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THE SECTION ANNUAL RALLY - DERBYSHIRE PEAKS
Sunday 9 - Saturday 15 September 2012

Izaak Walton Hotel
The Izaak Walton Hotel.

This year the Section stayed in the UK once again. It seemed at the time the decision was made, bearing in mind the financial turmoil in Europe, to be the best thing to do.

Our venue was the Izaak Walton Hotel in Dovedale, Derbyshire, named after the famous angler and author of the 'Complete Angler'. A charming three star hotel which is situated up in the hills with magnificent peak hills forming a backdrop. The hotel was taken over by the Section members, filling all the rooms to the exclusion of all others. This obviously made it essential that the hotel selected the rooms for each couple rather than the BW's, as there was bound to be a difference between some of the rooms. Good move that!


Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House.

Our first day trip was to Chatsworth House - it had to be! A magnificent estate with fabulous grounds and gardens, including one of the tallest fountains in Europe, achieving a height of some 300 feet, 'opened up' to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Day two was a visit to Denby Pottery and with a light lunch, followed by credit card exercise in the several outlet and seconds shops. There was also an opportunity to see the craft side of production and to have a go ourselves at making a clay model, mostly frogs from what I could see. This left free time in the afternoon for some to drift off into the sunset and explore parts of the Peak District.


Critch Tramway   Critch Tramway
Critch Tramway.

Day three, a busy event day starting off with the world famous Crich 'Tramway Village'. Here our schedule was somewhat critical as we had to cross over the tramway to access our special reserved parking area. Everyone turned up on time and after some mind changing by the day's tramway controller, eventually, following much to-ing and fro-ing by yours truly, we reverted to plan A, as previously agreed at our initial meeting, and we settled down to a most enjoyable day. It was quite fun to ride a tram again, and the more so as we were given old pennies to pay our fare.

Timing leaving the tramway was as critical as it was entering, and once again all our members were present, engines running on the grids, ready for the flags to drop, edging impatiently forward as the controller seemed to be playing games with our patience.

At last we were off and high-tailing it to the Peak Railway, a train ride with cream tea. It poured here following what had earlier in the day been beautiful sunshine. The train was fashionably dressed with period table cloths, with a vase of flowers on each table in our first class carriages. We were presented with the largest scones I have ever seen and more cream and jam than you could shake a stick at - we could all have ended up as fat controllers, methinks!

Thursday was a free day with members disappearing into the wilds of Derbyshire, returning with yarns of Blue John mines, lakes and other estate houses of interest, and some great views.

Friday was our longest single trip from our base. Based near Sheffield we had arranged a tour of the Sitwell's residence at Renishaw Hall. This took in the house, gardens, a splendid light lunch - one of the best I think we had on the rally - and an English wine tasting. Due to a degree of confusion, it has to be said, between the catering staff and the house/wine tasting department, half of our number were delayed by the better part of an hour in leaving. As this was also the Gala Night many wanted to get back and prepare for the evening's event, missing out on the wine tasting altogether in their anxiety to get back to the hotel and dressed for the evening.


The Gala Night was a great success. The hotel staff made a considerable effort to dress the room and provide a very good four-course meal with complimentary Bucks Fizz served in the ante-room. Gifts were traditionally presented to the BW's Tony Leach and Daphne, and Chris Tween and Rosemary, gratefully received, so thank you to everyone. David Gray made a speech of thanks and appreciation for all the work that went into the organising and day-to-day running of events. There followed a word of thanks from the floor to the BW's from Geoffrey Halstead, narrowly beating Doug Skipper to his feet initially intent on doing the same, so again thank you to them.

All together, a successful event, and we are all looking forward to the next one.

Chris Tween - Section Magazine Editor

  Gala Night
The Gala Night.
Photos: Chris Tween