The stay at Lodore Falls didn't end particularly strongly. It was a comfortable night's rest, and a reasonable breakfast, but the same woman was serving in the restaurant upon my arrival. She was polite but cool. Thankfully, with only toast ordered, there were no mistakes made. We checked out, and I paid the balance for last night's dinner, and headed off in the car. It was only in casual conversation that I found out Sam had paid cash last night, but our bill had two meals on it. We'd paid twice.
I went back and the woman at reception - the nicest person I'd encountered at the hotel - was happy to sort it out. She went to get the sour restaurant woman to double check about the cash, but of course that woman had to make extra sure that I was still paying for my dinner. She repeated several times that I hadn't paid last night and not to refund both meals. I wasn't trying to con them out of a meal, but thanks for the insinuation. We left, rather disappointed by the whole experience despite the lovely surroundings.
We had looked at the map today and thought perhaps to head to Hull on the eastern coast. After over an hour of winding roads and surprisingly heavy camper van traffic, we weren't even out of the national park yet. Hull looked at least five hours away. We reexamined the map and decided to head in a more southerly direction. Our chosen destination, for no particular reason other than its national parks location was presumably scenic: Bakewell.
After a dull drive along the M6 motorway - known even to us for its heavy traffic and bad drivers - and then the ring route around Manchester, we were ready for some decent scenery. Sadly, the drive to Buxton proved to be a sluggish metropolitan crawl, despite on the map seemingly being surrounded on all sides by national park. I took us off the main roads and thankfully we got a nice half hour of rolling English countryside before arriving in Bakewell, a charming and bustling little town.
We found a carpark and then starting enquiring in the pubs about free rooms. We had no luck, with the first couple being fully booked already. The barmaid at the second place explained that it was a bank holiday, which explained all the Friday afternoon traffic and lack of rooms. Thankfully, the Rutland Arms Hotel had a twin available, and a rather pleasant one at that. After settling in, I did a bit of a loop of the town.
I clambered up the slope behind the hotel, discovering a pretty old church and graveyard. Beyond it stretched a public path, winding between properties and then out into the hillside. I trudged up through the thick grass and up into a field. It was still a public walk, but the council must have an easement over private land, as there was a note from the owner warning about cattle. Sure enough, four cows were lazing in the grass. They were bemoosed.
Nick Schaedel extends his sincere, and heartfelt apologies to all the victims of the August 2012 blogging accident. He assures his readers that measures have been taken to prevent such literary aneurisms from occuring in the future.
After eyeing the cows, I turned to look back the way I'd come and discovered a nice view of the little village, small and sleepy from this distance. As I returned (past a preserved 1700s cottage that had sadly closed at 4pm), it started to spit, and soon the town was quiet. A surprisingly authentic Indian meal later and I was ready to settle in for some blogging and British TV. Tomorrow, depending on how far along the western coast we go, we may find ourselves in Wales.