Monday, 21 June 2010

The Peak District!

Yesterday, Christopher, Angus, and I headed up North towards what's called The Peak District. It starts about 3o minutes or so past Nottingham and I guess it's where some of the highest "peaks" in England are. I say "peaks", because compared to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, England's peaks are really just decent sized hills. But, I digress.

We stopped in a town called Castleton. Its a really cute town and there was so much to do! We started out with lunch (which turned out to not be so great...note to self, if we go back, dont eat at the Three Roof's Cafe), and then headed up to see Peveril Castle.

The castle sits up on a high hill and overlooks the entire town and surrounding valley. We had to climb basically straight up to get to it... my butt is sore today from the incline! The castle is named after William Peveril, who is said to be an illegitimate child of William 1, though its never been proven. There's not much left of the castle, basically just the wall and the tower. You can see some remnants of other buildings scattered around, but nothing very substantial. Its always neat to see the old castles though.

Angus needed to stop for a drink
On top of part of the wall
Walking up the stairs to go into the tower
Inside the bottom of the tower
The view from the top of the hill... it was an absolutely beautiful day!
Down in Castleton
Angus took a dip in the creek
After the castle, we made our way back down the hill and wandered around the town a little bit before making our way to Peak Cavern (which is also known as the Devil's Arse). They allow dogs on the tours, as long as they stay on their leads, so we took a tour.

The reason the cave is known as the Devil's Arse is because of the noises the cave makes when air is rushing through it. They changed the name to Peak Cavern in the 1800's when Queen Victoria was coming to visit, so they wouldn't offend her, but they're back to calling it the Devil's Arse now.

My awesome toe shoes!
Standing inside the cave looking out. The people who used to dwell here were rope makers. The tour guide even demonstrated how they made rope... it was awesome! They lived and worked in the cave and the children even had to work; they began work at 4 years old!
Rich and famous people used to come visit the cave, and this is how they had to enter. The boat had to go underneath that tiny opening, so they had to lay flat and be pushed underneath, in the pitch black. Back then, people thought that caves were basically direct routes to hell, so not only was it dank and dark in the cave, but there was the added fear that they might be on their way to meet the Devil Himself. Needless to say, a lot of people turned back the way they came and didn't go any deeper into the cave.
Christopher and Angus by the boat
For those brave enough to continue on their tour of the cave, the rope makers would have the children climb up into the orchestra gallery (the hole in the middle of the picture) and wait until their guests got into the room below, and then they would scare them. Whether or not the rope makers took to you depended on what kind of light source you had on your tour. If they liked you, you got a torch, if not, you got a candle, so often times they literally could barely see right in front of them. When they got into the larger rooms, the rope makers would set of fireworks to light up the room. And then the room would fill with smoke and they'd have to make their way out of a dark, smokey cave.
After the cave, we walked around Castleton some more. We were going to go hike up Mam Tor (one of the peaks), but Angus was done by that time.
Like I said...done. We had to carry him the rest of the way. And, he's not as small as the yorkies. He weighs 23 pounds!
Yeah, he's not spoiled at all...