Saturday, 24 December 2011

Looks like reindeer

So we bought these trailers off eBay last month.  They're cheaper versions of more expensive ones you can buy from reputable places.  They're going to be OK, I think, probably. Well the wheels are a bit wobbly and the quick release for the trailer couplings doesn't inspire confidence but it will be OK, I think, probably.

Why have we bought them?  Ah, that's for another time.  I rather feel it's bad juju to give away mad plans too early, well like before they've actually been attempted.  Well, we'll see. 

Anyway, we thought for their maiden voyage we would start off with something easy, that is smooth and within easy reach of the car, in case they actually did fall apart on us.  And since the Monsal trail was extended for bikes earlier in the year, that seemed just the ride.  And since it's Christmas Eve, we though we'd get into the spirit of the occasion.  Time to blow up the reindeer.  (Can I say that on Blogger?) And so I give you...

Rudy at the Wye Dale end of the Monsal Trail

You don't arf get some funny looks from folk when you're towing an inflatable reindeer behind a bike.  And once the wind starts rushing through his antlers, he can get a bit loppy.  Next time, I'm going to fasten his feet more securely.

More seriously though, the Peak Park Authority have spent £2.25 million on the restoration of the tunnels and the trail and have done a fabulous job.  Six tunnels have been opened up so far.  All are surfaced and the four longer ones are lit until dusk.  The longest is the Headstone Tunnel, just after Little Longstone, which leads out onto the Monsal Viaduct below Monsal Head.  From there the trail follows the course of the River Wye and takes you past Cressbrook Mill, Litton Mill, Ravenstor with its overhanging roof, playground of the limestone 'ard men, Miller's Dale and through Chee Tor and past the towering and twisted white walls of Chee Dale, stopping for now at Wye Dale about 5km from Buxton.  It's a veritable feast of White Peak treasures, enough to make any Victorian poet emotional, particularly John Ruskin, who wasn't a big fan of the railway coming through here.

In the Headstone Tunnel
You have to marvel at Victorian engineering.  Just look at that cross section.  Also it would have been challenging enough to bore through the rock in a straight line but the Headstone runs along an a elegant curve

Cressbrook Mill
The first mill was built here by Richard Arkwright (of Spinning Jenny fame) in 1779 but burnt down in 1785 and was later rebuilt by his son, conveniently also called Richard.  Young boys were brought here from the big cities to work in less than ideal conditions.  It finally closed in 1965.

The parcel train at Cressbrook Tunnel

There are plans to open the remaining two tunnels west of Wye Dale and extend the trail the last few miles into Buxton, so by this time next year, as Ruskin might have said, "every reindeer in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half-an-hour, and every reindeer in Bakewell at Buxton".

Merry Christmas.


Al said...

Be interested to know a bit more about them there trailers, had a look at one from Edinburgh Bikes but they don't do them anymore!

Tony Bennett said...

Hi Al

Yes we tried Edinburgh Bikes with the same result. Evans Cycles had a similar one on their website but I can't see it there now. We contacted their Manchester branch but they don't keep them in stock. The guys at 18 Bikes in Hope, where I bought my new bike from, can order one for about £280. We paid £80 (!) so I'd hope the 'real' ones are better build quality for the price. I just checked the ebay site we bought ours from - he has one left and is trying to sell it for £580!!! You'd be seriously disappointed (and mad) if you paid that much. The best of breed single wheel cargo trailers are the Bob Yak/Ibex. Anyway, I'll be posting more reports on this as we test it more challenging trails.