Back to Basics - Bakewell Showground Rally (Sat 8th - Wed 13th Aug)
We arrived at Bakewell Showground on the first morning and were greeted by Marshals Ray and Carol, ably assisted by Trevor and Sheila. We were pleased to see that, if we wanted it, electricity was available and fresh water and disposal of grey and black waste were very close, so no problem there at all. (It wasn’t nearly as basic as everyone was expecting).
The site is within easy walking distance of Bakewell Town Centre and the Showground Restaurant. Most people walked into town on the Sunday. It was surprisingly busy and all the shops were open. David and I also managed to find the Monsal trail, a cycle and walking route on the former Midland Railway line. It’s a steep climb to get onto it, especially when pushing a bike, but well worth the effort. We managed to cycle about four miles each way, others did the full 8 miles. The journey is made easier by refreshment stops at the former stations of Hassop and Miller’s Dale. They were much needed as the weather was sunny and very hot. Sunday at 7.00p.m. we had a social evening. We all sat round and were entertained by Sheila and Trevor with Play Your Cards Right. If you were lucky, you could win a scratch card with a prize of up to £100,000. Most folk won a ticket but nobody got a prize, unfortunately. We enjoyed it so much we repeated the experience another evening. Bakewell has a lively open air market every Monday and I think most of us managed to get in there for some retail therapy. It’s a delightful town with the River Wye flowing through it. There’s a strange bridge where people have attached hundreds of padlocks to the railings. I believe the idea is that a couple put the locks on and take one key each. It can only be removed when they are together and is supposed to be a symbol of their love for each other. The huge trout in the river must think we are a daft lot doing that. Monday is also the main agricultural market and farmers were bringing in trailer loads of sheep and cattle for sale from quite early. Most of which subsequently left in large trucks for their final journey to the supermarket. Unfortunately it was not possible to see the sale in action, otherwise I think Andy and Heather may have bought a few sheep so their dog Storm could have a practice at herding them. On Tuesday Ray and Carol invited us all to join them on a circular walk around Monsal Dale and Viaduct so we set off into Bakewell to catch the bus. Monsal Head is a famous beauty spot with a magnificent view down Monsal Dale and up the Wye Valley. The position is at a spot where the Wye, on its passage eastwards to meet the Derwent, encounters a band of harder rock and is forced to make a sharp turn southwards and carve its way through a high ridge of limestone. In places it was a bit of a scramble, up and down, but we all made it back safely just in time to have a very welcome ice cream and catch the bus back to Bakewell. Anthony and Jane met us at the finish of our final scramble as they had offered to shuttle us back to the campsite in their car if we missed the bus! It was pretty exhausting and although we were assured it was only three miles, I think Derbyshire miles are a lot longer than Somerset ones. It was well worth it though, as the countryside around that area is stunning. On Wednesday, the last day of the rally, we had the usual coffee morning - but with a free surprise raffle. All the prizes had been thoroughly de-Covidized and wrapped in brown paper so nobody knew what they were. Tickets were drawn with our rally number on and everybody got something which was really lovely. Many thanks to Ray & Carol for organising this. On our final evening one group decided to go into Bakewell and sample the different brews available and the rest of us sat round our van (not too close - social distancing!) just generally chatting and being sociable. All in all a thoroughly lovely time with fantastic weather, only disturbed one night by the most amazing thunder storm which turned night into day. Marilyn Miland