Arrived safely

Today’s picture, taken by Dropscone in our absence,  shows the results of a sharp hailstorm in Langholm.  This would be more satisfactory to us 300  miles to the south if we hadn’t been peppered by hailstones ourselves today.  Still it wasn’t as bad as it obviously was in Langholm.

Summer in Langholm

We’ve had two busy days of driving as we stopped on our way down to Somerset so that we could go to see Cosi Fan Tutte at the wonderful opera house in Buxton.  We had hoped to make this trip even better by admiring the wonderful countryside of the Peak District as we drove through it, stopping off perhaps for a stroll in some scenic spot.  Sadly we got stuck in a traffic jam near Manchester which took up a lot of time and when we did get to the countryside, it was shut.  Cloud down to zero feet took away any chance of a view and the delay took away the chance of a stroll.

Still the Mozart opera made up for everything.  It was a performance by English Touring Opera and it was sung in English.  Some people don’t like to hear opera in English but when you are sitting for nearly three hours, it seems to me that understanding what is going on is definitely a good thing.  The singing was splendid and the acoustics and the singers’ diction combined to make every word intelligible.  To add to the pleasure, the orchestral playing was exceedingly crisp and the direction was clear and intelligent.  And of course the music is quite good too.

The opera house itself is worth a visit and you can see a photo gallery of it here.

We stayed overnight at Ashbourne at one of those rectangular brick built hotels that make up for their lack of charm by extremely reasonable prices.

Encouraged by some sunshine, we drove a bit out of our way to visit Matlock Baths, a picturesque village on the banks of the Derwent.

Matlock Baths

This seems to be one of those places which is only there to act as a magnet to tourists and it has gardens, walks, amusement arcades, cafes and, rather surprisingly, a gondola cable car rising to the top of the very steep bank above the village.


This was continually going up and down while we were there but with few if any customers aboard.  The village was very quiet and we were able to enjoy a stroll along the riverside, past a deserted outdoor cafe underneath a spreading tree…


…past a jubilee bridge some 100 years older than Langholm’s jubilee bridge…

jubilee bridge matlock

….past a course laid out for canoe slalom…

canoe course

…past the elegant station…


…past the gondola station and up a pleasant path through some woods.

The path at Matlock Baths

There were many anemones (with an odd blue bell here and there) to admire beside the path.


We saw our first butterfly of the year, an interesting but unattractive fungus….


…a grey squirrel and a woodpecker.  We came down and drove to Matlock itself to have a cup of coffee and buy some provisions for our holiday cottage.  We then got back to more mundane activities and drove down main roads and motorways in alternating sunshine and rain showers until we got to Bath.  From there we wiggled across country until we arrived at our cottage in Coleford.

After a refreshing cup of tea, we got our bikes and stretched our legs over seven hilly miles in lovely sunshine and a chilly wind.  The roads were lined with anemones and primroses but the standout was this waterfall of aubretia near Mells.


The lanes round our cottage are ideal for the elderly cyclist.


We stopped to get more supplies at the local Co-op in Coleford before plunging down the steep hill back to the cottage.

Lower Coleford

The village elders have majored on primroses.

Coleford primroses

The cottage is on the edge of a field and has a mill stream running past its windows.

Leat Cottage

It is not surrounded by birds but we did get a glimpse of what looked like a fieldfare.


We will sleep well tonight.

The fieldfare obliged by breaking into flight to give me a flying bird of the day.


Note: I am not able to access my wauchope e-mail address while I am away so people writing to me there, will not get a reply until we return in a week.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

6 thoughts on “Arrived safely

  1. The landscapes there are so beautiful. I’m not familiar with the aubretia, but I just looked it up and found that it will stand cold to -20 F, so I might give it a try. I like the way it spills down walls. I also like the shot of the tree in the oudoor cafe.

  2. Glad the opera came up to expectations, alas I have never been to the Buxton Opera House only looked at the outside. The cottage sounds as if it was set in lovely surroundings, I hope the weather for the next week lets you enjoy them.

  3. Very glad you enjoyed the opera and had some good weather along the way for picturesque visiting.

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