Tuesday, 7 August 2018

At Home for the Summer - #2 Cycling the Calke Abbey (NT) Tramway Trail

Hi there everyone 😀

Welcome to the second post of my 'At Home for the Summer' series.

As you will know, having put so much time and effort into the garden over the last twelve months, Martin and I have decided to spend the summer at home. We want to both enjoy the new garden and keep it at its best over the summer months.

That’s not to say there won't be a few trips out and about ... I’ve tried to arrange some kind of day out for each of the weeks that Martin isn’t working.

You can see our first summer big day out on our re-visit to Coughton Court with mum and dad here.

For our next trip out we were on our own, at and around Calke Abbey, another NT property not too far away. We’d not been out on our bikes for as long as I can remember and I’d seen details of the Calke Abbey Tramway Trail a while ago and tentatively put a date on the calendar to give it a go.

So, tyres pumped up, water bottles frozen overnight and a map of the route printed out we loaded up the car and headed off.

We parked up and got ourselves sorted and were soon on our way. We did have a few hiccoughs before we got fully under way. We just about got to the start of the trail when the bracket on my basket gave up the ghost, so it was back to the car to swap all our essentials over into the rucksack.

On our way again and I flew off ahead down the hill and round onto the first part of the track, which was uphill, so a swift change of gears was required, which resulted in my chain dropping off, so emergency repairs were required once Martin caught me up.

Finally we were on our way properly, hoping for no further incident.

The track took us up away from the house, along the original old carriage route and there were some pretty good views to be had looking back towards the house.

We arrived at the first of many gates and made our way through to a lovely part of the trail taking us through hedgerows of ferns and wild flowers ...
... leading us up to an old red brick barn, where we had a quick refreshment stop. Though it was very overcast and threatening a shower, it was still very, very warm and muggy ...

We whizzed down the hill, passing the dairy herd having lunch ...

Before meeting up with the old tramway trail ...
We were both really surprised to find how green everything looked along the trail, considering how little rain we'd had of late.

The track was really well maintained and not too bumpy, though there were some long stretches of shallow incline that definitely got our hearts pumping and there was more than the odd drink stop along the way, as the water bottles began to defrost.
We also experienced a very brief shower and took shelter under the trees, another good excuse for a breather ...There were plenty of old bridges and a very disorientating tunnel that had us both feeling a bit wobbly in the middle ...
We continued along the tramway trail, passing through plenty of gates and under bridges right along the edge of the estate ...At this tunnel we left the tramway trail and headed up to the right ...
The trail took us across open parkland ...

... and we ended up back alongside the main drive where, you’ve guessed it, there was just the one Geocache stop before heading back towards the house, where we passed a lady on a bike for the second time ... she had been round twice in the time it had taken us to do it the once, which was a bit embarrassing but hey!


There was also time for the regulation ... we are on our bikes ... selfie ...The last stretch back to the main drive was a bit of a slog ...
... and we may have just resorted to a short walk here ...

... though I used it as an excuse to take photos of the dry stone wall ...

... and this tree ...
The trail is just over six miles long, it’s a good track for cycling and would be described as easy from a terrain point of view. It was just about right for us, who have not biked for a good few years and we managed it quite comfortably, though of course the legs were a bit wobbly for a bit when we dismounted.

Sausage baps from the cafe went down very well as a post ride treat ...

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So, that's another great day out for us with the National Trust. A bit different to our normal visits, as we were too wobbly in the legs to visit the house or the gardens this time, though that is on the cards for another day very soon 😀

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Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. I love to hear what people think about what Martin and I have been up to.