We wanted to stop off somewhere on the way home, to break up the dull motorway journey mostly, so, as usual, my first thought was to Google it.
I typed in “things to do on the M1” and found a question on Digital Spy that could have been written by me. It said:
“I’d quite like to stop off somewhere interesting, if the weather’s nice enough. Has anyone got any good suggestions? I like historical things, and outdoorsy places where I can walk and/or take photos, and I don’t want to go too far from the motorway. I’ll have a couple, maybe 3 hours from leaving the M1 to needing to be back on it.”
Leaving aside the facetious answers like “play on the hard shoulder” and “stop at a service station and sniff food you can’t afford”, there were a couple of ideas.
Daventry Freight Terminal??? Milton Keynes (we did think about that one), the National Space Centre (which is great but we’ve been before) or the National Forest.
A little more Googling (I love the way this has now become a verb) and we came up with Beacon Hill in the National Forest on the outskirts of Loughborough.
It was a glorious autumn day, so we left the motorway at junction 22 and it was a mere four or five miles away.
The £2.50 for the car park was well worth it for these views.
You could see for miles in every direction. And even the clouds looked fabulous.
According to the information board, Beacon Hill is the second highest point in Leicestershire at 802 feet above sea level.
It was blowing a gale (the tea cosy hat has come out for the purposes of keeping my wild and untamed hair out of my eyes) but there were still a couple of hardy souls picnicking at the top of the hill.
I need a new pair of walking boots – I threw mine away in a fit of pique when we moved house – so I was tramping over these rocks in boots with heels, not ideal.
You know, when we drive around the country I am constantly amazed by how much open space there is. This really is a very beautiful country. But the area I live in is getting more and more crowded and I really want to escape somewhere quieter.
I think I’d like to live in a small market town, north or east perhaps. I have decided I need access to a reasonable town centre with a range of shops and hopefully a market, doctors surgery, library, railway station/bus routes and good road links but I want it to be quite small and near countryside because I want to be able to watch the seasons change, I want excellent broadband connection and water around somewhere.
Nottingham, where Man lives, is a little too big and Yateley, where I live, is a little too small.
So far top of the list are Melton Mowbray, Newark, Bakewell and Ashby de la Zouch.
“That river needs some cream – cos it’s Soar” – good grief, I think it was at this point, I decided to stop the car and make him get out :)
Anyway, more exploration of the National Forest is probably needed because what I saw yesterday was beautiful. I am constantly surprised by finding interesting places right on mine or Man’s doorsteps that we have never seen before. Free or cheap stuff (and we all know I like free or cheap stuff) where we can take photographs.
So ten days of R&R now follows. I have books to read, Man’s jumper to continue knitting (yes haha, I have started it) places to walk, things to photograph, stories to write and things to discover. All the things I can’t do when I spend so much time at work.
PS. The little ginger one-eyed cat is extremely interested in the knitting of Man’s jumper (I think I have completed about two inches of ribbing on one side so far). Wool and knitting needles, apparently, are just toys for kittens. I can see us falling out :)