On Monday, we headed for the Peak District of England. Along the way, we spotted a lovely castle on a hill with signs identifying it as Belvoir. We took a detour to visit but much to our dismay, it was not open. We then rode through a tiny beautiful village, the name of which escapes me. As we were heading back out to the main highway, we stopped to take a picture of the castle from the road. It was the last picture we would take this day for the battery died. We were kicking ourselves for the rest of the trip.
We returned to the main highway….or was it? ummmmm…no. Two American women stuck on a cow crossing country road. But it was a good thing Becky was driving because driving in Britain would have me killed. I had the map. I’m usually very good at reading maps but I did not know British maps were so different than American. I did learn how to read it on this trip. However, if I got stumped, I’d tell Becky, “I don’t care which road you take.” Oh…with Becky’s driving skills and my map reading skills, we made it back to the road.
We drove through many towns that I have heard of and some I hadn’t. One that I had heard of was Nottingham (Robin Hood country) …where we, once again got turned around. The round abouts get me confused. One thing I learned, if you get lost, head in the direction of a Motorway (the equivalent to an interstate) and you’ll probably find your road.
We finally arrived in the Peak District which reminded me so much of the mountains of NC….did I mention that our camera died? I had remembered the name of a town from Pride and Prejudice called Matlock. So it was in that direction we headed. I’m glad we did…another lovely town. I’d like to go back some day and walk around. However, we had a goal this day – the Chatsworth Estate. Approaching the house from the curve, the view is breath-taking. Both of us inhaled loudly…. did I mention that our camera died? If you saw the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice, it was the setting of Mr. Darcy’s house. When we approached the access road to the estate, the sign read, “Chatsworth closed. No unauthorized vehicles.” Becky struggled with going down there anyway. Of course, I am the consummate rule follower and advised that I did not want to be arrested for trespassing. We spotted a footpath from the highway. Becky pointed out that there were no signs prohibiting us from walking onto the estate. So we parked the trooper in the small village of Pilsley and off we went….
We made friends with many sheep along the path and consequently was soon wearing sheep poo on the hem of our jeans.
Becky spotted a small…building? (can’t really describe it) that had steps leading to the top. We later found out that it was Queen Mary’s bower. Apparently, Mary Queen of Scots was held on the estate for a time and was daily taken to this garden topped building to get fresh air.
We wandered around Chatsworth manor and spoke briefly to one of the keepers there that invited us to wonder around anywhere and that no one would bother us. Of course we couldn’t go in the building but we could wonder around the grounds. We found the toilet and took advantage of the facilities (do you know how difficult it is to find public toilets in the UK?) In case you didn’t know, the bathroom in England has the nick name of loo. Whilst we were in the restroom, Melissa begins to sing “We’re going to the loo, loo, loo…” to the tune of “We’re going to the zoo.” Suddenly, Becky points out to me that one of the keepers is standing outside the door with a strange look on his face. Never a dull moment with Melissa – embarrassing, perhaps, but never dull.
We walked one of the paths where all the foliage was enormous. (This is part of Sherwood Forest. I know that makes Tressie happy.) We didn’t walk the whole thing because it was getting late, Melissa was tired, and the trail was steep. It was after 9:00 pm…and the sun still shining.
We went to Chesterfield and spent the night.
More later….. ~M