Bakewell Overnight stay and Balloon Trip
A couple of months ago I won a competition run by Irwin Tools where you had to buy a product (we bought a clamp type tool) and then enter an online scratch card game to win a UK adventure break with an overnight stay and travel included for two people. There were weekly prizes and I was lucky enough to be picked as one of the winners.
I decided to go on a hot air balloon trip. I love this experience. This had been a life-long ambition to do and, a couple of years ago, I won some experience day vouchers and took my family.
Fabulous and awesome do not even come close to describing this experience!
For the current trip, the vouchers were with Wickers World Ballooning, which was the company we went with last time and they are excellent.
The promotions company sent me a cheque for travel and booked us (me and my hubby Greg) into a beautiful hotel in Bakewell, Derbyshire. This is the Rutland Arms Hotel (link) which is a stunning Georgian building dating back to 1804.
We had a large room, overlooking the main square with a big four-poster bed!
It was total luxury and the bed was really comfortable. There is something about a four-poster bed, where I feel really special and almost quite regal!
We enjoyed afternoon tea in the dining room and then got ready to go on the balloon flight. This was due to take off from Tissington, just north of Ashbourne. The weather was a mixture of rain showers and clouds, with intermittent gusts of wind. I had my doubts that this would be suitable ballooning weather.
My gut feeling proved to be right and, after much deliberation, the balloon pilot informed us that it really was not suitable weather for ballooning and unfortunately, the flight would have to be cancelled.
Greg and I drove back to Bakewell and stopped at the famous Monsal Head Viaduct. There are spectacular views of the whole valley and of the former rail track, which crosses the viaduct and goes through a long tunnel, right beneath the Monsal Head.
Well, the views are spectacular in the sunshine and the walking trails are fabulous on a dry day. Neither are at all inspiring in heavy rain! Greg got out the car to take some photos and I sat in the car with my thermos of tea and packet of biscuits and watched him get soaked to the skin in a matter of minutes. Obviously, he was not about to take my advice to put his coat on!
The following day, we had breakfast (which was included in the prize) and decided to go walking. It was a glorious day with bright sunshine.
We drove further North to Mam Tor in the High Peak Area of Derbyshire.
The walk starts in the National Trust Car Park and goes up to the summit of Mam Tor. It is a well-marked path and today, on a sunny Saturday, it was very busy with walkers and families.
Mam Tor is thought to be the remains of an iron age fort and you can clearly see this in the lines of the ridge. Little is known about its history.
We walked to the top, where there is a trig point and spectacular views across the valley. This was perfect for our picnic lunch. We made our way back via a lower path, so it was a sort of circular route.
I had never been up here before and it is a place I would love to go back to, however I think I will go on a day when it is quieter!
We went down into Castleton and found ourselves a lovely café for our afternoon and ice-creams, before driving back.
It was a lovely weekend. Fortunately the balloon voucher is valid until March 2018, so we still have that trip to look forward to at a later stage.