Sunday, 1 April 2012

Cycle 1

Today, we took our bikes off the train at Chesterfield and cycled some 35 miles East, to Normanton-on-Trent. The weather was perfect, and - apart from the steep push up into Bolsover (this is the view of the Castle on our way) - it wasn't too hilly. I knew we would enjoy pedalling through the Dukeries (we passed near Welbeck Abbey, and right by Thoresby): what I hadn't bargained for was the magnificence of Smith of Warwick's Sutton Scarsdale Hall. Open today for the first time this year, we came across it by accident: the lane down through housing looked unpromising, but suddenly there rears up this immense early 18th Century ruin. Looking at the vestiges of Italian stucco fireplaces, you can still feel the throb of a grand household. I particularly loved the unearthly outlook from its terrace - directly over the M1 and across to Bolsover. That's a place to explore further some time when we are not already exhausted (lack of biking practice), and don't have miles further to go before our 6pm ETA.

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