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About the Author

From bicycle touring to backpacking, watercolour painting to clay modelling, the exploration journal captures my journey through many different interests and travel adventures.

I’m passionate about finding those out of the way places that whisk you away from the concerns of everyday life. Whether this is by wading through an overgrown river or trying new paint techniques is up to you!

Stopover in the Peak District

Stopover in the Peak District

I spent the last month cycling through Ireland with my younger brother, we had 34 days to cycle the Wild Atlantic Way and get back to Liverpool in time for my older brothers wedding. We made it with a day to spare. We arrived in Liverpool and found it was tipping down with rain, drenching us within seconds of leaving the ferry. We abandoned the idea of a 20 mile cycle ride to Scarisbrick and caught a train instead. After the train it was a short cycle along one of the Liverpool canals to meet up with our family.

The Roaches

After my brothers wedding in Liverpool we all headed east into the Peak District National Park. We stayed in a cottage near Buxton and spent a few days walking the local area, including the Roaches, a steep ridge line rising 505 metres.

After our rest break in the Peak District we cycled on east, gradually heading to Hull where we planned to book a ferry over to Holland. We cycled through Bakewell at 4pm and decided to follow the signs to a campsite. We meandered down a long drive and arrived at a posh caravan park. We walked into the reception…

“How much for two cycle tourers, one tent?” Thomas asks.

“£28… No, actually £32”. The receptionist quickly corrected herself and muttered something about the date.

We stared at her in disbelief, £32 is a lot for a seaside resort campsite let alone some caravan park in even a popular tourist destination like Bakewell.

“That’s daylight robbery! We’re not paying that for one night. Are there any other campsites around?”

Nope, I suppose you could sleep in a field.” She replied sarcastically, apparently expecting us to cave in and be voluntarily robbed.

“That’s exactly what we’re going to do, bye.” As we slowly clambered onto our bikes she had at least some decency to look embarrassed.

We carried on cycling east hoping to find a suitable field with a river. We had no luck but did find a random field gate with a sign saying ‘Eric Byne Memorial Campsite’ about 5 miles out of Bakewell. Not knowing what to expect we wrestled our bikes over the gate and followed a muddy track up through some fields for 5 minutes. We eventually came to a field and were greeted by a wild looking woman driving an old-style tractor. She told us to camp in the field and said it £3.50. A way better deal for a campsite that was more our style (it had a tiny toilet block and no showers or hot water).

In the evening we climbed up to the ridge overlooking the campsite and watched the sunset.

The majority of our route towards Hull was along the Trans-Penine Way, a route that mostly follows canals horizontally across the country. We did a bit of city hopping to find a thermarest dealer where we could exchange our punctured mat. This involved cycling to Chesterfield, catching a train to Sheffield and camping in Rotherham, which wasn’t actually as bad as it sounds. The first campsite was council run and demanded a £150 booking deposit, we cycled down the road and found a newly opened campsite with a friendly owner.

The route to the ferry was littered with art installations and we stopped to take photos at a few of them. They were mostly around a huge Siemens factory making huge wind turbines.

Just before boarding the ferry we stopped to take a photo of a bird made from recycled chains. I cycled into the carpark behind it and found two cars pulled alongside each other and their windows rolled down with a package being passed between them. I ignored them, did my best to look like a harmless tourist by taking a photo of the beautiful skyline and quickly left.

We boarded the ferry and the exploration into Europe began. First stop: The Netherlands.

The cycle tour so far:
England – Cornwall to Wales
Ireland – Winding Westwards
Ireland – Starting the Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland – The Wild Atlantic
Ireland – Causeway Coastal Route
England – Stopover in the Peak District

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