Driving in the Peaks

April 7, 2007

Right, where were we? Ah, that’s right, on our way to sunny Buxton, the Capital of the Peaks, after having been rejected at the Roaches.

This area was all windswept heathery hilltops and sheepy rolling dales, with more drystone walls than you could decently poke a stick at, and a pleasure to drive through (though English rural roads are distinctly on the narrow side) until we got to the outskirts of Buxton, which appears to be expanding faster than decent architecture can accommodate, leaving a slew of identical two-story faux-Victorian houses to trample the paddocks and kick down the aforementioned walls. Phew! Shorter sentences from now on.

It’s now nearly 7pm and despite having been reassured that there were billions of B and Bs in Buxton we can see nothing but rather grand hotels that charge far more than our pathetic Aussie dollar will allow us to pay. We drive around and around and then – aha! – B and B! Up to the door we go, doorbell we ring, very nice lady answers the door and informs us that no, we can’t stay there as they’re cleaning all the curtains and carpets. Her husband wouldn’t let her put up the No Vacancy sign because he wanted to see how many people they turned away. She does, however, recommend three places just around the corner (yes there are, well not billions, but lots of B and Bs in Buxton) and we front up to the cutest and announce our intention to stay the night. Mr Cat, the huge black moggy who gallops to the door to be let in with us, sits on the stairs and gets lots of attention.

9 Green Lane is a lovely old Edwardian building – bloody beaut with lovely old bits of furniture on the landing and all freshly painted rooms with heated everything. Our view is of the equally grand residence across the road – it’s all positively ooh ah and not even horribly expensive. James won’t let us stay forever (or even for another night) mumbling something about money or jobs. Bah!

After a splendid evening eating very hot Indian food and drinking Chilean merlot (yes, merlot) we awake refreshed and eager to explore. Bloody top breakfast downed, we take off for the hills and the caves. Linda wants to explore something called the Devil’s Arse, but we end up instead going to Solomon’s Temple, a folly on a hill that seemed perfectly suited to the prevailing conditions, ie. 6 degrees with an evil wind.

The whole area is a weird hillocky spot made that way by generations of lime-burners digging holes and leaving tailings, and a big chunk of it is now reclaimed grassland:
Grin Low
except for when some local bigwig a couple of hundred years ago declared the whole thing unsightly and planted a forest:
The Grin Low Horror
I don’t know if something went wrong there, but it doesn’t all look that bad.

Suddenly it was afternoon, and time to be moving on again, so back in the car, heading south, due to police activity on the road we’re forced to take an even smaller road, through a place called Flash. Whether that refers to the time it takes to go by on the outside of one’s conveyance, or whether it was named in some earlier day with a simpler notion of what it takes to look glamourous, we’ll never know. It’s all picture-book pretty, though.

Had a cursory look for the Brian Rourke bike shop on the way through Stoke-on-Trent (see previous post) but no luck, so relatively uneventfully, we pressed on to London, and ‘home’.

Next week, we will be presenting continuing one-eyed truths of that town, so stay tuned!



  1. That stuff about the devil’s arse is, of course, a lie.

  2. But that’s what the devil would say, now, wouldn’t he?

  3. The Peaks….are we talking Derbyshire? Mr Darcy land?

  4. Staffordshire, actually, but right beside Derbyshire. Joseph Banks and Captain Cook both hailed from Staffordshire. And some breed of dog.

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