Testing the waters – an overnight trip to Carsington Water

Early in May 2011 after a couple of false starts we finally set off from home on our first cycle tour. We deliberately kept our plans flexible, just hoping to camp near a reservoir in the Derbyshire Dales called Carsington Water and return the next day. As it turned out we did a ‘practice’ 12 mile loop from home on the Saturday, fully loaded with all gear, which gave me my first opportunity to adjust to the extra weight.

On Sunday we set off at midday, meandered 16 miles through the countryside and set up camp at 5pm. Luckily for us the strong winds had almost cleared the Knockerdown Inn campsite of long weekend holiday makers, as we hadn’t booked. In addition I had forgotten to pack any cash which limited our choice to just the one campsite attached to a pub. Thanks to those strong winds we enjoyed a pint and profiteroles in the pub as well as a pitch for the tent.

Frustratingly Tilly didn’t want to dress warmly enough for the cold weather and it’s hard to dress a two year old against her will. Although she enjoyed the playground at Carsington Water and then at the pub, she didn’t enjoy being outside the tent at the camp site as the windy conditions quickly chilled her. Inside the tent she was super excited and quickly stripped off all her clothes to make herself comfy!

On Monday we packed up and were on the road at 11am, taking the high road through Brassington to the High Peak Trail, a dedicated cycle and walking path cutting through the White Peak District. We had lunch at The Boat Inn in Cromford and were home by 5pm after 20 miles of cycling. It was an enjoyable ride with some tough hills that I had to push my bike up, though Tilly and Daddy managed to cycle up all the hills.

Tilly did really well, riding the tandem with her feet strapped to the pedals and a big grin on her face, and transferred to the child seat when she needed a rest or a sleep. Brad could tell that Tilly was trying her hardest to help with the pedalling on the big hills – by pedalling backwards and increasing the resistance! When we stopped to catch our breath Tilly would start rocking forwards and backwards on her seat shouting Go! Go! Go!

Our first overnight cycle trip was a big success, but we were completely overwhelmed by the energy it took to cycle, make and break camp, and entertain Tilly and didn’t have any left over to take videos or more than a few photos. Hopefully we will get better at fitting everything into our days with more experience on the road.

Our luggage consisted of four panniers, tent bag and a bar bag on my bike and two panniers, bar bag, child seat and Tilly on the tandem with Brad.

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