Quite by chance we discovered that our mates Aston and Deb were going to the Peaks MINI Run organised by the Midland Mini League and as the weather looked glorious at last, we could enjoy an afternoon in Buxton the day before book a hotel for the saturday night and make a full weekend of it. Poignantly was 10 years ago in May 2003 that we did our first MINI run, which happened to be the Peaks Run, so it seemed apt that we should go back to the Peak District ten years later to do another Peaks MINI run!
We made an early start on Saturday morning and met up with Aston and Deb in Strensham services for breakfast and made a brisk start to our day, arriving at Buxton about 11.30. We had booked a B&B which was superbly placed overlooking the Pavillion Park and only 5 minutes walk from the centre of the town. We parked at the hotel and after a brief but concise history of the town and an overview of what we should see, kindly provided by our host, we strolled into town for lunch. I should menton at this point that Aston was concerned that his tyre pressure light had come on, but was convinced it was a jolt from a pothole we had encountered so he reset it and we all thought no more about it.
Almost the first shop we saw had me reeling in delight as it displayed a jacket that I had only mentioned the night before to Pea as being something she would like, a jacket one of the girls at work had bought and I had admired. With no hesitation we rushed in and found not only the blue and cream one, but also a grey and pink job which was a great deal more wacky, and much more P-like. It fitted like a glove. Job done. First purchase and only 10 minutes in.
We mooched a bit further, to the end of the town and then returned and found a small cafe for our lunch. After lunch we looked for the sights our host had mentioned to us, and soon found what had been the original stable block for The Crescent in Buxton. It is now part of the University of Derby, but what a magnificant building! Subsequent to the bulding being stables, it was for a long time Buxton hospital, for which purpose they built a dome over the central area. The acoustics in this dome are phenomenal and everything you said or even whispered, echoed back from all corners. It is a tremendous space and is sometimes used for functions, which must be quite an event.
Next we found ourselves outside Buxton Opera House, another gem of architecture well preserved by the town, and then on to the Pavillion and the park. After such a long spell of freezing gloomy weather, the sun today made us feel wonderful and so obviously we needed to treat ourselves to an ice-cream as we walked.
We then gave some thought to our meal for the evening and armed with a map and some recommendations from our host, we tried without success to book somewhere to eat later. If you are ever in Buxton, be warned, book early for an evening meal! We walked much further than we needed to and at last found a place to eat in the Old Hall Hotel Wine Bar, which was probably the nearest place to our hotel!
A quick snooze and freshen up from five untill seven and we were off again for our evening meal. The wine bar at the hotel had in truth been a bit of a last resort booking but in fact we all enjoyed a delicious meal and as it was a Wine Bar we could stay put and spend the evening there. Bit of a result in the end and you can find my meal – melted cheese over chorizo and chicken on a bed of tagliatelle in a tomato and chilli sauce – in our Food Bar.
Next morning we had a full English breakfast in the dining room overlooking the park. We had plenty of time as the start point of the run was only 10 miles away and the meeting time was 10.30. What we hadn’t anticipated was that Aston’s runflat light was not a jolt from a pothole, but a screw of some size, and his runflat was by now as flat as a runflat could be. We tried ringing a few tyre services but they were all still asleep, so as Aston was nearly 200 miles from home he made the decision to miss the run, try to get his tyre fixed and go home, which was a very sad way to end what had been a great weekend with him. We agonized over what to do, but as no real purpose would be achieved by us both missing the run, we set off to the start point, met everyone else there, and let them know Aston’s problem.
There was a surprising amount of snow still about on the sides of the roads, and some unfortunately blocked the road to the Goyt Valley, which was to have been our first stopping point. This resulted in a mass turn round on a narrow road, but what is a mini run without such things!
The run finished at about 2.15 but unfortunately the pub it ended at seemed to have closed down and lunch had hastily been rearranged at a nearby pub for 3.30. We decided that this would mean us leaving at gone 5 so we elected to head home there and then, as we still had a two hour drive down the M6 and that is never a pleasant prospect on a Sunday at that time, but as it turned out we were home by 5ish even stopping for a quick bite to eat.
It was a really lovely weekend and made all the more so by having some good company. It was also great to re-live the days of MINI runs, which we have missed of late. Hopefully, we will be able to get some more MINI Runs under our belt now we have our new Coupé, and they really are an excellent way of getting about the country, going to places you might not go to and of course making new friends.
A big Thank You to Midlands MINI League for organising this run, making us feel so welcome and thus causing us to have a smashing weekend in the Peak District! As always click the images for slideshows from Buxton and the MINI Run