“Settled”

We asked our hosts of our wonderful accommodation if they had heard a weather forecast for the day. Her response was “settled”. To us it looked overcast and likely to rain so we packed our raincoats.

We are staying in a place called Wheatcroft, a mere dot on the map, about a ten minute drive from Matlock in Derbyshire. It is reached by driving along capilliary like laneways while holding your breath, hoping that a car won’t come towards you from the opposite direction as one of you will have to reverse – a long way.

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The barn is attached to the owner’s house and has oak beams dating from medieval times. We have a tiny balcony with an enormous view – “you can see five counties” our host proudly told us – back home, you would say “you can see for miles and miles”.

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Remember Oxford? We wanted to walk and I had trouble finding maps? Here, we have a box of maps and suggested walks – hundreds of walks that would take an entire lifetime to do. We now faced the dilemma – which walk? We only have a few days.

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We were unprepared for the beauty of Matlock. It is nestled beside the Derwent River in a steep valley. The houses are made from a grey stone. On top of one of the hills stands Riber Castle. The river is lined with sheer cliffs that are steep and are a mountain goat’s paradise.

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We chose a walk that takes you from Matlock down the river towards Matlock Baths, another village and then a return on the other side of the river. The “settled” weather made the colours soft and muted, but the views were breathtakingly beautiful.

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We climbed up and up to the top of a sheer cliff face called High Tor. We could hear jazz music playing on the other side of the river and at times we didn’t want to look down – as it looked like a very long way to fall.

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We finished with a stroll along “Lover’s Walk” built in 1740 – surprisingly empty and very quiet. We emerged into Matlock Bath into a cacophany of colour and sound. This was the day for the bikies to visit in their hundreds – dressed in their leathers, covered in tatts wiith their bikes gleaming. They were parked everywhere and the pubs and cafes were filled with them – they were having a brilliant day out and proudly showing off their toys. Keith and I felt distinctly underdressed and under-tatted.

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After joining them for a quick lunch, we headed off and up and up to return to Matlock. The heavens opened and we were glad we had brought our raincoats.

About sarahcondie

I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, an ex-librarian, a minister's wife, a women's Pastor, a quilter, a reader, I enjoy thinking about things slowly, I love cups of tea, I love sitting at my kitchen table in dappled sunlight and chatting with my friends, my children's friends, my family abut anything and everything.
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