Wheeldon Trees Farm Cottages, The Peak District

We had planned an escape to Marseille for Andrews birthday. I figured, sunshine and a gorgeous mountain spa hotel would be a perfect recharge. Then, after all the delays after the avalanches in America earlier that month we just were after a break from airports... at least until Bali next week.

Anyway, after a two hour drive into the rolling hills of the Peak District, we leapt out of the car, dogs in tow. 

Enthused to stretch the legs after the drive, we all jumped up and raced along the track to the footpaths. We had arrived at Wheeldon Trees Farm for a long weekend break. 

Apollo and Aura in their harnesses ran loops around the fields after a quiet drive northwards. 

They followed their noses and chased scents. 

They looked at us, contented with our decision to ditch France for a break with them in tow. 

Although Aura did her best stare trying to telepathically beg for treats.

We were out of treats, so headed inside into our cottage for the weekend... 

Popped the kettle on, put the bubbly in the fridge and checked out the barn. 

It was a lovely and cosy little spot... 

...with a little welcome message on the fridge.

...and a welcome basket for the dogs! 

Not just Apollo and Aura though... Andrews family were en route to meet us, with their little puppies and our nephews. 

We heard the car pull up outside and kids and puppies all jumped out.

Aura ran loops with happiness to see her brothers and favourite toddlers. 

The two puppies t just under six months old were huge! They had grown so much since I had last seen them! 

While I cooed over bouncy pups, Aura instigated fetch... 

Her little brother Barnaby (named in part through a love of Midsommer Murders...) chased after the ball...

While Sherlock said hello politely... 

We figured we'd reduce energy levels with a quick run up the adjacent hill.

With pups and toddlers all racing to beat us to the peak! 

We looked down on our home away from home... 

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Aura rounded us up as we ascended... 

Then at the top of the hill raced over for a cuddle. 

Then off she went, chasing the boys... 

Catching our breaths we sat watching the sun fall low in the sky, dropping shaddows over the ridges of the hills below us. 

As the sun dipped away, the boys called the dogs... 

... and led the way back to the cottages. 

We cracked open the bubbly, aired the wine and shared a delicious dinner and birthday celebration... 

While the dogs watched on, snoozing and snoring occasionally... 

...and utterly content to be part of the pack!