Ashbourne to Dovedale

Ashbourne was chosen as our destination today after a lazy start. As it turns out those days you don’t plan very much turn out to be really nice.

It was Miss Lexy’s turn for the outing today, so she was stocked up and set for travel.

Now Ashbourne has an interesting annual sport.

The annual two-day Royal Shrovetide football match has one half of the town plays the other, using the town as the pitch, with goals three miles apart. As many as several thousand players compete for two days with a hand-painted, cork-filled ball. The game is played by two teams, the Up’ards and the Down’ards, over two eight-hour periods, subject to few rules. Shrovetide football has been played for several centuries. It is a moving mass (the Hug) which continues through the roads of the town, across fields and even along the bed of the local Henmore BrookThere were intermittent unsuccessful attempts to ban the game until the late 19th century.

Again using geocaching as our tour guide we set of in the direction of a cache called Ghost train. We discovered that we had to go up hill, through this narrow corridor of stairs and back yards to reach the top of the hill.

However upon reaching the top, Martin said that we didn’t need to climb the hill but the cache was actually below us in a tunnel. He discovered this by reading the description afterwards. So on to find the tunnel entrance.

The tunnel entrance.

The Tunnel, acquired by the Peak District National Park and Derbyshire County Council, the trackbed now hosts the Tissington Trail – one of the country’s first such ventures, opened in 1971. The tunnel was a later addition to the walk and is now owned and maintained by Sustrans. Lit and with a cycle-friendly surface, the tunnel is equipped with a sound system, intermittently playing the noise of an approaching train. This can come as something of a surprise!

It was rather ghostly and creepy suddenly hearing a train chugging along behind you. We all turned in the darkness to see what we could hear but alas, nothing there. Ooooooooooo

After this, we heading back into the town, via a few geocaches, where Ben and I returned to the van and Nick and Martin went to find more.

Ben had a virtual interview with the college and he wanted some quiet space to talk to the teacher. I’m very pleased to say it went very well and Ben has been offered a place and will start in September.

Later in the day we went to our next destination which was to be Dovedale. Dovedale is a valley in the Peak District. It’s land is owned by the National trust.

The valley was cut by the River Dove and runs for just over 3 miles. In the wooded ravine a set of stepping stones crossed the river and there are two caves known as Dove holes.

A car Park was found with an easy walk along the river to the crossing point. So many people were enjoying the breathtaking scenery, playing in the water and enjoying picnics. Suzy ignored the picnics today and just made a beeline for the water. Ben of course had to follow swiftly behind.

On route back to the cottage we had another surprise of a field full of Deer with a magnificent stag.

A lovely day with positive news and great company, finished off with a superb supper created by Nick.

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