Walking – it’s what people do when they visit the Peak District National Park. Some enjoy a gentle stroll through a pretty village while others take on the challenge of hiking the 431 km Pennine Way National Trail.
Somewhere in between the two extremes are 3,005 km of walking tracks with right of way through farming land.
Let’s go – through the gate
up the hill
over the stile
to a vantage point at the top of the ridge.
Walkers are rewarded with expansive views of the village of Castleton and the limestone hills bordering the Hope Valley.
As we explored the streets of Manchester, I spent much of my time admiring the elaborate façades of the buildings. During the Industrial Revolution, the city was the centre of the nation’s textile industry and many of the buildings reflect the enormous wealth created by many but enjoyed by just a few. Luckily, these beautiful buildings can now be appreciated by everyone.
More than 10 million people visit the Peak District National Park every year. Many of them were at the picturesque village of Castleton with us. Try as I might, it was impossible to take people-free photos. Even when I thought I’d got one, someone was always there!
As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is passionate about beer. He brews his own at home and enjoys sampling local beers when we travel. It’s easy to imagine how excited he was when he discovered there are 1,424 breweries in England. In a country of 130,395 km² that’s one brewery for every 91 km². He was a happy traveller!
He enjoyed visiting quaint local pubs, tasting new beers and posting his photos and reviews on Facebook.
Often, he chose a beer purely for its name.
We wondered if the brewers had a particular person in mind when they came up with these humorous labels.
In case you’re wondering, here are my husband’s thoughts on these three beers.
Coniston Brewing Co. Old Man Ale – 4.8% Ruby red ale with a mild hop taste. Smooth drinking. Just the drink for the old men out there prior to their afternoon nap
York Brewery Guzzler – very nice, tasty and light. A refreshing easy-to-drink brew
Skinner’s Ginger Tosser – Just couldn’t go past the label. It reminds me of someone I know. You can taste the ginger mid-palate and honey on the back of the tongue. Ginger aftertaste. 3.8% lowest brew yet.
Think of beaches and images of never-ending sand, wide blue skies and brilliant sunshine come to mind. But Chesil Beach, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset is anything but sandy.
The beach, formed at the end of the last ice age, is 28 km long, up to 12 metres high and completely composed of pebbles. The size of the pebbles varies from one end of the beach to the other. At West Bay in the north the pebbles are tiny while south at Portland they are much larger. It’s said that fishermen landing on the coast at night can pinpoint their location according to the size of the stones on the beach.
Fleet Lagoon runs parallel to the ocean behind Chesil Beach between Portland and Abbotsbury. The lagoon is tidal and at low tide there’s just a puddle of brackish water left. A boardwalk across the tidal flats is decorated with wooden carvings of local wildlife.
After the bridge crossing, the pebbles begin. It’s an arduous climb to the top of the mound and the slope on the other side, down to the water’s edge, is just as steep.
The beach may be vast, but each of its parts is tiny.
…and when I visit London I like to pretend I live there. In my imagination I don’t have to go to work; I have the freedom to wander day after day, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. If the weather isn’t great, I can stay in because there will always be another day, and my inner city apartment is modern and spacious with a glorious view of the river.
In reality, we never have enough time in London to do everything we want. We like to stay in Bloomsbury, an area we’ve come to know well. Each time we arrive in Cartwright Gardens, it feels as if we’re home.
The studio apartment we always book is the size of a matchbox and it’s on the third floor, so we get our daily exercise going down the staircase in the morning and up again that evening. Instead of the Thames, we can see the pretty garden between the buildings if we lean far enough out the window.
But the location is marvellous. It’s just around the corner off Euston Road, yet the traffic noise can hardly be heard. From Kings Cross tube station in one direction or Russell Square in the other we can go anywhere in the city. We buy our fresh fruit and vegetables from the friendly man at the little stall on Marchmont Street. There are several grocery stores nearby and even more pubs. Our favourite is Mabels Tavern on Mabledon Place, and in the evening we walk around the corner to join the after-work crowd for dinner and a drink.
I will probably never live in London, but when I visit I like to imagine I’m a local!