Monday 11 August 2014

Weekend Away - The Long Rake & Lathkill Dale - The Peak District

We arrived at River Cottage, following our stop off in Ashbourne at about 4.00pm.  After a good look at the gardens and feeding of the trout in the river, it was time for a quick shower before getting ready to meet up with our friends for a nice meal and good old catch up at the local pub, The Bulls Head.

We a nice meal, lots of good chat and agreed to meet up the following morning for the annual walk!

Saturday morning dawned to grey clouds and more heavy rain, but a very nice breakfast to set us up for the day.  As the falling out of the car knee injury had put paid to us partaking of the annual walk so we left the others to it and headed off for a morning of caching and dashing.

We were glad we did as, not only did I get to rest my knee, but at least one of us got to stay dry. Martin got pretty wet as he was jumping in and out of the car hunting for caches in the very wet and long undergrowth. He really is a trooper!

We found a really interesting series of caches which had been placed along the Long Rake, near Youlgreave that we fancied having a go at. These caches had been placed at designated Sites Of Meaning by marker stones to celebrate the Millennium.  The commissioning of 17 marker stones was a millennium project of Middleton and Smerrill in The Peak District. The stones mark the 17 entrances to the local parish. Each stone is inscribed with text chosen by members of the parish and is considered a public manifestation of private thoughts and feelings at the start of a new century.

We managed to find just 4 of the Marker Stones in total.  You can read about all of them and the project here. We will definitely be visiting again to see the others.

"Live as if you’ll die tomorrow, Farm as if you’ll live forever" - Traditional
A local farmer suggested these traditional lines. They reminded him that we must look after the countryside, the environment in general and our community, handing it on, if possible, to the next generation in a better state.

"A dull sky, Feel the cold. Touch the snow, A lonely landscape. Hear the wind, See the hills. It’s freezing cold, And empty" 

Youlgreave Primary School visited Arbor Low as part of a school project on a bitterly cold day. Back at school two of the children wrote these lines whilst working with poet David Fine.

"The rakes and spoils of man’s hard toil, has shaped this land"

Derbyshire Aggregates agreed to adopt this site and the ladies who do Accounts (but not lunch), decided to compose these lines informed by their knowledge of the quarry industry and of how The Rake was formed.

"Bright Under Green Limestone Edges. With Queen Ann Lace and Cranesbill in her Hedges" - Michael Dower

Suggested by Emma Youatt, carved by Heritage Stoneworks. Sometimes called the Bugle Stone, after the name of the community newspaper that Emma founded and edited.

We also managed to do another of the Guide Stoop series which we discovered on our trip to Holmesfield, earlier in the year.  If you look very closely at the photograph you can just about make out the 'YOUL'. This marker would have provided directions to Youlgreave.

We all met up at the Lathkill Hotel for a sandwich for lunch, before we headed back to River Cottage for a quick shower and a crafty doze before heading over to the caravan for a BBQ.

It looked like the weather was perking up a bit, so we were hoping that it would hold for the evening.  We were lucky.  Apart from one quick shower which had us darting in for cover, the weather for the BBQ was great, you wouldn't have believed what it had been like earlier in the day.

We enjoyed a jug of Pimms in the evening sunshine and started the BBQ off with a tray of breads, halloumi cheese and anti-pasti, which was lovely.  We then had steaks done to everyone's individual requirements, chicken and vegetable kebabs with lots of salads and new potatoes.  We chatted the evening away and finished off with a very nice cheese board, before heading back to River cottage for our last night before heading for home.

We'd had a lovely day, in spite of the weather.  Beautiful countryside, good friends and good food. What more could you ask for?

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