Zig Zag To The Peaks: Part 1

You left me in Cromford drinking in one of the best pubs in the Dales/Peaks, marvelling at the views and talking about Birmingham City.

Life doesn’t really get any better than that but it was part of a cracking day courtesy of Trent Barton and a drinking/walking pal.

Belper Boat 14.02.20 (1)

Trent Barton do a rather nifty Zig Zag ticket which meant John and I could get a bus from Repton all the way to Matlock Bath for the sum of just £6 each.

digimap_for_schools (1)

That’s right a V3 bus into Derby and then any number of options for the number 6 bus every ten minutes into Belper, or every hour into Matlock.

bakewell splash

We’d targeted Cromford as our first stop off and it’s a quintessential Derbyshire Dales village with more pubs than a similar sized village not in the Peaks.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (12)

There is of course a legendary book shop that we visited.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (15)

We spent the best part of half an hour in Scarthin just wandering around three storeys of piled high books covering every possible angle.

What a place…. and I saw this little gem.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (14)

There are two chip shops to choose from as well and The Wickingman confirmed that the third pub is a Bass House!

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (3)

However, that wasn’t open on Friday at midday so we headed into the imposing 541 – The Greyhound DE4 3QE.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (8)

It’s a three storey sandstone Georgian hotel in Cromford market place. It was built by Sir Richard Arkwright, who’s a big cheese in these parts, back in 1778 for the Cromford Mill village.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (4)

It definitely feels like a hotel bar when you walk in…

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (5)

…but it’s an impressive building and the Chatsworth Gold (Peak Ales) was fantastic, particularly as it was probably first out of the traps.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (6)

The conversation was good and it’s great that a place like this survives in 2020 and it’s iconic around here.

Belper Greyhound 14.02.20 (9)

We weighed up the facts and thought a stroll into Matlock Bath would be good after our stop off at The Boat that followed….

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (2)

and took in the views of the River Derwent although resisted the temptation of stopping off at the Masson Mills Shopping Village.

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (3)

If you’ve never been to Matlock Bath before it is like the Blackpool of the Peak District.

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (1)

Obviously it is lacking a beach but amusement arcades aplenty make it a honeypot for bikers ensuring it is less serene than most of its near neighbours.

(walking pal in fine form)

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (12)

However, my walking buddy has been here before and reckons there is arguably only one boozer worth visiting and we headed into 542 – The Fishpond DE4 3NR.

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (9)

It’s on the South Parade – adding to the seaside feel – and it is a spa town so the River Derwent attracts lots of kayakers and canoeists so there is always plenty going on as well as the tourist attraction in the Peak District…Heights of Abraham!

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (15)

This boozer is set into a limestone cliff face and look promising from the outside. It’s got a deck chair, modern feeling inside with loads of stripey chairs, chilled music and a big beer board.

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (8)

It was full and obviously the go to place for most of the punters in this town although it’s a modern bar more than a traditional boozer these days.

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (4)

Nonetheless, the Citra (Oakham) and Thunder Edge (Shiny) were, once again, very good and it’s a decent modern pub.

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (7)

We’d timed it well as the bus back to Belper was looming…

Belper Fishpond 14.02.20 (17)

and the Zig Zag was warming up…


8 thoughts on “Zig Zag To The Peaks: Part 1

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