Waking up in our cosy safari lodge, at The Gathering, was just lovely. There’s something so exciting about staying somewhere totally unique and completely different from normal day-to-day life. Especially after a long day exploring the Peak District.
After all, that’s what makes a microgap so much fun…trying out totally new and exciting experiences.
For us, this was The Gathering. As soon as we set eyes on it, we knew we’d made the right decision.
Anyway, I digress! I was actually a little unsure how I would sleep in our lodge.
It was either going to be totally cosy or a night huddled around the roaring fire. Thankfully, I had no need to worry at all, I had one of the best nights of sleep in days!
Kept nice and toasty during the night with fluffy duvets, heated beds and hot water bottles were the bee’s knees.
As the sun rose, which pretty late as it was almost winter, I remember wanted to jump up and just enjoy our lodge as much as possible before it was time to leave – which was also at odds with the fac that I was enjoying the compy heated bed so much, I didn’t want to get out of it to begin with. 😄
In fact, in a matter of hours, I felt as though I’d ‘nested’ into our lodge.
It had quickly come to feel like a little piece of home, just without solid walls and the best roaring fire. 😉
You see, our safari lodge was pretty special, they’re not your average run-of-the-mill tents at all. Ours had three separate bedrooms, a bathroom with a big bath, a piping hot shower and all the mod cons, plus an open plan kitchen and dining room with a log fire to boot. 🔥
It was bliss.
Best of all, we had a freshly-prepared breakfast hamper delivered to us to make our own breakfast.
It was a feast of goodies from locally produced marmalade (you know, the one that Paddington Bear likes), organic eggs, locally sourced mushrooms, lashings of bacon, thick and juicy sausages, Buxton coffee and a whole bloomer of freshly baked, Peak District Bread.
It was a total feast! 😋 Something, as you probably know by now, I relished.
After adding a few logs to our crackling fire, we hunkered down to prepare our massive (and totally gorge-worthy) breakfast. Now, rather than having to use a cooker for breakfast, we could actually use our fire stove (essentially, the hot bit above it) to cook the eggs, fry our bacon and sausages and even boil water for tea!
It was so easy and a totally cool way to prep our feast. As the sausages cooked away, we sat back and warmed up by the fires with a cuppa in hand and just enjoyed the countryside.
There was literally no noise at all, except for the occasional chirping of birds or Yaya nattering away.
Within no time at all it seemed, our breakfast was golden and ready to eat.
We perched ourselves down for the long haul and polished off the lot (minus some of the bloomer, which was huge). It was one of those feasts you have where you’re so full you just have to lay down afterwards.
So that’s what we did, we spent the next few hours chilling out and enjoying the beautiful countryside around Edale and our safari lodge itself.
After our breakfast settled, we thought it best to work off some of those calories we’d been accumulating by going for a ramble around the local area. I mean, that imaginary six-pack isn’t gonna happen itself. 😉
And with that, we popped our coats on and went for a stroll across the uplands and trails that surround this area. It felt like we had the whole of the Peak District to ourselves, there was literally no one around. Well, except a few overly excited sheep.
Without even realizing, we’d lost track of time and hurried back to the lodge otherwise we’d miss our next stop on our microgap.
Back at the lodge, we had one last cuppa and packed up our bags. In the short space of a day, our lodge felt like a home-away-from-home and it was actually quite sad to leave. 🙁
But leave we must.
After saying our goodbye’s, we headed straight down the hill for our next port-of-call, to find (what’s considered to be) Robin Hood’s bow.
Yup, you read that correctly, we set ourselves a mission to scout out and find Robin Hood’s bow!
Heading (for about 45-minutes) over the higher peaks of the Peak District, we arrived at Renishaw Hall that’s nestled in a beautiful estate.
Home to the Sitwell Family for well over 300 years, the hall is nothing short of stunning.
Unlike some of the other palaces or stately homes you visit, the rooms you see are actually still heavily in use today.
Places like the library, the snug, the sitting room are still used by the family on a daily basis, which is pretty unique.
Now, you might wonder how there’s a connection between Renishaw Hall and Robin Hood’s bow? Well, a little birdie had mentioned that the hall itself has a been home to the bow for the longest time.
Before we arrived, we were told by one of the locals that, ‘it’s above a fireplace, so keep your eyes peeled’.
Without too much information, we were like hawks on the prowl for prey, scouting out ever fireplace and mantelpiece in sight. 😉
After heading through the beautiful dining room and seeing the historic kitchen, we finally found a room that looked promising.
We even spotted one of the first types of dishwashers.
Perched just right of the main door to Renishaw Hall was a reception room, with a big old fireplace.
Our eyes lit up and we jostled between each other find this elusive bow. It was if we were doing the egg and spoon race and only one could win and find the bow first.
It was so funny, this room was our last stopping point on our stroll around the hall, so the pressure was on to find it.
Thankfully, in full view, we could see a historic bow, behind some protective glass.
There’s even a certificate of authenticity, which claims that this very bow belonged to Robin Hood himself. We had found it! 🏹
In light of our conquest, we decided to leave Renishaw Hall on a high so we popped outside to explore the beautiful gardens. Even in the autumn and winter period, the gardens were beautiful.
You can only imagine what they’ll be like in the summer months.
After a little stroll, and as time was getting the better of us, we popped into the café at Renishaw Hall for some homemade grub. I mean, it’s not every day you can say you ate at a stately home is it!
We filled up on some fluffy jacket-potatoes (still not too sure if this is just a British thing), a mound of sticky caramel cake and a pot of tea for both of us. It was enough to feed an army.
With our tummies full and our challenge to find Robin Hood’s bow complete, we decided to call it a day and head back to Chesterfield for our train back to London.
Always edging on the side of caution, we actually arrived an hour early for our train. This was a silver lining, to be honest, as it gave us some time for a fleeting visit to Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire, a place that was infamously visited by the devil himself!
Now, legend has it was that the church spire, built over 700 years ago, has been twisted during an angry exchange.
Apparently, this was where a local blacksmith mis-shod the devil out of the town, destroying everything in his path.
Some other folklore, even to this day, insists it happened when the devil jumped onto the church itself.
Believe it, or not, the 600-year-old Crooked Spire is pretty much Chesterfield’s ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ and a pretty unique spire to see in England.
I kinda wish we had more time to go up the tower itself, but fate would have it that our train was departing really soon. So with that, we darted back to the station and hopped on with seconds to spare.
Once again, this microgap through England had been absolutely brilliant and we couldn’t wait to do it all over again! 😀