Saturday, 20 August 2011

That blasted Sat Nav!

After having been given a taster of the countryside around North Sheffield, I was back a week later to spend a full day in Sal's company. This time we were in her own neck of the woods in the countryside around  Kiveton Park.


Kiveton was at the centre of the Miner’s strike of 1984. The local Working Men's Clubs were hotbeds for striking miners of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) who were planning action such as the raising of teams of flying pickets. The pickets objective was to prevent miners in the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) in the Nottinghamshire coalfield from attending work.

Kiveton Colliery closed in the early 1990s but the scene was set for their closure after the miners lost the  strike. The miners were on strike for most of a year. In addition to their loss of salary, state benefits were also denied them and their allowance of 1 ton of coal a quarter was also cut off. This resulted in striking miners sifting through the slag heaps in the winter snows of Jan-March 1985 for the nuggets of coal buried in the mud and shale.

People in these parts will never forget those times and will never forgive the Party that did this to them.

We  began the day by meeting up in the car park of one of the town's watering holes called the Saxon Hotel. It was quickly decided that some liquid refreshment was required so we sped away from the Saxon and headed for the Red Lion just outside Todwick instead. It looked like an old coaching Inn with wooded beams and had a very olde worlde feel to it. It was very nice.

It was in the Red Lion that we made a few good decisions for the day ahead but also a bad one. The good decisions being to head for Robin Hood country, to call back at the Red Lion for a meal before I headed back home and especially to visit Clumber Park for the afternoon as it held had lots of childhood memories for Sal. The bad decision was to use the Sat Nav she had brought with her and for which she would be held totally responsible for.

Once Sal had set the postcode for Clumber Park off we set along the A57 and arrived without too many problems. The lady giving the instructions though had a nasty habit of telling us we were at a certain place a quarter of a mile before we actually were so consequently when she said we had arrived at our destination we were in fact a good half mile off it which nearly resulted in us spending the afternoon on the local Golf Course.  

The entrance to the Country Park was very grand with a tree-lines avenue leading to the main car park and Visitors Centre. So with our entrance money paid and with the grand grounds and lake of the Park set out before us, where did Sal head for? The souvenir tat shop and Garden Centre!!

Disappointed that she didn't make a purchased we walked down to the Lake with our cameras. Being the height of summer, the Park was busy but we managed to find a little hidden spot which was far from the madding crowd and had a sit down and a natter. We were disturbed unfortunately by the family from hell with their 4 noisy kids and butch looking Staffordshire Bull Terrier, so reluctantly we beat a hasty retreat..

We then walked along the Lake shore to the Church of ST Mary then Virgin and then through the woods in search of the elusive Pet Cemetery. We later found one at Rufford Park but Sal assured me that there was one at Clumber as well and who was I to argue. It did seem a bit of a coincidence though ;) We did an about turn and walked back to the Visitor Centre and back into the tat shop and Garden Centre! Sal is not a girl to admit defeat where tat is concerned but she had to today. It was then a case of a short journey to a lovely village called Wellow and it's equally lovely pub called The Red Lion; our second Red Lion of the day.

The journey to Wellow was where our Sat Nav adventure really started to go wrong. First of all it sent us through an impressive series of tree-lined avenues only to arrive at a gate which barred our way to the main road. Not to be put off we did a U turn and the Sat Nav duly picked up another route. This time it took us through other tree-lines avenues, out of the woodland and across the end of the lake via a ford which was very attractive. It then took us round another corner and back into the woodland. Yes you've guessed it, we ended up at another gate which barred our way to the main road again! 

I think at this point we decided just to do away with the Sat Nav and just get the hell out of there. Back on the main road and with another postcode entered, we found Wellow with no problem at all only to fly past the end of the road where the pub was situated and then back out into the countryside. There's no flies on Sal, as soon as we hit the fields again outside the village she declared "I think we should have turned off back there". Much laughing and giggling later we pulled into the Red Lion car park for some much needed refreshments.
The pub is in a lovely position on the village green. At the centre of the village green stands the  60 foot high Wellow Maypolewhich can be traced as far back as 1856.

We then decided to end our day by going to Rufford Park. We arrived (according to the Sat Nav) half a mile before we got there! Just as we parked up in the car park, the heavens opened. We amused ourselves for 10 mins and then went to have a look around the gardens only to find out that the place had actually closed and we had only 10 mins to get out or we would be locked in the grounds all night! Licking our wounds, we set the Sat Nav for the first Red Lion again where we arrived for burger and chips and a final pint and natter in the pub.

There is never a dull moment on days out, they are so enjoyable and a laugh from start to finish. I can't wait for the next one.
 No more mishaps, no more missed turnings, just big, big hugs as we said goodbye to each other and big big laughs at that blasted Sat Nav!

The photos are a mixture of mine and Sal's.

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...