink before our bus home :)
Not too many adventures on the bus and train ride home on Monday, other than accidentally leaving the carrier bag with the bakewell pudding in it on the bus! I am not to be trusted on buses it seems. Still, I have ordered us a replacement online, so no real harm done there. A lovely long weekend away, and we couldn't asked for nicer weather this time of year!