You might have heard about my previous failed excursion to the Peak District; a late night trip in search of the Aurora Borealis. Well, since spring has crept slowly upon us and there’s been some great weather in England for the last 2 weeks, I decided to take my “new” car for a drive around the Peak District. This time it was day time so I could actually see around the place and get a few pictures (taken for me by my new photographer!) of the place and the small settlements we passed through.
We started the day relatively late. Probably something like 11am or later when we actually got out of the house. We’d stopped off at a local supermarket for provisions (read: water and snacks) so that we could have a bit of a picnic up in the hills. Fast forward 15 miles up the road towards Abbots Bromley and we stopped for a short photo taking opportunity and to chill in the sun and have a drink.
Heading towards Abbots Bromley from Rugeley will take you across the Blithfield Reservoir. Since opening in 1953 the reservoir has, along with providing water, been a great place for outdoor activities such as bird-watching, fishing and walking. In fact, when we stopped by there were a couple of bird watchers in place with their binoculars. Sadly, all I could manage to spot was a duck (which you can see in the picture above just right of the waters edge).
There were a few people in the water giving a bit of fly fishing a go too, though fly fishing isn’t something I have the slightest clue about, it was entertaining enough to watch for a little while as we lounged around enjoying the sun. The reservoir is home to 11 miles of bank suitable for trout fishing. To give it a go you’ll need to get yourself a fishing pass.
The other great part about this spot is that there were plenty of cows and sheep around. You might understand the whole ‘taking pictures of cows’ thing from back when I was in Switzerland, but if not, who doesn’t love taking pictures of cows? It even gave me a chance to give my macro lens a bit of a run; something which does not oft happen when I seem to be constantly shooting landscapes. I’m quite happy with the result if I don’t say so myself.
And here I present to you some Staffordshire cows!
Now you might be thinking “did you even get to the Peaks?” Yeah. We did. So lets head that way, we’ll return to Blithfield later anyway (it’s on the way back, duh!)
Most of the drive up was pretty. That’s just how it is. We passed through Ashbourne to get into the Peaks themselves. I’d been through before, on my night time visit. I recognised a few bits of it but I never realised just how much of a stereotypical old English town it looked. Then there’s the little fact that the place is built on a massive hill; one that my car was not particularly fond of!
Hopefully you’ll excuse our blurry snap. We were taking pictures out of the back of the car! It’s not easy to keep focus when you’re trying to best to drive up a hill that Rocky would struggle to climb.
Onwards and updwards! Sort of.
The idea was that we head to Bakewell. Partly because I LOVE bakewell tarts, and partly because I was aware of the visitor information centre there. They’re always good places to find out which places are the best to see, especially when it comes to seasonal things such as festivals. Bakewell was easily the busiest place we visited, and we intended to stop and take a look around until the car decided to play up and start rattling ridiculously loud. Not really knowing the area I decided to head back the way we came so that I could find somewhere to pull over and try to identify the problem (which I didn’t).
The climb back out of Bakewell had us going slow enough to snap a couple of pictures, and on the road between Bakewell and Monyash we took a few pictures of some old-school stone walls keeping the fields sectioned and sealed.
Eventually we came across a pretty huge lay-by. One on some nice flat ground that would stop my car trying to blow itself up. The first thing I noticed when I pulled over, apart from the massive potholes, was this cheeky little pheasant hen.
It might not be super colourful like the cock, but its still a pheasant, and I still saw it. Besides, it stuck around long enough for me to take a few pictures. It just happens that this was the only one that came out half decent.
While we were stopped we decided to take a bit of time to grab a few photographs of some of the nearby livestock, and ended up devouring our stash of pasties and sausage rolls. There’s something about scoffing your face on high ground and in the sun that’s just really satisfying.
About that livestock. You guessed it! Cows!! Now you’ve seen Swiss cows, Staffordshire cows and Derbyshire cows. What more could you ask for?
Oh and I also managed to find a sneaky little sheep. Here you go:
From here we drove back towards home. That meant a return through Monyash. The small settlement falls just short of 150 houses in total, and the place has a very distinct look about it. You’ll see a lot of limestone bricks in and around the area. These next few pictures should give you a better indication of what you could expect.
You get the idea. You also see how filthy my car is.
As we drove back towards Abbots Bromley (and got a little bit lost between Uttoxeter and Doveridge) there were fields upon fields. Green pretty much as far as we could see. You can probably guess that the camera was happily snapping away. Sadly, taking photos while being driven around isn’t an easy task for anyway; let alone someone unfamiliar with the equipment. Even so, there area few great shots mixed in!
And the next one, which is also my personal favourite despite not being crystal clear.
Then there’s my not-favourite one; it’s because I hate having my picture taken. Though I figured I aught to throw this one in; at least you’ll know I was actually there for a change!
I mentioned before we’d be stopping back at Blithfield Reservoir before the day was done. After we’d managed to completely ignore Google’s directions on my phone and somehow navigated back towards Abbots Bromley, we stopped off for ice cream. This has to be the best placed ice cream van I have EVER come across. Props to the guy, I’d already decided beforehand that I wanted to stop for ice cream.
We ended up parking up with our double flake 99s (If you’re English I’m sure you’ll understand, and if not, words can’t describe it) just looking out over the reservoir with the sun slowly falling lower in the sky trying to blind me.
Then a few planes decided to do fly overs. We missed the first few because ice cream is higher on my priority list than taking photos of planes. Once I’d sorted out lenses and what have you though, I managed to get ONE almost clear shot. The rest were trash, oh well.
Just like that our day trip was over. Tired, sunburnt, stuffed and exhausted we headed back home and called it a day.