Derbyshire 19 - Christmas lights in Castleton, Blue John, a castle and a Christmas meal

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December 12th 2014
Published: December 20th 2014
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So in the immortal words of the group Slade - So here it is Merry Christmas , everyone having fun, ................we felt it was time to hit the road again . Suzy has been going stir crazy over the last few months. Just like us she wanted to be on the road again. We had being suffering cabin fever stuck inside. OK we have a new Camper stops book to peruse and our 2015 ACSI camping book has arrived but it is not the same sitting and reading at home in front of the Christmas tree rather than sitting and reading inside Suzy and being out and about.

After her clean and polish it was time to think where to go. We had to do it . . Just a few days but surely there was somewhere interesting to visit on the doorstep. We have been reading blogs and getting increasingly jealous of full timers on the road in Spain and Portugal and here we are at home in the cold. A few weeks ago we thought we deserved to have a few days away. Where to go? Not too far but far enough to be somewhere I have never
Castleton Castleton Castleton

The American diner
been to. And we needed somewhere to have a Christmas meal something we do every year. So where did we decide - Castleton in the High Peaks.Why

Why Castleton? Well it was just an hour away, there was a nice Caravan Club site just 1km from the town, Peveril Castle an English Heritage site overlooked the town, there was the Blue John mine which might just be too far away for us to get to and there were the Christmas lights. Famed around Derbyshire for years locals and visitors from further afield dropped on Castleton to view the lights year on year. And there were loads of pubs to choose from to eat our Christmas meal. Sounds good on the face of it.

We reversed Suzy off the drive and shuffled all our cars around before hitting the road. The weather was grey and did not bode well. Rain was promised but we had our new winter waterproof coats which would throw the rain off as if water off a ducks back. We loaded up gloves, scarves and hats that would be needed if the weather was poor. Along the roads of Derbyshire we sang along to all the usual Christmas songs. We were getting in the mood.

Arriving on the site we were greeted by the friendly wardens who we now consider to be elf and elfettes. A name picked up after reading a blog about a couple who had become wardens themselves and called themselves the name after the colour of their green uniforms. The greeting was warm and friendly a little different from the conversation we had had with them when we cancelled one of the days due to other committments. The Caravan Club has many rules and cancelling must be done within 72 hours of arrival otherwise a penalty is imposed . It is possible to be black balled and refused entrance if you keep cancelling at short notice. Our cancellation was within the specified time scale but we still got scolded like small children who had behaved badly. Ah well it is Christmas . Water off a ducks back and all that sort of stuff. The site was clean and tidy as always, a Christmas tree lit up and decorations all over the motorhomes and caravans. We parked up, hooked up to electricity and plugged in our new fairy lights that we decked across Suzys window. All we need now is a Santa flashing outside and a small flashing christmas tree. Perhaps on Santas list for next year. It was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas .............................

The weather was awful. The grey sky was leaden and the wind blew the grey clouds across it as if they were being chased by the devil himself. We settled in for the night watching the comings and goings and watched all the pretty lights beginning to light up the campsite. Showers excellent as always and a small shop was most welcome. And a new book Revelation - a detective story set in Tudor England where murders where being carried out following the text of the Book of Revelations. A weighty tome and Part 4 of a series . Ah well I shall plough through it and read parts 1 to 3 when I can download them to the kindle.

Friday morning we woke up early. It had been cold overnight and we knew we had two choices to go out and brave the poor weather or stay in all day. Braving the weather won the day. Well you dont come all this way and sit in do you?

The walk took us 15 minutes but it felt longer as the rain lashed down upon us. Water ran down our faces and off our coats onto our trousers. We were soaked . Why couldnt it snow instead? Let it snow , Let it snow , Let it snow .......................We would be less wet if it had snowed. Entering CAstleton we saw rows and rows of stone cottages , that dark limestone of the High Peak. The lights were disappointing . Where were they? Nothing on in the day? Just a few trees outside shops, pubs and the local school. And few people about. Our first stop was a local American diner . We were the only customers so picked our seat and sat to people watch . Not many walked by. The weather was keeping everyone in. We sat a while drinking hot coffee and eating american burgers. It gave us the chance to dry the hat, scarf and gloves over the radiator and leave the coat dripping over the back of the chair.

