Ironbridge & Bakewell

Tuesday 30th April 2019

Off again for another few days before my next dentist visit. This time we are going to a Camping and Caravanning Club ‘meet’ in Bakewell for the May Day weekend but to break up the journey we are stopping first at the Caravan and Motorhome Club site at High Onn for a few nights.

The journey was pretty uneventful, apart from some road works on the M5, until we got to within a mile of the site in the little village of Marston. There, as we turned a corner, we met a big sign in the road saying ‘Road Closed Ahead’. We stopped’ put on the hazard flashers while Nigel walked past the sign to find out if we could get through. He found a workman after a couple of hundred meters who said ‘You might be able to’ – very helpful. We had no option really so went for it hoping that we wouldn’t have to turn Voyager and Betty around in the lane only just wide enough for us anyway. We were lucky! When we got to the end of the designated section we found a large gang of workmen preparing the top dressing machine – with just enough room for us to get past.

We arrived just after half three. The site wardens were very friendly booked us in and took payment efficiently and pointed out the site facilities on the site sheet. It’s a bit basic, just water and emptying facilities no amenity block – but that’s OK as we have our own anyway. We were offered a selection of pitches so picked one with a good view for the satellite dish as well as of the view out the side windows.

High On pitched

So pitched up, levelled and electricity connected it was out with the 2G’s and off for an explore around the site – interesting ‘Air Raid Shelters’ in the adjacent field

(a note on the site map suggesting there is a Health & Safety nightmare if you dare to try and enter them) so out with the camera.

We found lots of good stuff in the Information Room some copies of local walks and Bike rides. The wardens advised that all could easily be handled with our scooters except the steps to the towpath mentioned on one of the walks – if we can’t find a way around we will just forgo that bit.

We decided on the shortest of the walks and set off towards Little Onn where we could check our accessibility to the tow path of the Shropshire Union Canal. On the way we passed old RAF buildings left over from the wartime airfield of Wheaton Aston. Now defunct and owned by a pig farm the remains of the Control Tower are still recognisable.

RAF Control Tower

I suppose they can’t all be turned into Museums but I think there should at least be a plaque or notice board placed to preserve the memory.

The trundle was good – only about an hour – some good pics and confirmation of the warden’s opinion – only step access to the canal tow path.

A couple of lived in Canal narrowboats moored by the bridge were good to see.

Back at Voyager it was a quick meal and a bit of TV before bed.

Wednesday 1st May 2019

After a quiet and restful night we awoke fairly early. The sun was trying to break through quite a lot of cloud – but the forecast is for rain later so we are up and away double quick today.

We are visiting Ironbridge Gorge where there are several museums and sites of interest. It is in fact too much for one visit so our plan is to do Blists Hill Victorian Town first and play it by ear from then on.

Parking Voyager in the Coach Park – the 2G’s were out and we set forth to the entrance – hanging back a little to let the coach full of school children get in first. The staff were very friendly and helped us through the entry process. Although all doors were big enough for the scooters some of the angles were very tight but we managed with not too much difficulty.

Once out into the ‘Town’ everything was great – it was like stepping back in time. Shops displaying things from the past – with prices to match were well done. Most were open with ‘assistants’ inside who were very keen to talk and pass on little snippets of further information.

The site is quite large and made up not only of original buildings (Iron works, Blast furnace etc)

but there are many buildings that have been brought in and rebuilt around the site. These have been done with much thought and skill and all look as if they had been there for years.

They complete the story of the time in a much smaller area which makes for a very interesting experience.

All of the shops, cottages and workshops had roaring fires inside so were very welcoming on a cool day.

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The knowledgeable staff, all dressed in period costume, were happy to chat.

There was even an area set up as a Fairground with a steam engine powered Merry Go Round.

In fact the only down side was the predicted rain that brought our visit to a premature close.

We did get annual ‘passports’ so can revisit on a better day if we are back in the area within the next year.

Lunch in Voyager then we drove the three or so miles to see the very impressive Ironbridge itself. The rain was still about so we just stopped in the car park for a few minutes and took some photos.

Irnbrg 1Irn brg CPIrn brdg twn

The journey back to site was OK mostly but the last couple of miles on the very narrow lanes was a challenge with many local cars trying to use them at the same time. It was interesting to see three small cars reversing ahead of us around a corner to a spot we could pass them.

We eventually made it back and had a quiet evening checking the photos and video we took along with a bit of TV before bed.

Thursday 2nd May 2019

Well today we had planned to have a good trundle around the lanes but the rain had other ideas. It showered for most of the day so it ended up a lazy one inside with a bit of cross stitch and Blog work for Nigel.

Despite the weather we decided to have a tapas lunch with the heating turned up for that Mediterranean feel.

After our evening meal the weather improved no end so we thought a bit of fresh air would do us good. We went for a trundle up the lane  to check out High Onn itself – found a house of the same name

High Onn Hse

– and using Google maps found the Onn as well – it was just a bit of raised ground (may have been something defensive in earlier times)

– took pics but they are pretty uninspiring.

More TV and sleep.

Friday 3rd May 2019

We are on the move again – with a top up shop on the way. The journey was a little fraught with road works and a ten minute down pour as we left Morrisons – just long enough for us to get soaked getting back and into Voyager. By the time we had everything loaded into the fridge and cupboards it was all over.

We arrived at the C&CC Rally at Bakewell about 3.30. It was in a field near the town but because of all the recent rain things were rather boggy. My impression was that it is not that well organised – they were quick to take our money but there was no information pack. They were siting motorhomes around the peri-track road with their front wheels only just off it – so getting off again would be easier.

Nigel did well reversing Betty into position (almost in line with Voyager anyway). He put wood blocks under each of the levelling pads to spread the weight and we settled in for three days wild camping.

The rain was a bit on and off but we did venture out for a short trundle after our evening meal – just to get the lay of the land and see the best way to get into town. It was pretty short though as another rainstorm caught us – we returned wet and cold but Voyager was warm so we were soon happy again.

We didn’t watch much TV tonight so as to preserve our batteries.

Saturday 4th May 2019

After a good night’s sleep we showered (we are more confident with the slightly unusual procedure now) had breakfast and while I did the washing up Nigel did the outside chores- emptying the toilet cassette and grey water – needed a trip over to the far corner of the field.

We finally got away for our trundle about 11.00 (no rain today – well maybe a shower later the forecast says) heading into town.

Bakwl brdg 3

According to Nigel you can’t visit Bakewell without having a bit of Bakewell tart – so that’s the first stop. The town was very busy with tourists and locals but we soon found the cake shop and Nigel bought a tart – I was expecting a curd one but it was an iced frangipane one (like Mr Kipling’s).

We decided there were just too many people about town so made our way across the bridge of keys and onward to the start of the Monsal trail.

This is an 8 mile disused railway line with several tunnels and a viaduct which has been tarmacked for the most part. It is great for walkers, cyclists and us on the 2Gs.

It would be ideal on a warm sunny day but we had a cold sunny one – I had two pairs of gloves on and although Nigel had jeans on his knees were soon getting cold – I must make that knee warmer I’ve promised him.

We didn’t get as far as we had hoped turning back after a couple of miles – not even getting to the first tunnel. We will save that for our next trip – hopefully it’ll be warmer.

We got back to Voyager before the showers and found the solar panels had done their job getting the leisure batteries back up to 100%.

So after our evening meal and a good slice of Bakewell tart each we settled down – downloading pics and videos – diary stuff and PC Blog work – and some TV too (now that we know we are OK with 270Ah’s of leisure battery power and three 100W solar panels).

3 thoughts on “Ironbridge & Bakewell

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