I saw early on in the week that they had a beginners class for Nordic walking at Erddig so I decided to get up and go and see what it was. Had to leave home by 9 to get there at 10 and yes, I managed it. Set the map wrong so I had a bit of a detour but just made it. There were heaps of people.
It is done with poles like skiing poles and you swing your arms as though marching and use the poles to push you forward. Apparently it’s really popular in Uk and judging by the turn up on Saturday I can believe it. It feels a bit awkward but better as you got used to it. It uses upper body muscles as well as those used for walking so a much better exercise.
Went for a coffee with them afterwards but they all knew each other and there was no point in making an effort as I wouldn’t be going again. People were friendly as we walked though. We were taught how to get the correct length, how to hold and use the poles before we went for a short practice walk.
After coffee I had a look around the grounds and saw the donkeys there. They were eating in their stalls though so I only saw them from the neck backwards.
There were supposed to be a couple of carthorses too but they were not home.
They had a sawmill and various bits of equipment which was interesting. The house wasn’t open but the grounds were. As usual in these places the gardens are beautiful.
I headed to Quarry Bank which is near Manchester Airport. Again a National Trust property but a bit different to the castles I have been visiting. This was a cotton mill and they had machines which were in working order and they demonstrated how they worked. It was 3 floors I think and you were guided through all the process from spinning the cotton through to making the material. Well worth a visit.
I went to the guided tour of the apprentice’s house. They had around 90 apprentices from 8 to 18, both girls and boys. They slept 2 to a bed and were well cared for at this particular mill although they still had a hard life and long hours of work. They had plenty of food and were allowed outside to play in their limited free time.
Girls were given minimal education, just enough to read and write while boys were allowed to learn more. There was a display in the mill about what was thought of women and their place. We are still not equal but much more so then then. What was strange though, was that if a couple ran a business and the husband died, it was the wife who continued running the business, not their son if they had one.
Women were thought not to need anything but a minimal education except in needlework and the like. The female apprentices were appreciated more though as they said the girls worked harder and caused less mischief than the boys.
The Quarry Mill has also set up a fish ladder for the salmon to get upstream which they haven’t been able to do for 200 years according to the signage. The gardens were not open here but I walked to the village which was built by the mill owners. A workers cottage will be opening shortly for viewing. I was a bit too early in Feb to see it though.
Drove the 1.5 hrs home and, just for a change, had eggs for dinner. Omelet last night, frittata tonight.