“Is that Spire twisted” I ask as we drive through Chesterfield towards the Chatsworth Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. “It is”, he says smuggly, “It’s why the football team are nicknamed the Spireites”. Surely this defect should have been fixed at the ‘snagging’ stage.
We are keen to see the site, it is busy all year round and just getting a booking is often seen as success. The final mile to site is single track so don’t think about arriving before the 1pm earliest arrival time, it would be sheer madness, not to mention a tad stressful, to attempt it as caravans are departing.
An unusual site, it appears to be set within an old ‘walled garden’. Pitches take up every available space so open grassy areas do not feature giving a quirky rather than spacious feeling. There are some distinct advantages though, the ‘key’ provided at reception is not for an entry barrier, it is for the door in the wall, a secret gate, and once you turn the key you are immediately in the wide open space of Chatsworth Park (more on that later). Think The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe and you’re almost there.
First, we have a date tonight, Stewart and Kay, who we worked with at Longleat this season, live ten minutes away and are coming across for a meal at The Wheatsheaf where our Club Membership was going to earn a 20% discount, which we remember to use this time. Only a mile away, The Boss suggested we walk, only this was one mile up the single track lane in total darkness. He grabbed two torches, first one … dim, second one … dimmer, great, dim and dimmer. Why wouldn’t he think to check the batteries before we left?
A fab festive ‘Snowman Burger’ matched the fab ‘catch up’ with Kay and Stewart, who, without even knowing our dim and dimmer predicament, offered to deliver us back to the site in one piece (or rather two pieces). Thank the lord! All in all, a lovely evening.
When we travel about we always hope to stumble upon an interesting gem, the type of place everyone drives past every day then features in some documentary TV program like ‘coast’ or ‘countryfile’. The Boss literally stumbled across Eyam while hiking the Peak District as a teenager and it’s story has always fascinated us. We got very wet in the process, read more in Eyam – The Plague Village
Another bonus here too, Mel and Scott the Assistant Wardens were also at our induction training, we didn’t have the time for a proper catch up … ie. involving alcohol … but nice to say hello and see how they are doing. Mel suggested we should get up at 6am and go see the deer in the grounds, she obviously doesn’t know us that well. “Is she mad” The Boss spluttered as we headed back to the van.
“Steve, I can’t sleep, shall we go and see the deer?” … “What time is it” … “6am” … “Are you mad”.
We turn the key in the door in the wall, like some childhood adventurers stepping into another world … and step through … It is peaceful and enchanting, almost like stepping into the world of Alice in Wonderland, morning mist shrouds the park we are disappointed there are no deer, then our eyes adjust, a massive herd is just ahead of us.
The young males were ‘chillin’ away from the main herd and more likely away from the real ‘big’ boys. It was a treat to see a couple testing their sparring skills with a lovely ‘clacketty clack’ sound of clashing antlers.
Moving on towards Chatsworth House people are buzzing about clearing away the last bits and pieces from the famous Christmas Market held annually by the entrance gates to the house, it is still only 7.30am. Bit miffed we missed the Christmas Market but when it comes down to it once you’ve seen one Christmas market you’ve seen them all. The Impressive golden coloured gates remain closed, we are still not sure if we would have been allowed past, or not, once opening time was reached. We satisfied ourselves taking a few more pictures before walking back to site … it is moving on day … and today we will be out by 11am just in case one of those pesky 1pm arrivals comes down that lane early.
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