Monday, 29 June 2015

Eroica Festival 2015 - Part 1

Having returned from an amazing weekend in Bakewell here's our experience of the most handsome cycling festival and a celebration of all things vintage,  Eroica Britannia 2015.

There'll be a couple of additional posts to follow; one about the ride and another about the entertainment on Saturday afternoon including my own 30 minute poetry performance.

The Peak District has always been one of my favourite places and the chance to head off to the festival in Bakewell was one to be grabbed as soon as bookings opened. Feeling disinclined to camp (age and infirmity etc.) my wife, Maggie, and I decided to find somewhere nearby to stay and found an excellent Bed and Breakfast at Great Longstone, close to Monsall Head and just a few miles from Bakewell and the showground.

When I say "found" I mean that having looked at a map in the morning in typical older-cyclist fashion I thought I knew where we were going and then, overtaken by creeping doubt, stopped in the gorgeous village of Ashford on the Water to check the SatNav. Of course the SatNav didn't want to find any satellites and the mobile phone signal could barely be described as adequate so we carried on using the gradually fading map in my head. Amazingly we found Great Longstone, roughly where I though it should be, and with directions kindly supplied by our hosts arrived at the B&B. The location was quiet, the facilities excellent and the hosts Frank and Wendy really could not have been better. The view from the bedroom window, opening to a beautiful garden confirmed we had made the right choice and our weekend started out on a high:

The view from our bedroom over the superb garden

Unloaded, refreshed and ready to go we headed for Bakewell stopping around half way at Hassop Station for a lovely lunch with a good choice of vegetarian options. Although a mile or so from Bakewell we were already into a world of vintage cycling, surrounded by plenty of vintage bikes and a few vintage riders like myself. At this point Maggie could have been forgiven for a brief non-cyclist panic but she enjoyed the lunch and the atmosphere and I didn't pore over the old bikes too much and simply commented, perhaps too often, on some of the less usual bikes and the fact that it might be possible to hire a tandem here.

The old station has a great bookshop, a very nice cafe and of course bike hire and workshops and the Monsall Trail runs right past the old platform. We'll certainly come back here for a gentle bike ride and a spot of refreshment again.

All roads lead from Eroica
Fed and watered it was time to head to the showground. A short drive, a reasonable wait to get our tickets exchanged for wristbands "Oh! An entertainer, you are one of the special ones", parked the car and a bot of a walk to the main entrance.

So here we were, Eroica Britannia 2015.

First impression, this looks big, and different, unlike anything either of us had seen before; time to explore!

So off to town to find something to eat....
This lot had already arrived at the pub!

(see more in the following posts....)

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