Derbyshire Dog Walks – Monsal Dale

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A little disclaimer before we start. Everyone’s first priority right now (and always) is to STAY SAFE. Practice social distancing and self isolate where required. In this post I am simply remembering a favourite walk that we have done on previous visits to Derbyshire.

We all, of course, have our favourite locations when taking the pooch on a day out. Sometimes we change it up and go somewhere different and then others we’ll want to know exactly what we are up against. Monsal Dale is that go to, long walk, out in the open for us. It has everything from open green space to water which we can’t keep Mia out of and a little uphill section. The route is even in a good spot for a drink or bite to eat after too. There is plenty of parking at the top of the route and we always tend to use this and walk down.

There are a couple of steep hills on the walk and I am not a fan of going downhill but I would say for me, it is worth it every time. My favourite spot along the trail is probably right at the end of the route in the field below the viaduct.

On one previous walk we were able to get right up to the weir and take a couple of photos. On our last day out here it was fenced off and you could not get near it. I am completely guessing but I take it this could be for safety purposes to stop silly people walking along the rocks to get a photo for the ‘gram, just a thought. There are some beautiful spots on route, as there is with most of Derbyshire, and the large viaduct and the weir are just a couple of them.

Mia, our chocolate labrador, also loves splashing around in the water here. She is a complete water dog and we haven’t the heart to stop her, even if it does mean a wet car on the way home.

The route ends by going up a fairly steep hill back to the car park (and food!) and this is where Mia also manages to make us laugh. The hill is on a bank with a slight tilt to one side which carries on down the hill. If she stops and you shout her name she always manages to look at us with her head tilted in the same way of the banking.

The trail can sometimes be a little muddy so we mainly wear our walking boots and take some extra shoes in the car. We have also been known to stop in Monsal Dale and open up a few snacks along with a flask of tea.

Is there anywhere you love to walk in Derbyshire?

Planning Our Next Trip – To Where?

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I’ll start this post by saying our ‘next trip’ would have been Walt Disney World Florida and I have written plenty about that here. It is unfortunate that we can’t go as planned but we aren’t the only ones and it is for the best at this time. That does not stop us from planning our future Disney trip and plenty of others that we would love to do too.

For the last two years we have enjoyed a Winter holiday with our friends and their adorable cockapoo, Ares. At first we spent our time in Yurts in the Lake District with the second in a hotel in the Cotswolds. These breaks (as they would with dogs) are largely spent on walks or in dog friendly pubs. As the world might be back travelling come Autumn/Winter a dog friendly break will be more than welcome. I would love to see Scotland or even get on the channel tunnel and head to France depending on when and cost.

If we are not able to safely travel until next year then we will definitely be thinking about rebooking our Florida holiday. This will depend on Disney’s most popular times, (we wouldn’t want to pick a highly popular date) holidays available at work and how much flights and hotels will be in the new year.

Travelling in Derbyshire

I already know my husband really wants to get back to the Lake District. He’s a walking kinda guy and misses the great outdoors after a while. Before we drop a lot of money on a bigger holiday we may have to plan a weekend break up in the Lakes to involve plenty of walks, fresh air and good food. 

This also goes for the Peak District. We are lucky enough to live within a couple of hours drive of the Peak District so this will be a day trip for us, most likely on the motorbike as it will need a run after being stood for so long. 

That is it for now. From the above we have possible trip ideas for a day, a weekend, a week and a fortnight. When all this is over we will hopefully be healthy and in a position to travel again to one (or all) of the options above.

Do you have any travel wish lists?

What I’ve Learnt From Walking Holidays

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Pack that backpack. Humans and dogs alike need supplies over the course of the day, especially on walking holidays. If it is warm or a cool day we end up carrying drinks such as a flask of tea, a cold drink and water for Mia. This can get very heavy so I tend to carry mine while my other half carries his and Mia’s.

Invest in some good shoes. We have a pair of walking boots each (well my husband has a few) and plenty of thick walking socks. On one of our Snowdon walks we saw people heading up and down in trainers or sandals and I would not trust my ankles on terrain like that in any weather.