After drying off we walked through the tiny town with the plan to walk up to Peveril Castle . Plans however were going wrong today. It only opened at weekends so despite knocking at the door there was no-one in. The castle stood on the hill above the town and was very impressive . Well at least the little we could see of it was looking impressive. The castle is very much ruined. It was founded sometime between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Domesday Survey of 1086. During the 13th century there were periods of building work at the castle and by 1300 its final form was established . Since the 14th century the castle was gradually stripped of its stone which was used elsewhere. Perhaps this castle is going to be worth a return visit in the summer.

Our next stop was the local church - would this be open? Built in a typically English style in grey limstone, simple Gothic design. We walked through the graveyard and yes it was open and not a sign of a churchwarden it was empty. It was a pretty church although fairly plain and austere inside . Information inside told of work being done on the church in the 1960's to
Peveril Castle Peveril Castle Peveril Castle

That is as near as we got to it
accomodate new practices within religion. The history of this interesting old church is dedicated to Saint Edmund, King of East Anglia. He was martyred after his defeat by the Danes in AD 869. The church dates back to the 12th century at least. It is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086, but the building as it stands today must have been started soon afterwards either by William Peveril or his son. The site chosen for the church was a slight mound in the middle of an enclosed area reflecting its importance in the village. As we walked inside we found one of the most interesting features were the family pews some of which dated back to the 17th century. How wonderful that these survived the cull of the 1960's refurbishment of the church. A display case contained both a Vinegar and Breeches Bible. The Vinegar Bible was printed in 1717 by John Baskett at the Clarendon Press, Oxford. The error within its text was in the Chapter for the heading for Luke Chapter 20 where instead of reading The Parable of the Vineyard it reads the Parable of the Vinegar. The Breeches Bible is so named because in the Geneva Bible of 1560 the reference in Genesis chapter iii 7 says that Adam and Eve clothed themselves in "breeches" made from fig leaves.

From the church we walked to the small tourist information and museum - it was still pouring it down and we were soaked to the skin. It was a pleasure to get in to get out of the rather cold and wet rain which clothed the town in a grey shroud. Not a good place to be but then you have to make the most of things. The small museum was fascinating with displays of WW1 items, items of agriculture in the early 20th century, displays on minerals from the Peak including items of Blue John stone mined locally. There was a small shop selling all items sheep related much to Sions amusement and pretty items which would have made unusual christmas presents. But still not much in the way of lights.

We walked back to Suzy in the downpour eating lamb and mint sauce baps finished off with locally made pork pies and chocolate and malteser cake . How nice it was to get back into Suzy to put the heating on and settle down to more reading and relaxing.

The last thing we planned to do was visit one of the locals pubs for a meal. We chose Ye Olde Nags Head. A final turkey christmas dinner followed by Baileys Cheesecake, a few glasses of wine and we felt full and stuffed . Time to walk back yes you guessed it. Not much in the way of lights - perhaps the recession had got in the way and money was scarce . Sadly we were disappointed and walked back in guess what - rain .

All in all the weather disappointed as did the lights but not all trips go well and you have to make the most of what you have. We still enjoyed the break away and are now planning the next one the first for 2015. There is a chinese proverb that says "You cannot prevent the bird of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent it from nesting in your hair." This trip was one - the bird of sorrow was the rain, the lack of the lights, the average meal, the closed castle but we made the most of it . Thats all you can do sometimes. Why fret - couldnt change the weather so we just got on with what you were given . Never let it nest in our hair .


23rd December 2014
A grey cold and wet winters day in the High Peaks

It is hard to stay warm and dry this time of year in England. Lovely street scene.
25th December 2014
A grey cold and wet winters day in the High Peaks

\merry Christmas
Merry Christmas to you both - from a dull and miserable England .

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