Romance is alive in the Peak District.
No, I’m not talking about taking strolls along quaint walks in the country, or snuggling up next to the fire in some lovely rural pub.
I’m talking about love locks in Bakewell.
Now most people associate Bakewell for its almond-based cakes and puddings, (or the rather disappointing commercial Cherry Bakewells mass produced by Mr Kipling). And definitely not for being an on-trend happening place where lovers – young and old – declare their eternal devotion to each other.
But it is.
The town’s main pedestrian bridge over the River Wye is now covered in paddocks which have been locked onto its railings by couples to symbolise their everlasting love for each other.
It’s a trend that started in Paris – the original city of lovers – and has spread all over the world, landing most recently in Bakewell.
Some find it rather fetching…a simple and poignant way to immortalise and celebrate that special bond between two people.
Others are less keen. An eye-sore at best, and at worst a public safety and environmental hazard.
The practice is still thriving in Bakewell, but has been banned on several bridges as far apart as Sydney, Chicago and Venice.
When we walked across the bridge at Bakewell we did not really know what to make of it.
Two thoughts sprung to mind.
No doubt Chubbs and other lock manufacturers have done rather well out of all this, was one (in fact one local locksmith advertises ‘love locks’ outside their shop).
The other was that the trout swimming underneath the bridge must be getting a raw deal.
Once they may have expected a rich diet of bread, crisps and leftover sandwiches. Now all they get is unpalatable and, perhaps, potentially toxic, small metal lock keys thrown into the river. Not much fun for them, I’d have thought.