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Learning from our Tom’s & Douglas’s Barn Guests

We always love it when our guests let us know what they’ve done and what they’ve enjoyed; we’re genuinely interested but it also helps us keep up to date and we keep learning new things about the area which is useful,  even humbling to realise we live here and are constantly learning new things from out guests who have only been here a week or two at the most, although to be fair many come back so often that they do have a slight advantage. However, I would be embarrassed to compile a list, but we have never yet been to the Crich Tramway Museum nor to Poole’s Cavern to name but two, both places guests have enjoyed…

Walks and cycling are two vast subjects which one couldn’t begin to condense into a sentence or two;  there are just so many walks, and variations on routes. All our guests love to go out, some for serious day-long hikes and others for less demanding shorter walks possibly with binoculars, camera – maybe even a picnic – in hand. One of the lovely things is that there is such a choice. If the choice is overwhelming, you might enjoy as one guest did recently, asking Sally Moseley to devise and take you on a walk that she can plan to fit in with your requirements. Whatever your stye of exercise the fact is that the countryside all around us is stunning and just being out can make you feel good; even better is the joy of returning to your  warm, cosy barn, a hot bath and a cup of tea by the fire afterwards…

Of the more extreme sports we’re quite happy to remain ignorant, although there certainly is scope locally for ‘proper’ climbing, abseiling, hang gliding etc but we have never been aware of any of our guests enjoying such things while staying here – or if they did they have remained discreetly silent. The only guests to book (it was a surprise from her to him) a helicopter flight over Ladybower – I could cope with that – had the flight cancelled because of apparently poor weather so we can’t report on that even at second hand. Actually, it was a wonderfully bright and sunny day, so there was the sneakiest suspicion that maybe he wasn’t as keen on the idea as she hoped… We’ll never know. (You can actually go from the Cat and the Fiddle too, high up on the Pennines towards Macclesfield/Cheshire.)

Bookshops are popular, and we’re on stronger ground here, able to speak from personal experience. Scarthin – a quaint bookshop in Cromford crammed with second hand books – is much appreciated, as is – on a very different scale – Brierlow Bookstore, which is enormous with over 20,000 books.

And finally, because I can’t go on for ever, we come to the pubs. Consistently, the Gate (which now has a website!) and the George (which now has a new website!) are rated favourites, with the pendulum swinging one way then the other. The Gate with its fires in the lovely old ranges  – and especially if you go into the room on the left  – scores better for atmosphere although the George, if you can sit in the pubby part on the right, runs it pretty close. The food at the Gate is good, and generously served. You can’t always say that about the George whose portions can seem small to the greedier of us although I would say the food at the George is better, and perhaps better suited to more sophisticated palates;  some find it a trifle expensive but good food does tend to be. Like the majority of our guests, we just love both of them!

To end fairly, the Packhorse at Crowdecote has pleased a number of guests recently; the Druid comes and goes, like its owners.

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