Jan 11 23
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It’s been a while since we last spent a weekend in Derbyshire, so that was the general plan for the weekend. We took gear for all eventualities (walking, running, caving and orienteering), but ended up walking and caving. Orienteering was excluded from the list pretty early on because the event we had presumed was scheduled for Sunday was actually on Saturday and was talking place before we’d even left home.

So, on Saturday we took a long stroll through Lathkill Dale; unfortunately it turned out that we had done this entire walk before. Richard reminded me at various points how boring the return journey over the fields had been last time, so I bought him a pint of beer at Over Haddon before the trek back across the fields, and that appeared to keep him quiet.

Following the stroll, we tried to find an open campsite, which proved somewhat difficult. However on the meandering drive around Derbyshire we did find a field of alpacas and, on a separate occasion, a field of sheep and rhea, so it wasn’t without reward. We ended up at the Royal Oak near Crowdecote; a nice pub and a great eatery. It was so nice that we ate there twice. Once at 6.30 ish for the main course and then again at 9.00 ish for dessert. During the interval we walked to the end of the High Peak Trail and back.

On Sunday we had a trip around Carlswark Cavern, a cave that Richard and I had not yet been in to. We called Bill to let him know our plans and as per usual he wished us well and explained that it was dull and grotty, and that most people had done it in the Boy Scouts so didn’t have any interest in doing it ever again. Perfect. We actually had a really nice time. The cave basically has an entrance series, which is followed by a nice round trip. Off the round trip are a number of dead-end passages to sumps and rifts etc… we followed some of these where they appeared to be of some interest. We attempted to follow one such passage called the Big Dig, but it was rather wet and I decided to turn around at the point where cold water was reaching parts that it shouldn’t. Richard decided to take the lead and have another look, but also turned around a little later on (at the next deepest section) where the freezing cold water was penetrating further. We completed the roundtrip successfully and found the way out. It was a nice cave. A little damp at times perhaps, but very enjoyable. A particularly nice feature are the passage walls, which are covered with fossilised oyster and cockle shells which give a fabulous texture to the cave.

Richard and Rachel after emerging from Carlswark

After emerging from the cave we made our way home and baked chocolate cake :-)

Chocolate cake

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