Planning for the weather. We are in the UK after all. Sometimes if we feel like the weather may take a turn whilst on our walk we’ll pack our rain coats, if it’s going to be worse we’re packing our waterproof trousers. There has been a few occasions we have had to walk in damp trousers and it isn’t comfortable.

Lake Windermere, Lake District Dog Walks

Plan the route. And try not to get lost. There are plenty of times we have managed to find ourselves ‘off the beaten track’. My favourite (so far at least) was the time my husband convinced me that going up a bank was a shortcut. It was very steep uphill, he and Mia had gone ahead and as I scrambled to the top I found myself face to face with a cow. It was a terrifying moment and it took me a minute to realise that the cow was on the other side of a short wall.

Aira Force National Trust Lake District Troutbeck Dog Walks
Aira Force National Trust Lake District Dog Walks

Planning the route doesn’t just mean we won’t get lost. It also means that you know what to expect. On our holiday with friends in The Cotswolds we ventured off on a walk and found the route to be a dead end. We were lucky that we could take a detour, walk back for a few hundred metres and change direction (and that we are pretty relaxed with minimal expectations) but if not it would have been a very short walk for two very energetic dogs.

Take a look around. There is a lot to be seen when out and about and a main point of a walking holiday is to see the sights. Stopping to get the flask out and tuck into that packed lunch is one of my favourite things to do.

Have you been on any walking holidays or dog friendly stays?

The Viaduct, Chee Dale walk, Derbyshire

Walks in Derbyshire – Chee Dale

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I love a walk in Derbyshire and the Chee Dale route has to be one of my top 5. It links to Monsal Trail and went walking this route we did go up to the trail for an ice cream. We soon headed back down to the path though as the Chee Dale walk was quieter and more dog friendly for what we wanted on such a super hot day.

The path is scenic throughout and even on the first bridge I was already snapping my camera and taking photos. From a section of the viaduct to the dogs walking and enjoying the water there was literally photo inspiration at every turn and as it was the height of summer there were plenty of plants thriving.

This also meant that there were plenty of plants thriving. In the way that they were kind of taking over the path and we were brushing past them. Now I am not a big fan of plants brushing past my legs (hello nettle stings and ticks people!) but I managed it there and back and even tucking in for people and their pooches to pass on the narrow paths.

Mia, Chocolate Labrador at Chee Dale Derbsyhire

We walked down by the river for most of the day and the dogs loved dipping in and out along the route. There were plenty of other dogs out too enjoying a walk and a swim on the bank holiday.

The popular stepping stones are along the Chee Dale route and we loved this section of the walk. The whole route we did have to be careful as it is next to water which can make paths slippery and the stepping stones were no different. We hadn’t gone quiet dressed for the event so took extra care that we didn’t end up as wet as the dogs and we made it to the other side. I must say there is only one set and we were being closely followed. From the other side there was a point where walkers were coming from the opposite direction and this did make it tricky for a minute as the stones aren’t that wide.

Me and a friend crossing the stepping stones in Chee Dale, Derbyshire
Chee Dale, Derbyshire

I would definitely do this walk again in the future and potentially see some more of the route and what surrounds it.

What is your favourite route to walk, in Derbyshire or elsewhere?

Sign on Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

Walks in Derbyshire – Monsal Trail

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Before we continue with this post I would like to state I hope everyone is staying safe and adhering to the current government guidelines. This post is merely to recount my tales and for entertainment purposes.

Monsal Trail surely has to be one of the most popular walks in Derbyshire. It is a simple route, hopefully I will never need a map for this one, is a lovely flat path thanks to its history of being an old railway, and the character is still aplenty. Oh and there is plenty of places to eat along the way. I will always think of food, ya know, in case you’ve eaten the picnic before you’ve even set off.

