A short trip to England

After a tour of Europe (more later), Peter and Diane spent a week in Beeley, Derbyshire with their friends Tom, NormaJean and Joyce

Diane and Peter were driving from Edinburgh (5 hours), hoping to get to Beeley in time to meet the others just across the moors in Chesterfield. Joyce was travelling from Denver that same day and taking the train from London to Chesterfield (when she got to St Pancras station she discovered the mainline was under repair). Tom and NormaJean were also travelling from Denver the same day on a wait-list basis. They had been unable to get direct train tickets to Chesterfield and were making two changes of train on the journey.

Miraculously everyone arrived at the train station within 30 minutes of each other - a good start to a fabulous week.



Diane celebrates arriving in England by posing against an icon



We were staying in a favorite cottage - The Nook which was built in the early 1800s as two attached cottages then converted into one superb 3-bed, 3-bath house.



The garden even has a table which we immediately converted into a wine bar.



We went on a short tour the next day. Derbyshire has an ancient custom - dressing wells. It started because ancient people worshipped water. When Christianity came the powers that be kept the custom but turned it into a Christian tradition.

Everything in the dressing is natural material - petals, cones, small stones, etc.

The dressings are usually religious. Some celebrate local people - John Ruskin was a famous author and illustrator, mainly of biological subjects



This one is religious. Both are in the village of Foolow



Foolow is picturesque including the required public house (Pub)



This particular village also has a pond on the village green and they are very proud of their ducks



The next village was Eyam



Eyam is famous for a 1665 episode in which a tailor opened a bolt of cloth that had come from London. London was experiencing the Black Death at the time and an infected flea was in the bolt of cloth. Half the villagers died. They agreed to isolate the village so the plague did not spread into the surrounding countryside.



Foolow has a well dressing created by the children of the village. This celebrated the plague by quoting the nursery rhyme Ring a Ring of roses / A pocket full of posies / Atishoo, Atishoo / We all fall down. This represents the Black Death symptoms - first a round red spot appears. Then the person is given a bunch of flowers and herbs because it was believed that this would cure the plague. The next symptom was sneezing. And finally the person dropped dead.



Finally that day we watched a cricket match. Peter tried vainly to explain the action to the native Americans.



Monday is "market day" in Bakewell, a nearby market town. The town becomes totally crowded and parking is a major problem. Several large fields are pressed into service across the river from the town and the crowds walk over the bridge into town.



The river is a real gem complete with large trout and lots of birds.



The market is a huddle of a hundred tents in several places surrounded by dozens of interesting shops. Three very interesting shops are "charity" shops which are secondhand stores typically supplied with stock by people clearing house, often after a death. The prices of many very desirable pieces of old pottery, glass and so on is astoundingly low. These were often an older person's treasured pieces that the descendents did not value.



The next day Tom and NormaJean who had not been to Chatsworth visited that fascinating "castle". Joyce and I climbed Kinderscout and Diane had a somewhat "restful" day at home which produced a splendid evening meal for all of us.



Kinderscout is the highest point of Derbyshire. It is a measly 2080 feet high by American standards but it rises well above the tree-line and sometimes gets quite uncomfortable with the wind and rain. The path is the start of the Penine Way which goes along the backbone of England for about 150 miles to Scotland.



We started out with occasional drizzle and breezes. By the time we got to the top it was a howling gale with heavy rain. Even the sheep lay down in the heather to shelter from it. When we got back down it was peaceful again.



Next day was a travelling day - 60 miles to Ilkley and Bolton Abbey. Bolton Abbey was founded in 1150 and is one of our favorite places. It was sacked by Henry VIII in 1530 as he broke from the Catholic Church which forbade him to divorce, and has been in ruins ever since.



Of course even stately abbeys have to be accompanied by the ubiquitous English ice cream truck



The ruin is impressive



Outside is the foundation of most of the abbey where everyone lived and worked



Beyond is the "country cottage" of the Duke of Devonshire who owns Chatsworth House, the whole village of Beeley (and several others around)



Surprisingly, the end of the "ruin" is a complete church that has been holding services continuously for over 800 years and still thrives. Beautiful windows.



That evening we visited "the Barrel Inn" which has fantastic views over the countryside and excellent food.



Diane had promised to prepare simple breakfasts each day while we were there. But Tom bellyached continually (and jokingly) that he really needed a real English breakfast. Diane surprised us and even included blood sausage.



It did not last too long



Our final day was on Stanton Moor - a beautiful hill a few miles across the valley from Beeley.



It has the "Cork Stone" which is, of course, shaped like a cork and has handholds to make it easy to climb.



We walked across the moor to the nine ladies



It is well explained like most of the sights in Derbyshire



Apparently the new Puritan vicar did not like the ladies dancing on the moor. And when he caught them at it, he turned them into stone along with the musician (far top left). Of course, it is really a bronze age stone circle.



That night we went to a wonderful pub - The Scotsman's Pack - near Long John's grave. Fabulous food and we were all happy to savor good wine after a long hike.



The last hike was to Hob Hurst's House. Getting there was another moorland walk which included stiles that some of us found somewhat difficult. Of course, after NormaJean had struggled over, Tom discovered that the gate opened and marched through it.



The moor has marshy bits in places



Finally, we met Hob. It is an unusually shaped "barrow" which is a bronze age grave. The moors have dozens of these but this was the first ever to be made into a national monument - by Queen Vistoria no less. It is surrounded by stones engraved VR for Victoria Regina.



Our final farewell - until next time

Check out Europe the previous three weeks

Look at previous trips