Who Told You I Was Afraid of Heights? : UK 2016 Post 5

On our fourth morning in England we left beautiful Buxton and backtracked through the town of Matlock to it's neighboring village of Matlock Bath. Nicknamed Little Switzerland by Lord Byron himself, Matlock Bath is another spa town in the Peak District with a small population and it's own geothermal spring which was discovered in 1698.

Matlock Bath

Designated a conservation area, Matlock Bath is mainly a tourist destination. Our purpose for being there that lovely, cold morning was the Heights of Abraham. Here is where I should note that the way to get to the Heights of Abraham is from gondola cable cars that climb 554 feet in a relatively short time. This makes for a steep journey. I should also mention that I am afraid of heights. Not so afraid of heights that I can't climb to the top of a tower or stand atop a castle or hill, but I do have a fear of being dangled over a valley or climbing high on a ladder or being on a roof. I had to give myself a pep talk when I saw the cable cars traveling over the A6 as we approached. I reasoned with myself that this was a unique opportunity and that I was on vacation and needed to step outside of my comfort zone to have an experience I would never forget. I'm glad I wasn't given the chance to back out because I would have missed out on a truly surprising and wonderful experience. 

My first view of the cable cars

Matlock Bath

cable cars over the railway

Cable Car Ticket Office

Matlock Bath

Once again the spontaneous nature of our itinerary meant that I had no idea what the Heights of Abraham was or had to offer.   Developed as a "pleasure ground" in the 1780's it was once a place of lead mining. You can tour the two show caverns and learn about the history of the caverns as well as the geology of the area. We had the best tour guide, she was so enthusiastic and informative, you can tell that she has a real passion for her job and the area. The Great Masson Cavern is the one we chose to tour. We learned about how zinc, copper, and lead occur together, and also the fact that Masson Hill, which the Heights of Abraham is situated on, once upon a (very long) time ago was below the sea floor and the ceilings of the cavern contain the fossils of sea life. 

entrance to The Great Masson Cavern

blurry pic of our tour guide 

blocked up mine shaft

our tour guide explaining some geology
mood lighting in the cavern

in the cavern

Masson Cavern exit

After our wonderful tour of the cavern I climbed up the Victoria Prospect Tower which was a bit nerve wracking. Not because of the height but because the stairs up the tower are very narrow and very steep with very little to keep you from tumbling down. Daniel chose not to go up the tower so I went up alone. There are stunning views of the Derwent Valley, Matlock Bath below and Riber Castle across the way. My pictures don't do it justice because it was quite a hazy day, but in person it was lovely. There was something so dreamy about being atop a Victorian tower looking across an enchanting valley at a castle. That is a view that just doesn't exist anywhere in the States so it really felt special. 

My Englishman walking to the Victoria Prospect Tower
The view going up the stairs in the Victoria Prospect Tower
the view going down

panorama atop the tower

Riber Castle across the valley from the Heights of Abraham

Tinkers Mine Shaft

After wandering the grounds we realized it was lunch time. Rather than find somewhere in town to eat we decided to eat at the Terrace Cafe in the Treetops Visitor Centre. Daniel had decided before we left the States that there were some traditional English foods that I had to try on this trip which I hadn't tried my previous time there. Top on the list was having a sausage roll. This is basically a sausage wrapped in puff pastry They must be just awful for you but oh my, do they taste good. I hate to admit it but the sausage roll at the Terrace Cafe was the first of many on this trip.  

the view going down. whew it was steep

Full of sausage rolls and tea we made our way back down the hill and were on the road again. Next stop Scrooby!


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