We have walked along Monsal Trail more times than I can remember. If we haven’t walked along it we have parked up outside Hassop Station and stopped for breakfast before going onto somewhere else. Side note: Hassop Station do an excellent breakfast range and have a fantastic selection of books and artwork in the shop attached. There is also bike hire here and on a sunny day becomes quite busy. There are a few car parks along this route and we tend to either park at the cafe or down into Bakewell.

As mentioned the route does still hold a lot of character and this comes in the form of tunnels, some quite long and dark for a time, that have the names in signage across the top. The route also has plaques and boards stating the history of certain parts and I remember one explaining how a pulley system was used on the line.

I distinctly remember the time before last that we walked along Monsal Trail was one of the hottest bank holidays in Britain. It was a beautiful day spent with friends and our dogs walking and talking. We were lucky to start the route away from the sun down on Millers Dale and did not notice how warm it was until we veered off course onto Monsal Trail. We stopped for an ice cream and loo break at The Refreshment Room and then headed back down to where there was cool water for the dogs and plenty of shade for both them and us humans.

Labrador Mia and my husband walking along Monsal Trail near Chee Tor Tunnel

We will walk along Monsal Trail many more times yet and I cant wait to explore more sections on the route.

Where is your favourite walk in Derbyshire?

How I’m Still ‘Travel Blogging’ From Home

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Travel blogging from home, what does that look like, what does it mean? Well, it means that I’m making all the plans and locating all of the best spots and it looks like me but sat down at my kitchen table (probably my new favourite spot) rather than be out and in it. Don’t get me wrong being out and immersed in it is my preference but in these times and with the current worldwide situation that is just not possible.

With this in mind I have created a list of places I would love to visit and a detailed plan of what I would do whilst I am there, you know, if I can go in the future. I will be posting one of these per day alongside any usual content that I’ve planned.

Walks in Derbyshire
Millers Dale and Chee Dale walk in Derbyshire

There is also a lot of content from trips and experiences that I have never written about. Memories in my head and photos stored away. They can all come out and be shown the light of day if there is a nationwide lockdown.

As well as planning to the nth degree I will also be taking the pooch out when and where possible whilst always keeping that social and safe distance and getting in the garden as much as possible. And you never know there is always a little lifestyle blogging that I could do.

If you want to catch up on some Days Out or Short Breaks, feel free.

So that’s it. The ways I am planning on still being a travel blogger and not actually doing the travelling part. More the travelled or wishful traveller.

Until next time,

L x

Chocolate Labrador Dog Friendly Bookstore

The Dog Friendly Bookshop

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This post contains affiliate links.

There is no doubt that I love going into a bookshop. Always have, always will. I’ve enjoyed reading since I can remember and wrote stories and started this blog because I liked to write. In a way it’s therapeutic, in another I like sharing stories and information. In a bookshop you can find every genre you could want from that classic non-fiction, a sports player’s autobiography or even a mini book of quotes to keep you going through those motivation dry spells.

It was in The Cotswolds when I realised Waterstones was a dog friendly shop. I was on my own walking Mia around town and thought I’d nip in to see if they had a certain book I had been looking for. I checked the sign on the door and found that they did in fact allow dogs. This is great news to me as I wouldn’t, couldn’t leave her tied up outside of a shop. It’s sheer luck I’ve never needed the loo whilst out and about because I don’t know what I’d do.

Now Mia is a medium sized dog, being a Labrador and all, and she has a thick saggy tail and she’s not the most graceful of dogs 99% of the time. That tail of hers gets about and those tables in Waterstones can be a little awkward to walk around with a chocolate chunk sometimes but for the most part of we keep her close she’s as good as gold.

Jojo Moyes After You and Coffee
After You by Jojo Moyes

I managed to successfully (and without too many dog related issues) purchase a book, After You by Jojo Moyes to be exact, find a dog friendly pub and sit reading with a cuppa. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I also finished the book and you can read my thoughts here.

It was a few months later in Chesterfield that I realised, on wanting to head into Waterstones, that this one was also dog friendly and that maybe, just maybe, they all are. Hubs was fully prepared to wait outside until I spotted the sign of confirmation and we headed in, he could have been waiting aaages for me to look round so it’s really helpful.

