The Monsal Trail (almost)

Hello again! Told you it wouldn’t take long.

After spending two weeks in hospital due to an infection, I found myself really craving a bike ride.  The weather had been perfect for cycling while I was in hospital, and the infection had somehow sorted out the water retention in my legs, so walking no longer hurt.  Trouble is, my exit from hospital coincided with the wind going a bit crazy, and our child minder going on holiday, so each day was spent either cursing the wind (I don’t have the energy to cycle against wind, yet), or looking after my son.  I spent a bit of time planning where I might cycle, and everything seemed to align for the Friday..

On Fridays, my in-laws look after my son, meaning I’d have practically the whole day to cycle.  The weather was forecast to rain, but the wind was only 5-6mph, which I don’t mind at all.  One of the routes I’d found was the Monsal Trail, which normally sounded a bit nightmarish due to walkers, but I figured the rain should see most of them off!

So, on Friday, after lunch, I put the Muddy Fox into the boot of my car and drove the 25 miles to Miller’s Dale.  Why Miller’s Dale?  erm.. because I mis-read the map when I was telling the sat nav where to go.  I was supposed to start at Blackwell. 😛  Anyway, it turned out that the car park required exact change, and I didn’t have any change at all (too used to paying by phone), so I had to drive back to a village called Tideswell, which looked like a lovely place, but I was only interested in the co-op, a carton of milk, and a pack of Crunchie bars.  One parking ticket later, and I was on the trail!

I decided to head in the direction of Bakewell, as 8 miles seemed do-able.  I had 2 hours before having to head home for dinner, and 8mph should be easy peasy, even for someone in my condition!  Of course, I forgot to consider time taken admiring views, or reading the information panels that’re dotted along the trail.  The trail is a disused railway track, which heads over viaducts and through the hills via tunnels.  The tunnels are pretty spooky at first!

Monsal Trail

I got used to them, though. 🙂  Also, the views from the trail are awesome;

Monsal Trail

I lost a lot of time gazing at old mills, rivers, and outcrops! So much time that I’d only managed just over 6 miles before I had to turn back.  I didn’t quite make it to Bakewell, and the end of the trail, but I was pretty close. On the way back, I realised that the trail was not quite as flat as I’d hoped – it was a lot more uphill going back!  I had been right about the rain putting off walkers, though – there were hardly any, even though the rain had stopped just as I’d arrived.  A few had appeared once the rain had stopped, so the way back involved a lot more pedestrian dodging (there’s a keep left rule, but almost all of them were on the right).  I got back to the car with wibbly legs, and something really weird had happened to my stomach (hard to explain.. I looked pregnant, but the bulge was largest just under my rib cage, as if all my organs had been pushed up), but I was sooooo glad to have got the bike ride out of my system.

Since then, the weather’s been shite, but the next time the wind slows, I’m heading out again!  I don’t know where to, but I’ll try and post an update when I do.  🙂