Coach trip to Hopton Hall

LES Robinson, the outings organiser for the Barkwith and District Gardeners Association, plans some very popular trips for the members plus friends and always attracts a full coach.

His latest visit generated so much interest in the early stages that he booked a second coach.

One picked up at East Barkwith Village Hall and one ferried the passengers from Horncastle and Wragby and at 8am they left first of all for Hopton Hall near Matlock.

Here they were able to wander around the grounds at their leisure, admiring the snowdrops which were looking their best in the lovely spring sunshine and enjoy refreshment in the cafe.

Two hours later they climbed aboard the coach again to travel on to Massam Mill, the former Cromford’s Old Cotton Mill which has been restored with shops on two floors and the ground floor preserved as a museum.

The coach parties had the option of taking their time there browsing around the range of shops or spending part of it in the museum hearing a fascinating talk on life at the mill during the industrial revolution and of the hardship endured by the workers who slaved away from an early age to earn a pittance.

There were no compensation payments for the injured workers in those days either - the opposite applied they heard, as in one instance the parents of a poor girl who had been dragged into a machine were sent a bill by the mill owners claiming for the cost of the material wasted when blood was spilled on it. It brought a full and interesting day to an end in the traditional for Les as when he is the organiser he always ensures that there is a good meal included in his programme package of what are always very reasonably priced trips and it is the reason why they are so popular.

The next outing is to the Harrogate Spring Show in April and he is almost fully booked for the remainder of the year with two coaches again for Christmas at Castle Howard.

He will soon be circulating suggestions too as he starts planning and booking for 2013 so that his regular travellers can indicate where they would most like to go. Thanks were expressed to Les for his efforts to ensure a most enjoyable day when the weather obliged too.