Bookstore cafe
Peppermint tea and a Halloween cookie in Bath

I now find a Waterstones everywhere I go. There was one in Rye when I visited recently, one in Bath which even had a cafe and one on multiple floors in Nottingham. I used to avoid them as I thought they were expensive however now I’d choose this over other high street bookshops. Even though it is a chain each branch is slightly different. I love their handwritten notes, the fact some have cafes (I’d live there), their dog friendly vibe and of course the ease of finding that book I want, or sometimes didn’t know I wanted.

Have you been happy to find out somewhere is dog friendly? Did it make you go more often?

Until next time,

L x

Mia wears the Julius-K9 Camo Harness in Size 1.

Cobbled street in Rye

Two hours in Rye

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I recently got to visit the town of Rye, just for a couple of hours and as much as they flew by and went very quick I also feel like I managed to see a lot in the small amount of time.

Starting on the road below the church I hopped out of the taxi, walked straight up and inside. It was at the top of a small street surrounded by Tudor style buildings, boutiques and restaurants. It had started to rain so I didn’t hang around. In the church it was classically designed with stained glass windows, pews down one end and a tower that you could go up. It wasn’t open on the day I visited due to the recent storms but on a clear day it must be great to get a full view of the town.

Rye Street and St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church, Rye

On exiting St. Mary’s church you come face to face with a charming gift shop named Forget Me Not. This was one of my favourite shops whilst in Rye as it had any gift for any family or friend, the lady working there was also a gem; helpful, friendly and happy to show you their products. I made a small purchase whilst I was there and will definitely go again on another trip.

I already knew where I was going to have a cup of tea when I got to Rye and this was The Cobbles tea rooms. I had been before with my husband and couldn’t wait to head in to the cosy cottage style building. I ordered an earl grey tea to have with a scone which came warm and delicious and included jam and cream, the only way to have a scone wherever you are in the country.

The Cobbles Tea Room, Rye
Scone and Tea at The Cobbles, Rye

After a warm and a dry I went for a wander around practically every gift shop in the town. I checked out the bookshop which I am pretty sure is a disguised Waterstones (and therefore my favourite bookstore) and simply carried on walking around taking photos for another 20 minutes waiting for my taxi to return.

It was in this time that I walked back up near the church and saw the castle complete with cannons and turrets looking down along the back of Rye. There was a chocolate box row of houses lining the cobbled streets and filled with character.

Castle, Rye

I will definitely go back to Rye at some point in the future and for a little longer next time. I will fit in a trip up the church tower, a visit to Petit Cafe who I saw on Instagram and a proper look round the castle.

You can also check out my first visit to Rye and see The Cobbles Team Room in a little more sun. Where would you love to go in the UK?

Until next time,

L x

Chocolate labrador dog in the Lake District

Camping With Dogs

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Last Autumn we went on a group holiday with two friends and their adorable cockapoo. We planned on keeping our trip to the Lake District fairly cheap and decided to camp or ‘glamp’ in yurts for the week.

Camping with a pooch isn’t all new to me. We used to take our family German Shepherd camping for the weekend but I can’t say I was a responsible adult at the time (still not sure, jokes) and don’t remember the whole ‘letting out’, ‘stopping barking’, ‘escaping under the door’ details.

Tents are a little odd sometimes. You’re basically in an open field miles from nowhere without a lock on your front door. You wouldn’t do it on your house so I have no idea why we do it or not on our tents. Apparently we’re more trustworthy in the wild. This also proves problematic when you add a dog to the mix as most tents zip to the floor and a dog can figure out once the nose is under the canvas it can probably wiggle right out. Locks can be added if there are two zips on the door, just make sure you know the code/have the keys when you do that first unzip and run to the loos first thing in the morning.

We are lucky Mia either doesn’t know how to escape or that she doesn’t want to but I’ve seen other dogs behave differently. A friends’ dog we went camping with wanted to be with mum and he would go through the tent door at any time she was away, the lock on the door was a rope that you slipped over a wooden ground peg.

