This time last week we were in Wales and attempting to climb Snowdon but it was cool and raining and we had not brought the necessary UK travel gear. We persisted and had a pleasant but damp walk over half way up, but the mountain was covered in mist so we beat a retreat back to our base at Betws-y-Coed to find it was bathed in sunshine… such is life.

Karen looking glamorous on Snowden.

Can’t see the top, think we will turn back now!

It did however set the tone for the rest of the weeks weather. Of late I had been reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Road to Little Dribbling’ and, along with a text from my friend John in London, these contributed greatly to what we would visit over the coming week.

On John’s advice, we stopped off at a total marvel of British engineering, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Llangollen. The setup here is fantastic - easy perking for the Motorhome and a short walk to the site. You really don’t get to figure out what you are going to see until you turn the corner, and the canal seems to just float in the sky. It is utterly remarkable and a big thanks to John for letting us know about it!

One of the many clear information points near the Viaduct.

Amazing what you can buy on our walks. We managed to walk by without purchasing!

Water floating in the sky.

The bear waved as he went by!

It is amazing and the drone shot does it justice.

The next overnight stop we had booked was in Bakewell, Derbyshire and I was going to blame my friend Syed for this as he said it was very pretty area, and for some reason, we booked four nights. The town itself is picture post card gorgeous, and we enjoyed wandering around taking in the atmosphere. We made our way to the Bakewell Tart Shop and picked up a pair of tarts for dessert that evening. Syed is on the money - this was a great stop!

Sounds like fun - a tart shop as recommended by Syed.

There are many types of tart available too.

Bakewell’s Lovers Locks bridge, can you see the one Karen put up for me?

Picture postcard houses.

Thornbridge brewery, tasting over 16 different types available.

Well, the four days possibly was not enough! Bill filled in some gaps saying we had to cycle the Monsal Trail - an old railway line that has been converted into a cycleway. Beautiful and well sign posted, we got to see the first proper factory that was probably ever built, ‘Cressbrook Mill’. Now converted into apartments, it is stunning. As it ran through limestone country there were lime kilns built on the line and it was fascinating to see how they worked.

The drone again and Cressbrook Mill – an extraordinary place.

The Monsal viaduct.

A lime kiln.

How the above worked.

One of the well-lit tunnels on the trail.

We find the correct route back from Matlock on the Bridle way.

The line never made any money, but the Duke of Devonshire managed to have two stations built for his use: one for himself and guests and the other for workers and freight from his holdings in the area. Speaking of the Duke… we had an invite for the next day and cycled over to his house. No matter where I have been, I do not think I have seen such a projection of power, wealth and beauty as Chatsworth. The setup is amazing, a fantastic Farm Shop nearby and perfectly laid out. Mind you, it seems not many turn up on bicycles! We did struggle to find somewhere to park up. It would be fair to say the Duke and family own everything around here. But pictures paint a 1000 words, so here are 1000s for you.

A view to Chatsworth house.

Let me show you around.

Do you like my chair? Made of JFK Half Dollar coins.

This side is the Duke’s private area, at the top of the stairs the family were having tea.

Chatsworth’s own Jeton, like Geneva.

A demure Karen in the garden.

The placement of sculpture around the garden was playful.

A view from the top of the grotto.

Underneath the grotto was this amazing piece of sculpture.

The cascade down to house each step is different in length and steepness to give a slightly different sound.

The campsite at Bakewell was lovely, close to the town and an easy walk in. The staff were efficient and very helpful. On the wall they had pictures of the site as it has evolved over the years, the last picture taken in the mid 2000s so I added an up-to-date one to the collection.

You can see ‘Buster’ in this shot - the drone got us a free drink!

Our next stop was down to Fred Sirieix and his new TV series ‘Remarkable Places to Eat’ - the Yorkshire Episode with his and Nadiya Hussain’s Harrogate visit and the World-famous Betty’s tearoom. As an experience it was wonderful and we highly recommend it.

The legendary Bettys tearoom.

The Bettys story.

A treat of a Champagne Afternoon Tea.

I think she could get used to this!

Again, our campsite was lovely. Harrogate Caravan Park has friendly, helpful staff and is close to town, with a bus service to the door.

Karen finds some transport home in the campsite.

We were told that nearby was another old railway converted to a cycle path going to a village called Ripley and it is worth the visit, even prettier than Harrogate - plus they make ‘World Famous’ ice cream. Well, off we went and yes they make lovely ice cream… and a particularly nice variety of Gin - plus you can, if you like, make your own gin in an afternoon. We did not have enough time and unfortunately the village Pub had a sign reminding us of the times we live in. But on the way back we were able to take in something that is quintessentially English, a village cricket match in progress.

Ripley Castle - not Chatsworth, but the village is truly impressive. The ice cream was lovely!

Some of the estate houses. Think we could live here!

Fancy making your own Gin? You can make it in Ripley.

Covid is still here you know. Be careful out there.

A village Cricket Match from the air.