Monsal TrailAs we piled in the car and set off for Bakewell it promised to be a perfect Autumn day- sunny with clear blue skies, showing the colours of the dying leaves to their best effect. My friend Helen and I had decided to undertake an 18 mile John Merrill walk, which takes in the Monsal Trail then returns over fields and through villages, in preparation for the 26 mile Spires and Steeples Challenge.

We took Helen’s dog Spud with us, and climbed out of the town to reach the trail. The Monsal trail runs for around 8 miles from Bakewell to Blackwell Mill, and as it follows the line of a former railway (and what a scenic one it must have been!) it is easy walking. The worst hazards along the path are large families out for a day on their bikes who like to take up the whole path and decide it’s a good opportunity to teach the kids how to ride- after several near misses one little girl managed to run into me. By the end of the trail I was ready to push people off!

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