Chocolate labrador in the great outdoors

Although not a runner Mia does tend to get up on her high horse about every noise outside. Whether it’s as simple as a look up towards the noise or a bark to let any dangerous intruder/random normal passer-by know we are in there she is all about the alertness. It’s great for us and we know our backs are covered but it can get a little noisy first thing. With Mia in this situation reassurance is key.

I’ll be doing some more on dog holidays soon but if you’re yet to catch up see my dog packing blog post or for something a little more glam than camping try a Weekend in the Cotswolds.

Until next time,

L x

Mia in her dog friendly holiday accommodation

How We Choose A Dog Friendly Stay

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I am starting to strongly believe that there are millions of hotels, b&b’s, youth hostels and airbnb’s in the UK alone, no, billions even. So how do you pick where to stay? What to see? Add on to that taking a dog and well it’s another ball game altogether. That is why I decided to put together a little something about how we choose a dog friendly stay.

Choosing where to go.

We have a couple and their cockapoo pooch who we love to go on dog holidays with. Going with another dog-friendly couple for me makes the holiday a little bit easier for a couple of reasons. One of these being we’re not stopping anyone from doing anything. I would hate to be that person that had to say we couldn’t do a certain thing or go to a certain place because we have a dog and dogs aren’t allowed in. Don’t get me wrong if we chose to go on holiday with someone we would kind of expect them to understand but I may still feel like that sometimes. Another reason being they ‘get it’. If your dog starts sniffing the lamppost and the whole group comes to a halt or you have to constantly pull your dog back because ‘no, not everyone who walks in the pub wants to stroke you’.

When we choose where to stay we do tend to look for places known for their dog friendly areas that include lots of walking but somewhere with a town because the four of us are not really into cooking. The areas we have either been or have looked into are The Cotswolds, Lake District and Cornwall and for the next holidays we are likely going to stay in Scotland and see what further North has to offer.

Choosing where to stay.

As two couples we have previously stayed in tents, yurts and hotels. I must say now I think the future will include more hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation and/or holiday cottages as we have decided we thoroughly enjoy those extra comforts. Booking these we either look on sites such as Petpyjamas, HolidayCottages or Airbnb/Booking.com and select the pets allowed option. We have to be aware and read the small print on if the accommodation charge extra for dogs staying in the room. I have seen places charge anything from £10-£30 for a dog staying which I can only guess goes to room cleaning, what I don’t quite understand is the room should be cleaned properly anyway but that’s a question for another day. Some places offer dog friendly rooms for no extra charge and we’ve recently booked through PetsPyjamas as they ensure dogs go free.

Mia the chocolate labrador in the Cotswolds

Choosing what to do.

We always check the local area for nearby walks or places we can park the car and jump out and explore. The best place we have found doing this and going for a super long dog walk is probably the Lake District but there are plenty of walks in other places we go too. After walks we need to make sure the places we want to eat are also dog friendly. Sometimes we’ll have a walk around town and just check signs in pub windows to see if they allow dogs and other times if we are travelling into somewhere I’ll do a bit of an online search to make sure we’re not going to go hungry whilst visiting a local town. During our last dog friendly holiday they were allowed in the bar area and not the restaurant. This was fine by us as we could still bring the pooches and the bar area was cosy with the hotel team giving the dogs a fuss whenever they passed. As breakfast was served in the restaurant we couldn’t take the dogs with us but as this is a quicker affair (so we can head out for the day) we either put the dogs in the car or left them in the room. Another bed and breakfast we have stayed at dogs were not allowed to stay in the room alone. This meant one morning we bought Mia down for breakfast, no one else was in the b&b, and the second morning (due to her not settling with people coming in and out and she’s a greedy chocolate labrador) we popped her in the car where she is more than comfortable.

If you haven’t already check out my posts on dog friendly stays that we have been on or my thoughts on finding dog friendly accommodation. Our previous trips include stays in the Lake District and the Cotswolds which have all been great so now excuse me but I’m off to plan our next holiday!

Until next time,

L x