Cyclists do it so why can’t us runners?
You often see a large ‘peleton’ of cyclists stopped in a quaint village, with bikes stacked neatly, as the riders sup on tea and cake in a cycle friendly cafe. So why can’t us runners do the same? In fact, running route choice for the less competitive amongst you could include a cafe stop in just the same way as the cyclists do. Where time is not of an issue, merely the fun of completing a good half days run, or more, then a cafe destination, actually does make sense. A sit down, a cuppa and a slice can make for a very enjoyable rest-bite before completing your run back to base. It can also take you away from the maddening crowds on a Bank Holiday weekend, if you plot and plan carefully enough, or on this occasion, perhaps not.
There is another advantage to this approach for me at the moment. My running distance and walking miles are still limited by a healing left quad rupture. So a run to a cafe followed by an easier return leg has definite advantages. Debs, my good lady wife, loves to run to new places, to explore new tracks and trails and if this can involve a ‘journey’ and a day out then she is the first to cast a vote in favour. For a little while now Debs has been going on about the ‘No Cars Cafe’.
OK, as the name suggests you have to ‘Hike It, Bike It, or Ride It’ and now ‘Run It’ to get there. Part of the renovated Rushop Hall, which is now a thriving B & B, the cafe is a more recent addition for dinners staying on site. Tucked away and nestling at the foot of Rush Up Edge (the west end), the cafe is not the most obvious to find. Check out your OS map and you’ll spot Rushop Hall easily enough, though.
So it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and we decided to start our run at Castleton. Normally, we prefer the quieter tracks at weekends, but what the heck. The plan was to head to Hollings Cross, over Mam Tor and then to summit Rushup and Lords Seat before dropping down to the new Café. Boy was Mam Tor busy, definitely a game of ‘dodgems’. Thankfully, Lords Seat was much, much quieter as we raced over-weight, all the gear, mountain bikers to the summit – our ‘Sense’ clearly had the edge over their grippy ‘Specialised’.
We dropped off the track and onto a short downhill section on road to reach the ‘No Car Cafe’. A tree lined driveway gave a sense of seclusion as we approached. Stableing, holiday cottages and a public footpath passing through the grounds, just kinda, made the place feel like this is going to be OK. We weren’t alone as four rider-less mountain bikes were standing outside.
First up was Yorkshire Tea, albeit in Derbyshire. The ambiance and friendly welcome were definitely what you wanted. As soon as we arrived it was clear we may be wanting a jug of water and that kind of just appeared. Jan, our host was certainly swift of the mark there. The cyclists were tucking into plate-fulls of home made food ranging from beans and egg on granary toast or quiche and salad ( I think). It all looked very tasty which when we got chatting they readily confirmed. We opted for carrot cake and brownies, again all home made with locally sourced ingredients, well wherever possible. Now here’s the thing, coffee and tea top ups were readily available, American style, something I always think is the way it should be.
With Today’s newspaper on hand if you wanted, a winter-warming log burning stove adjacent to a comfy settee the No Car Café may just prove to much of a temptation come snowy-chilly days, let alone on lazy summer Café runs. Yes, we believe we have found another top-stop that is definitely on the agenda for another visit.
The return leg was across fields and paths less trodden. They were in places overgrown with little care offered by the landowners. OK for this time of year but likely to be bog-hell come the rainy season. There are other options, involving a little road, before finding yourself on the ‘rakes’ above Castleton and a drop down Cave Dale.