Sunday, 26th June 2016
Kathleen dislikes missing Mass on a Sunday, but, there is no bus service to Ashbourne on a Sunday, and it is too far/dangerous to walk to Ashbourne. Cycling to Ashbourne is a possibility, the road should be quieter on a Sunday, there are certainly no buses running.
Instead, we decide to do something which is rare for us, and take the van into town. We know there is parking alongside the start of Tissington Trail, and, that is within walking distance of the Church, plus, we can, cycle the Tissington Trail.
A quick check on the all knowing Google tells us that Derbyshire County Council are far sighted enough not to have installed height barriers on their carparks, and it is possible to park the van there. So, they get a £4.50 parking fee, plus, the money we spend on drinks, snacks along the way.
I have the bikes unloaded and all ready to go for Kathleen's return from church.
The Tissington Trail is an old railway line, so, the gradient is not too steep and any point, but, it is a steady up hill ride from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay, 13.5 miles later.
Initially, the route is tree lined, but, there are more open stretches as we climb steadily.
It is all very well done, the surface is good, firm, smooth and well drained, and, there are several picnic spots with tables and kiosks selling drinks and snacks.
At 10 miles, there are mutterings of "how much further?".
Past experience tells me, this is a prelude to giving up.
I need to employ some psychology to get us there.
I check my watch, 12:30, we have been going at an average 9 miles per hour, according to my trusty Halfords Cyclometer.
I play my winning hand and suggest "why don't we just cycle until 13:00, and then turn around and go back?".
Now, the arithmetic tells me, this is the same as saying "let us cycle for another 4.5 miles", but, it sound much less strenuous.
So, we cycle on, and arrive at the end point (13.5 miles from Ashbourne) with 10 minutes to spare.
My suggestion that we just cycle on for the odd 10 minutes is, not very politely, declined by Kathleen, I think "b----r off " was the exact term used.
We cycle back to Ashbourne, 13.5 miles downhill, and round off with a very good "toastie" and coffee at the picnic area and cycle hire point, at the beginning of the trail
Monday, 27th June 2016
Having cycled 27 miles, yesterday, we decide on a less energetic day today.
We take the Bus into Belper. Free of course for us "oldies", well, there has to be some advantage in being old!
Belper is a reasonably pleasant place. It has clearly been an industrial town, but, the Mill has long since closed. It has the usual signs of decline, ie a surplus of charity shops, but, effective measures at rejuvenation appear to be bearing fruit. Overall, I would describe it as an up market South Shields, without the coast line, but, with it's building better preserved and in a better state of repair.
One other point, because the bus journey takes us along A517, in the opposite direction to Ashbourne, we discover where the elusive Nags Head is. It looks to be a very pleasant pub, but, we will not be walking there!