Tissington Trail Half Marathon
Days out with kids are always a bit of a mission when you are used to the ‘just jump in the car/on the train and go’ life of adulthood. Suddenly, the Essentials go from ‘coat, keys, wallet’ to ‘nappies, wipes, change of clothes for each child, raincoat, sun cream, selection of toys, coat, keys, wallet’ and even if you’re only going for four hours, it looks like you’re staying for a week.
Luckily, now our youngest is two-and-a-half we can at least more often than not leave the pushchair behind which saves a bit of space. (This does mean that we have to carry everything though, instead of hanging it all on the pushchair handles – a slight downside.)
On Sunday 6th October at some silly time in the morning (about quarter to eight) we gathered up the Smalls, ourselves, the changing bag, toy bag, picnic bag of rations and our friend Liam, and headed out for Tissington Trail.
Liam was running in the Tissington half marathon and as Caius (my other half) was designated driver, the Smalls and I appointed ourselves as his fan club for the day.
It was a beautiful autumn morning – sunny but with a chilly wind – so we wrapped up in jumpers as we waved Liam and the other runners off at the starting line.
Tissington Trail is the route of a former railway in the Peak District running about 13 miles between Ashbourne and Parsley Hay. This means it is mostly flat and perfect for all sorts of activities – such as half marathons, if you are that way inclined.
It’s great for cycling too – there is an incline but with it being an old railway, it is a very gentle one that even beginners can manage. There are cycle hire points at either end of the trail – all sizes of bike right down to those cool trailers for kids and hand-pedal powered trikes – so it’s great for families of all shapes and sizes. There is food available at either end too, and at a couple of points in the middle along with regularly spaced benches for you to stop and take in the view or have a picnic.
They were nice and let the runners go in the slightly downhill direction of the trail for the half marathon. After they set off from Parsley Hay, we retrieved the Tori and Arthur from where they had wandered to explore and bundled them into the car. We were in a race to get to the next car park along before Liam got there so we could cheer him on!
The next stop was at Hartington Station, which now provides picnic benches and all important toilets instead of its old railway duties. We cheered Liam past then ran back to the car to race him again.
The trail runs mostly parallel to the A515 so we were able to see that we were a bit ahead of the runners and the kids loved waving at them between spotting cows and sheep (or pigs, as Arthur insisted they were…)
We pulled into a layby and climbed up to the side of the trail at about the half-way point, far enough ahead of Liam’s arrival for us to take in the stunning views and for the kids to explore the grassy verges and run about.
Liam was looking good when he ran past us and gave the Smalls a wave as they cheered him on – Arthur very adorably shouting ‘I love you!’ at his retreating back, much to the amusement of the other onlookers who had stopped at the same point.
Then it was back in the car and off to Tissington – another ex-station on the Trail. This part of the Trail is less open countryside and more wooded cuttings but is no less beautiful and the Smalls loved playing under the old bridge and spotting the old remnants of the Trail’s life as a railway.
Tissington Trail is a great place to visit for walking, cycling, running and even horse riding – there is a trekking centre based in Tissington. The gentle incline and well maintained pathway makes it easy going for people of all abilities and for people with pushchairs and reluctant toddlers.
It is free to visit aside from the reasonably priced parking at the car parks along the trail which makes it a great place to revisit all year round. You can do short walks for short legs or all 13 miles and back again – we have been cycling without the Smalls and we will definitely be back with them again soon.
For more information about cycling Tissington Trail, visit the Peak District Cycle Routes website here
The Wikipedia page about Tissington is here
The website for the Tissington half marathon can be found here