Some thoughts on Bakewell.
I have not been to the Goyt for a few weeks. A combination of work, nights drawing in and other distractions have conspired against me. I was lucky enough to be working in Bakewell on Tuesday though. It was a perfect late summer, early autumn day. The sun was warm and the light soft. An Indian summer, but with a hint of the autumn and winter cold to come, the leaves on the trees just on the point of turning. The drive from Buxton to Bakewell on a day like this, along the A6, is one of my favourite short journeys. As long as you don’t catch a convoy of quarry lorries, people still on their way back from a Sunday afternoon drive, or the other side of the coin, white van man determined that if he cannot pass you then he will see just how close to your rear bumper he can get, before blasting past you in a cloud of diesel and abuse on the Taddington dual carriage way. Today, I saw a heron sitting in a tree watching the Wye flow slowly under it, and as we laboured up the steep hill by Topley Pike, a kestrel swooped and wheeled dodging the traffic to catch a beetle or small mouse on the roadside. If I have time though, and I need to unwind then the route over the “tops”, that takes you on a trip back through our industrial heritage, and gives you a panorama of dry stone walls, and in spring and summer verges filled with wild flowers, is the way to go.
At lunchtime I went for a walk. The ducks on the river, played to the crowd leaning over the bridge, earning their bread from the few tourists and locals that were watching them. I think I even heard the ping of a dipper. A saxophonist warbled his tunes amongst the chip papers and wandering couples. The pace was slow, relaxed, laid back. It was after all a Tuesday. On Monday, market day, the place positively overflows with people, mainly farmers, and sheep. A lot of sheep! The smell of sheep hangs over the town, and the sounds of bleating and lowing cattle almost drowns out the traffic.
Bakewell is a strange little town. It is a step back in time, and the high street and side streets have retained their individuality, unlike so many of our market towns. You find very few well-known high street names, but for some reason an awful lot of card shops. Round a corner you can find little gems, like the bookshop, or the Wee Dram, which sells whisky, surprisingly, and a small but wonderfully chaotic music shop, that seems to cater for every type of instrument. This late in the season the tourists are dwindling. But like a late season wasp, the warmer weather had tempted a few out in shorts, and they walked amongst the locals and the commuters, determined to find something to enjoy, or gazing with disbelief at the property prices.
I returned over the tops and stopped off at the Bookshop on the A515. What better way to end the day? A walk in the Goyt perhaps?