The Monsal Trail - Orla's Story

Inspired by fellow ambassador Joanne's story of the New Zealand cycle trail, we did an Internet search for somewhere closer to home. After reading through the many results, we decided that The Monsal Trail in the Peak District sounded like our kind of place. So on a chilly, but sunny Sunday afternoon, we packed up the car, remembering the bike rack keys this time, and set off for Buxton.

The Monsal Trail - Orla's Story

After making it to the car park at Blackwell Mill, we unloaded our bikes and set off along a picturesque riverside path in search of the trail itself. Even before we made it to the cycle hire shop and the steep slope that led us to the trail, Orla was already very excited. Excitement grew as I pushed the bike up the slope with her still in the bike seat, whilst Reuben struggled to keep his feet on the loose surface.

weeride seat view

When we finally made it to the trail, a former railway line between Bakewell and Buxton, we were greeted with stunning views where the railway had cut through the limestone rock. The spectacular scenery continued as we set off along the trail, Orla having a front row view from her WeeRide child seat just in front of me. It won't be long now until she's too big to sit in it, so I'm going to make the most of it over the next few weeks and months. On this occasion we had a lot to spot and talk about. This included a large rock that looked like a face, some climbers making their way up a rock face across the valley, a former station that we could cycle through, and lots of tunnels. Equally as much fun was racing against Mummy and Reuben, and shouting at them to hurry up.

Monsal Trail

But neither could compare to the excitement that was stopping for a picnic and a chance to run around. We stopped part way along the route for a quick snack, and then again at Hassop Station where Orla enjoyed playing cafe in the wooden playhouse. With us all feeling refreshed we set off back along the trail to the car park.

With the sun starting to go down and the temperature dropping, Orla started to complain about having cold hands. Fortunately Mummy had packed her Spotty Otter down mittens which, along with a cuddle, quickly solved the problem. I did wonder if Orla had enjoyed herself as much as the rest of us, but as we approached the end of our ride she asked if we could come back again tomorrow. I'm not sure it'll be that soon, but we'll certainly be back.

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About the Author

Paul Frodsham

Paul Frodsham

About Me & Mine

Team Frodsham consists of me Paul (35), my wife Lianne (34) and our two cheebies, Reuben (4 and 3/4) and his little sister Orla (19 months). We live in Congleton (Beartown), Cheshire but can often be found visiting grandparents in Lancashire or Scotland. When I'm not stuck in an the office I like to get out running, or cycling with Reuben and Orla.

Favourite place in the world:

It would have to be North Male Atoll in the Maldives where we spent our honeymoon. With white sand beaches and warm lagoons perfect for snorkelling, the cutest baby turtles and just a short kayak trip to the next island for lunch. I'm still on the look out for an equally magical place a little closer to home ... suggestions welcome.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

We're always on the look out for new and different ways to go fast, be it going down hills on our bike, finding a park with the longest and fastest zip line (Tatton is winning so far) or riding rollercoasters at Alton Towers. When we're not in search of adrenaline we're in search of all manner of mysterious characters from a Gruffalo to Bog Babies, Pirates to Dinosaurs, either from the bike on the country lanes of Cheshire or from the banks of a Scottish loch ... no monsters spotted so far. We also love music and are looking forward to taking Orla to her first music festival in July.

Comments (3)

  • Amy Bloodworth

    Amy Bloodworth

    16 October 2012 at 15:15 | #

    What fantastic pictures, you have brought back some lovely memories! We spent a week in the Peak District when Arlo was 6 months old and we walked the Monsal Trail with him in his all terrain buggy. It was wonderful.

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  • Jay Greengrass

    Jay Greengrass

    16 October 2012 at 22:27 | #

    Aw, look at Orla's face in the middle photo - what a beautiful shot! Your post brings back very happy memories for me, too: I cycled the Monsal Trail one-legged on a tandem with my then-boyfriend. I had a long-term bad ankle injury and hiring a tandem was his bright idea of how I could still get out and be active with minimal fuss and pain. Thoughtfulness like that was why he was promoted soon afterwards to Husband :o)

    reply

  • Joanne Watterson

    Joanne Watterson

    18 October 2012 at 07:20 | #

    Ah great Paul that we have inspired you to get out on some trails! :o) My mums place is not so far from Buxton so I have done the Monsal trail but it looks like it may have had some updating re signage etc since then! I think someone has mention the Manifold Valley...this I would definitely reccommend too. I did it myself as a child and remember my mum and dad buying me a second hand bike from the hire shop. I know my sister has taken my nephew (5) down there too this summer so I would definitely put it high up on your list of trails!!!

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