I really thought I was going to have to abandon this post. Yesterday I had a bit of a major techno fail and somehow managed to delete all of the photos I took at Clumber Park last week. I tried restoring them from the recycle bin and they disappeared from the bin but didn't appear in any of the folders on my PC ... disaster ... I was confounded 😖
After lots of Googling and nearly giving up I persevered 😣 and had one last shot at downloading some free recovery software and I finally managed to locate them on the original camera SD card ... This is my relieved face 😌
So, here we go with the post that almost never was ...
Whilst Martin has never been that big on Valentines’ ... though I did have the one bunch of flowers the first year we’d met and I even have the photo to prove it ... now that he is 'semi' retired we are lucky enough to usually be able to spend the day doing something nice together.
Last year we went out for a pancake lunch at our favourite creperie followed by a mooch round one of our favourite antique places. This year the weather forecast was bright so we decided to go a little bit further afield and give the bikes an almost spring airing.
We were heading for Clumber Park, a National Trust place that was new to me and an old favourite of Martin’s from back in the day ... when he used to live up that there North. We’d had a good look on line and printed off the details of a cycling route that we fancied having a go at.
Whilst there are over 20 miles worth of bike trails around the estate, we were planning on just doing the five mile ride around the lake, which we thought we should be able to manage, even with Martin's very dodgy ankle.
It was about an hour and a half drive through a mixture of heavy mist and bright sunshine and we were both keeping our fingers crossed for more of the latter.
The weather played ball and we arrived to bright sunshine and clear blue skies. We were given a map of all the bike trails as we checked in and were soon unloading the bikes and heading for our first stop which, as always, was the cafe for sustenance to help us on our way.
The place was heaving, with a massive queue ... the sunshine had obviously brought out the masses and we were glad when we’d finished our drinks and were on our way.
All of the cycle routes are really clearly signed and we knew that we needed to follow the numbered posts from 1 to 8. Our first marker was very easily found as we left the visitor facilities.
We were both fascinated by the patterns made in the bark of an old fallen tree ...
And managed to snap a couple of selfies in the sunshine ...The cycle trail then takes you away from the lake through the parkland, up a bit of an incline, which we were both able to more than cope with ...
... before heading away from the lake again to ride through Hardwick Village ...... and past the war memorial ...
The ride, or should I say the track, up through Ash Tree Woods was a bit of a killer and had us both resorting to pushing, before a welcome freewheel downhill back to where we started.
This time the cafe was a lot quieter and we sat outside and had lunch in the sunshine, which was a real treat for February.
After lunch we had a wander up past the church ...
... though the views looking back at the glasshouse were pretty impressive ...
So with our first bike ride if the year and another National Trust visit under our belts it was time to load up and head for home.
It really is starting to feel like spring may just be around the corner 😀