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Sunday, 4 November 2018

Accessible Peak District - Tissington Trail and accidental Dovedale

Normally, by the last day of a holiday, I'm tired and achy and just want to get back home to my own bed, but by Thursday (our last day) I was really enjoying the week and really didn't want to go home at all. I could have cheerfully stayed for a second week, which is totally unlike me.

Tissington Trail

Following the success of the Monsal Trail, we chose from our remaining list of possible days out. Parsley Hay and the Tissington Trail were on our list and it's another disused railway. It could have been a bit samey but really, if something works, why not do more of the same?

Photo of the end of the Parsley Hay building

We parked at Parsley Hay, which is a lovely little centre, with toilets, food kiosk and a cycle hire centre. It looked like the cycle hire place did a good range of accessible bikes of various types... but I was using my mountain trike again and was more than happy as I was. Like the Monsal Trail, the Tissington Trail is a nice flat route - at least the bit we did - and a good surface with compacted gravel. We set off in the direction of Hartington Station, bearing right at this junction just after joining the trail. 

Photo of Liggy and I starting our walk

The thing that stood out most on this trail, was the beautiful scenery. It was a mainly sunny day but with some cloud and when the sun hit the hills, it made patterns through the clouds. This route felt a lot more remote than yesterday's and so, so peaceful. 

Photo of the distant hills with the sun shining on them

It's about 2 miles to Hartington. We forgot to look at the sign coming out of Parsley Hay but when we got to Hartington, we saw this one. It was nice to see disabilities represented on their code of conduct pictures. 

Photo of signpost and code of conduct including wheelchair pic

Although the actual route was remote and well off the beaten track, the station was quite lively. There was people having picnics and others parked up, beginning or ending their hikes. The station felt like a definite way marker. I don't know whether all the stations on the trail are the same, but the map would indicate good facilities throughout.

Photo of the station building

There is nothing like good toilet facilities but on country walks, the lack of loos is our biggest challenge. Many people can just pop behind a bush but that is too tricky for me. So this is just how grateful I am when we find good, clean, accessible toilets.

Photo of my excitement at good toilet facilities

At both stations we visited, there was also an outdoor tap, so getting clean water for Liggy was easy too - though on this occasion, it was more about washing off poo she rolled in, rather than drinking it. (photo later)

The trail there did feel very flat and it was only on the return trip that I realised it was all just slightly downhill on the way there. You know what that means - it was all slightly uphill on the way back! I managed absolutely fine though. It was the right level of challenge, though I would probably reverse the whole route next time. Here's a couple more pics of the route back.

Photo of little bridge over the trail

Photo of Liggy and me

As I mentioned earlier, Liggy rolled in some poo. She actually did this once in each direction, before being put swiftly back on lead. Thankfully, there was an outdoor tap, so Neil washed it off before we loaded her back in the car. What do dogs get out of this?!! Yuk! She doesn't look very pleased about being washed in cold water, does she? She did get a bath later with shampoo and warm water and much preferred that.

Photo of Neil washing Liggy

Accidental Dovedale

Next on the plan, was to drive to Tissington, have a look round the village and maybe do another section of the trail. However, Neil turned right instead of left and we ended up at Dovedale instead. On our honeymoon, Dovedale was one of our favourite days out, so rather than correct the mistake, we went with the flow.

From the car park, there is an accessible walk to the stepping stones, but that is where it ends. It's a shame there wasn't somewhere I could cross but we had a nice walk and some fun anyway. Liggy even had a little play in the river.

My favourite bit though, just demonstrated Liggy's ability to problem solve. The first photo shows her happily skipping over the stepping stones with Neil. He sometimes takes her for walks in places I can't go and she loves her 'daddy adventures'. She was probably expecting a nice hike off the path.

Photo of Neil walking Liggy over the stepping stones

However, we had been practising recalls in distracting environments and this was a good opportunity. Also, Liggy isn't that keen on water and still smelt a little poo-ish from her morning walk, so we were hoping to tempt her to have a swim. Neil let her off lead, and I called her to me. Keen to please, she set off running through the water, until it got deep enough to touch her tummy. Then she stopped and turned back. Not to be deterred, we tried again. Exact repeat. Third time, I called and she looked around her.

Photo of Neil letting Liggy off lead to come back to me

A look of 'duh!' crossed her face, as she realised there was an easier route back to me. With that, she left Neil squatting on the bank, headed back to the stepping stones and carefully made her way across, before coming and sitting square in front of me, for her good recall treats.

Photo of Liggy coming back over the stepping stones

I have to say, this was probably my favourite day out of the whole week. I hope we get to go back to the farm, the Peaks and do one of the trails again. Yesterday, I said I hoped Countryfile would do one of their rambles on the Monsal Trail but actually the Tissington Trail would be better. It's longer and has loads of toilets on the route.

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