We went walking in Derbyshire yesterday with the Ramblers. A coach load of us set off at 8.30am for the day. We had several different levels of walks to choose from. Four of us chose to do the long walk (about 16m I think), about 20 odd did the medium walk (about 9m), three of us did the short walk (about 6m), which I had originally planned to do, and the remaining six of us did Matlock Bath. This, in my mind, was a much better option, as I’m not much good with hills (either up or down), mud (of which there was lots) and itermittant downpours were threatened. What a good choice this proved to be! Most of the walkers had a downpour at some point or other – we didn’t. Some were covered in mud – we stayed clean. Most of them would have missed most of the scenery, like we usually do when we are out walking because we are too busy looking where to put our feet, and WE had the added value of a fantastic new experience – Matlock Bath. The walkers finished up in Matlock itself where they had a meal. Our coach driver took us to Matlock Bath in the morning because he knew it was a much more interesting experience for a day out, but the organiser seemed to think that WE were in the wrong and made it publically known that the reason the coach was late going home was because WE were in the wrong place at the end of the day! Nice one, driver! 🙂
After an eventful drive through narrow country lanes I would have been nervous driving my car along, we were put down off the coach at Matlock Bath station car park and told that the coach would be picking us up again there at about 6pm. I hope the driver’s bosses are lenient with him when he takes his rock-wall damaged coach back home! 🙂 He was a good guy and told us all the places to visit, and showed us the cable lift to the Heights of Abraham, which he said was a must! And so it was.
First we needed a coffee and a loo, probably in the other order, after our long drive. However, the cable lift beckoned and we decided to go to the entrance first as we were near it, and see how much it was, and what time it stopped running, in case we missed it. The walk to the entrance was actually longer than we expected, and as our needs were getting desperate, we decided the quicker option would be to go up the cable lift and use the facilities at the top before wandering aimlessly around the town back down where we were. What a good job we did, and what a treat we had. Awe inspiring views from the cable lift!
We reached the top and piled straight into the cafe, used the loos and found an empty table in the sun outside, overlooking the valley and town below. We had a leisurely coffee and cake, whilst snapping away at the views. How I wish I had a better camera than my modest phone cam! I couldn’t do justice to the views as I have no zoom, but there are photos on the web, far better than mine would ever be anyway.
After our coffee we had a wander around at the top of the world, it seemed (well, at the top of Derbyshire anyway), still snapping away. Then we decided to take a guided tour of the Great Masson Carvern, the old lead mine up there. We were a bit early for the next tour, so our tour guide suggested we watched the ten minute film about it first. I’m so glad we did. I’m a bit claustrophobic, and was wondering about how I would be in there, but from the film, it didn’t look like I would have a problem, although when we were queuing at the entrance, someone said that we would be crawling through holes such as are just outside!
We were warned that there were 80 steps to get out, and a quarter of a mile of slippery and steep slopes inside, so unfit folk should possibly think twice about going in. However, nothing daunted, my friends and I braved it, from the back of the group where we slow “old folk” wouldn’t hold up the younger, fitter folk. Puff, puff! Phew!
We were shown the caves by the candlelight that the miners would have had to work with all day, then they switched on the floodlights to reveal the beauty of the caverns by various differing colours of the spectrum. Beautiful! Oh for a better camera!
Having survived our tour, and climbed the eighty steps, which weren’t so bad after all, we came out higher up Abraham Heights where the views were even more spectacular. Eventually, our kindly tour guide, who had patiently waited for us old codgers, who dallied around at the top for ages snapping away and using their binoculars because the telescope at the top wouldn’t work, guided us down the pathway back to the civilisation of the visitor centre. I’m sure we could have found our way anyway, but he at least could answer our many and varied questions about what we could see from the top. Not that we would ever be able to remember his answers, as we didn’t write anything down! But I did actually remember that the prison looking building or mill I had asked about was exactly that – Council Offices! A man with my sense of humour obviously! 🙂
Gone to lunch – back soon to continue the story!