Sal had been visiting her parents in South Yorkshire and being the kind person I am, I said I'd pop down and pick her up and we'd explore another one of her favourite beauty spots. This time it was Creswell Crags on the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire border and what a gem it turned out to be.
We meet up in the Red Lion at Todwick where she excitedly showed me her new collection of vintage cameras which had been rescued from her mum's loft and also the old family clippings her Grandmother had collected over the years. She intends using these for a blog and also for evidence to research her family tree. Her enthusiasm was so infectious, it got me hooked on the idea of doing mine.
So we had a drink, the sat nav was set and for once it took us to our destination problem free.
Archaeological and environmental evidence excavated from the Creswell Caves show how the area witnessed dramatic changes in climate at the edge of the northern ice sheets and was populated by Ice Age animals such as hyenas, mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, and migrating herds of reindeer, horse and bison.
Significantly the caves provided shelter for nomadic human groups through a crucial period of human evolution between 55,000 and 10,000 years ago. Stone, bone and ivory tools from the caves reveal Middle and Upper Palaeolithic occupation, in addition to portable and recently discovered 13000 year old engraved rock art figures of deer, birds, bison, and horse. This evidence connects the Ice Age human cultures at Creswell Crags
The crags are situated in a wooded vale and surround a man-made lake. All the caves have bars across their entrances, presumably for health and safety reasons and probably to stop vandalism as well. There are guided tours but I should imagine they are only done in season or by pre-booking as there didn't seem to be anything happening whilst we were there.
Sal described them as "caves for posh cavemen" and I could see why. because each cave was set aside from the next just like our modern day detached residencies. All the trees were in their warm autumn colours but its was just a shame there was no sunshine to lift those colours that's all.
We did a circular walk of the site which was very impressive even though a lot of the Crags are hidden behing trees and undergrowth these days. All the caves had names, one being Robin Hood's cave. Well we are in Nottinghanshire after all! They like banging on about him coming from these parts but as all us Yorkshire folk know, he was infact a true Yorkshireman and came from Loxley near Sheffield.
We then called into the Visitors Centre for a coffee and a tat shop explore before setting off for the Dukeries Garden Centre Complex which Sal's mum assured us was just at the far end of the car-park, through a small wood, across the road and straight in front. That's the last time I will take directions from her!
There was a carpark, there was a road, there was a small wood and there was a bridleway on the other side of it but it didn't lead directly to The Dukeries. We ended up wearlily walking in a massive circle before finally finding the Garden Centre. If only we had walked a couple of hundred yards up the road then it would have been directly infront of us.
I think we were both a bit too tired to really enjoy looking round the centre and also we were getting pressed for time as it was starting to get a bit dark. Anyway we eventually got back to the car and set off back to the Red Lion to have something to eat and heading back home up the M1.
Sal had a chicken burger and I tried the piri piri chicken which was served on a sizzling platter. Dont ask me why but I decided to touch the platter and for my stupidity I recieved at least second degree burns on my finger. Of course Sal offered all the compassion and sympathy that I would expect from her with such words as "spanner" "nob" and "top hat" being thrown my way.
In the ten or so miles between Creswell Crags and the pub, I did manage to get horrendously lost even though I had the sat nav on. When it said "take the next right turn" I did. What it really meant was "take the next right turn after this right next turn"!! Following numerous right and left turns on dark county lanes we ended up on the main road which goes past the end of her mum's street so we were back on track.
After the meal, we reluctantly we set off back up the M1 for West Yorkshire. In recent weeks, Sal has taken me to three of her favoutite local spots which she used to visit in here childhood. I've really enjoyed all three and I'm getting to really like The People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
Enjoy the photographs.