Speedwell Cavern, Castleton & Glossop

As I mentioned in my first post on Chatsworth House, we took advantage of the fact that we had a wedding up country the weekend before the Platty Jubes and decided to set off for a camping trip straight from the wedding. A great idea in theory -a bit harder in reality when you’re trying not to overload an already low Ford Focus sport. We managed just fine but while camping in the Peak District we got to visit Chatsworth House (you can see my numerous posts on that here) and as a trade, we decided to go to Speedwell Cavern too which was something my partner was dying to do.

Now, before I go on I should say that Speedwell Cavern is not the prime candidate for a day out if you’re disabled or chronically challenged! Theres stairs involved, not just stairs but uneven, inconsistent, slippery stairs. That paired with low, rocky ceilings (hard hats are provided) and a wobbly handrail make it less than ideal. Nevertheless, I’d had my dream day at Chatsworth and I knew that if I didn’t do it with Bearded Boyfriend he would leave it and not bother himself.

Speedwell Cavern is an underground boat ride through a part of the underground cavern and cave system in the Peak District. You descend numerous steep steps, straight down to a little dock where you pile into a boat and embark on a journal along the caverns canal. The cavern is a lead mine that is 200 years old and the tour guide we had did a wonderful job of telling us all about its history.

You can pass another boat at the Halfway House, a fork off section of the canal that allows you to pass safely and then continue on your way to an amazing cave and the Bottomless Pit, a subterranean lake. I have to admit, I couldn’t help but think of The Phantom of the Opera when we saw the subterranean lake -it was really atmospheric. There is another cavern canal opposite where you disembark the boat but that isn’t accessible unless you’re a caver and wanna trek through for hours to the rest of the network of underground caves and caverns. The cave above the Bottomless Pit is honestly like a cathedral or something of that kind. It’s so vast and the acoustics are insane. You can hear everything – which I imagine would be quite eerie if you were there alone.

I must admit, while I was apprehensive about going to the cavern it actually turned out to be quite enjoyable. I don’t know that I would do it again because you do have to be healthy to take on those stairs but it was really interesting and I’d definitely recommend it to others. We were at the front of the boat on the way there and I just remember looking at the tunnel and seeing the black surface of the water which was so calm. It reminded me of piling into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride but way quieter and nowhere near as many people!

Once back we had to get back up those bloody stairs and this was where I really struggled. When we made it to the top, I thought I was on the verge of some kind of panic attack as I just couldn’t breathe. I was soon given a bottle of water, a long sit down and after managing to call my mom and tell her that I was still alive and hadn’t been crushed in the cavern, we set off into Castleton.

We had heard about a great tea-shop in Castleton from my partners aunt and uncle, so we headed in that direction as I weren’t looking good (or so I was told) and we were both in need of a drink. I was rewarded for my efforts with an amazing English breakfast whilst my boyfriend had a dainty sandwich and scone, and then we headed off to explore more. While we were away we were surprised by how many were decorating and celebrating the Platty Jubes. There was bunting and decorations everywhere!

After purchasing a sufficient amount of postcards and souvenirs, we headed off for Glossop. We wanted to continue our day and I had noticed there were some bookshops there… and I think my boyfriend felt a little guilty for how much I struggled with those stairs and wanted to perk me up a bit – books always work!

Glossop was a typical miners town but so so charming. We came across a few great shops but I found one amazing bookshop -George Street Community Bookshop. It had an upstairs, which is where I found the history section and got far too comfortable sitting on the floor with my pile of books I wanted. To be honest I think my legs had completely given up by that point! This shop was so welcoming to me, and the store owner was beyond lovely. We chatted at length about the upcoming Elvis film that was coming out and the bookstores at Hay-on-Wye, which he’d visited with his wife as a gift for his birthday (something I also had from my partner and was still due to have because we got covid). Honestly, it probably sounds so silly but the owner was a like-minded friend or a kindred soul and it made me quite sad that we live so far away! Nevertheless, I purchased my goods and eventually I was herded out of the shop. I’m already planning how I can go back there -we have a wedding next year near Manchester so I’m hoping I can convince my partner to take a detour on our way there or back (fingers crossed!).

After our busy day, we took a long drive back to our campsite and had a bbq while I waited for the verdict to come in for the Depp-Heard case – I was happy. Our bbq was sooooo good and then we had a bonfire while reading and just enjoyed chilling out. It was great to chill and recharge before our next day out -stay tuned for that!

Cheerio for now!

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