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Peaks Revisited, the Vanilla Kitchen and May availability

Survival Skills went on tour last week and visited the Peak District for the second time this year.

So far this spring has been notable for disruption – just three weeks ago, I had a weekend course disrupted by snow, the first visit to the Peaks managed to see more weather, and last week the worry was the threat of fuel shortages caused by panic buying because of the refinery strike next week.

Rather than ride the bike to Peaks, and risk running out of fuel (a Hornet 600 doesn’t allow for much error in planning for fuel shortages), I ran the bike up there in the bus (my Nissan Serena), which allowed me to carry a couple of gallons of unleaded to ensure I had enough for training up there, and to get there and back on a (expensive) tankful of diesel.

In the event, there was no problem getting fuel, but torrential rain and blinding spray on the way up on Wednesday morning made me very glad I was on four wheels rather than two.

Training with Adam and Jim went well, although the weather continued mixed; after the early rain on Wednesday cleared, we had a warm, sunny afternoon, but rain moved in again on Thursday morning and although it had cleared away by the time we got on the roads, we caught a massive storm in the last 20 mins or so before we got back to the cafe for our final debrief, so I think we were all a bit damp by then! Again, I was quite glad of four wheels for the return trip, to strip off the riding kit and turn the heater on!

The roads in the Peaks are good, twisting and technical with many rises and falls of terrain, and there is some spectacular scenery to ride through too, and although some of the more popular routes have a blanket 50 limit on them, there are plenty of smaller “roads less travelled” that are still national limit and are very quiet too – perfect for training.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much up there, I’m planning another trip for mid-June. If you are interested in a course up there, drop me a line!

Purely by accident, I discovered the “Vanilla Kitchen” in Tideswell, as a place to stop and have a bite to eat and a cuppa mid-course. I’ll put a permanent post up about it on the main website when I have a moment, but suffice to say, the cakes are unbelievable – all home baked. Jim put his fork down halfway through his plateful, and said “this is the BEST chocolate brownie I’ve ever eaten”, and I can vouch for the lemon and rosemary cake myself. The filled hot panini and the crab tart I had on Thursday were equally excellent. Mini-website is here: http://www.vanillakitchen.co.uk/

On the bookings front, May’s diary is already looking fairly well booked up. I’ve got a charity ride on mid-month, as well as the Wales “Tour” event at the end of the month, and have already booked training for Devon and France as well as the more usual Kent and Oxford courses, so there are only 12 days still free.

At the moment, the following dates are open:

Sat 3 May (Kent) Sun 4 (Oxford) Mon 12 – Thu 15 (Kent) Wed 21 – Sun 25 (Kent) Mon 26 (Oxford)

Drop me a line soonest to reserve a training date.

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