Sunday, 17 June 2012

Heights of Abraham / Father's Day

Today, like in the US, was Father's Day.  Fortunately, we got a break in the really crappy weather we've been having so we could have a decent day out.  I decided to head 30 minutes up the road to Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham attraction.  They've placed a small visitor's center up on a hill with nice views and a few mined caverns for tourists.  The neat bit is that you can take gondola cable cars (the first in Britain) up to the top.

Here's a nice photo of my girls as we start our ascent.

 a quick look along the A6 and the River Derwent (down river or north)

boy's turn

  and a look in the opposite direction -- the ride up was a bigger thrill than we expected

another scenery shot on the way up -- typical English countryside

looking back down

We made it!  Now we are ready to explore.

Nice views from the top.  That's Matlock (as opposed to Matlock Bath) on the left and Riber Castle on the left.

Riber Castle was built in 1862 as a country manor (meant to look like a medieval castle).  Sounds like it has a bit of a checkered history.  Looks nice on a hilltop at least.

We sometimes forget to let the kids be kids.  There were two nice playgrounds suitable for older kids on the site and we spent a reasonable amount of time letting them enjoy them.  This one was a nice obstacle course.

The Victorian Tower was built in 1844 to (a) take advantage of the panoramic views and (b) provide work for the unemployed (i.e. a make-work government program).  Of course, we had to climb it.

two heads up top

 and now a third

 I love these countryside photos, especially on a nice(ish) day

 another with the kids -- the best part of Father's Day

I was fearing that this would have to do for the domesticated animal photo of the week.  (the ice cream shop is underneath it)

They had some chain saw family carvings.  Fittingly, this was the Father.

Alas, an actual animal photo.  Can't say I've seen a peacock on a door before.


in all his glory -- there's a peahen off to the side that we was claiming/protecting

Ooh, special Father's Day duck race.  We had #3.  (Yes, it's as cheesy as it looks).

they are off!

look at that -- #3 breaks into the clear!  Unfortunately, they had a duck race on nearly stagnate water and he let the pack catch up.  5th overall.  His racing career is done and a bathtub awaits.

They have two small caverns on site and guided tours are provided.  As with most in the area, they are natural to some extent but were actually mined (for lead in this case).


 some water dripping from above -- pretty neat the way the light shone on it

Take a quick look up at picture #2.  See any necklace?  Kuk picked up a new necklace and earrings while here.  What?  On Father's Day?

I actually picked it out so I can't complain (much).  It's Blue John (link) a semi-precious stone that is found only in the Peak District.  I think it looks great.  (That's your birthday present for next month, btw.  :-)

some big slides at the second playground

 curly ones too
 too much activity for some? (never fall asleep when your photo-happy husband and his camera are close by)

another shot towards Matlock

All in all, a nice relaxing day out.  I didn't take a photo, but I got some nice gifts as well.  Nicole had a first and actually purchased a gift for me:  a spice rack lazy susan.  Cool.   How many dad's get that?  

Kuk got me a new gadget as a combo belated birthday/Father's day gift:  a hand held GPS for hiking (link).  I've got some playing/figuring to do now!  I fear this is a truthful comment on my orienteering though! Stay tuned for some geeky hiking stats once I figure it out.

To top it off, we also went out to dinner (I can't cook on FD after all!).  We tried the Bull's Head in Repton (our friends the Seppanens have been wearing it out since they found it).  The food was good but it was unbelievably slow (even for British standards).  We'll have to try it on a non holiday.

 Kuk's softshell crab starter

Nicole's wood fired pizza

my beef roast (a little rare for me, but I wasn't sending anything back after 90 minutes)

along the food theme, Nicole was back at it and cooked this homemade mac & cheese w/ ham casserole earlier in the week

On Friday night, Nicole had her belated birthday sleepover.  Phoebe, Annabel and Anna joined in on the fun.

Obviously, Father's Day can't pass without me thinking about my own dad.  This is my 4th without him.  Not a day goes by without thinking of some connection/lesson/trait that I owe to him.

 Here's to you, Dad.  I hope I am half the man you were.  I could not have asked for a better role model.

And one of my favorites.  He was great with the kids.  I need to summon his patience some times.

Thanks for indulging me in a personal moment.  I hope you all had a great Father's Day weekend.


  1. Wow, you packed in a good days worth on a questionable day. We went to the Heights last fall on week after it closed, maybe we'll still get to it. Nice peacock shot.

    Too bad about the bulls head, we haven't had that bad of service there. It looked like your roast was still mooing to boot. Did you try the chili oil on the pizzas?

  2. I loved your ode to dad! I think of him always, too. And of course you are a great dad, too! Love, Carol