Derwent Edge

Derwent Travel Blog

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The wheelstones, AKA the coach and horses, proving our ancestors had great imaginations

Today, for the first time in ages, I had no commitments, no boxes to unpack, and no promises to keep. Yesterday, I had extracted a promise from Iain that we would go up into the Peak district, and had rushed off to buy a guidebook and an OS map.

After an epic battle to persuade Iain that climbing hills was more fun than watching the footie highlights, we finally headed up towards Glossop.  I was bitching about lost daylight, and Iain was explaining slowly and clearly that there was plenty of time as Glossop was not that far from Manchester, when we ran into a traffic jam.  England may be the only country I know where there will be an epic traffic jam on your way to a remote hill in the middle of winter.

  I was not at all sure whether to be smug at being right or just irritated, but it took us forever to get through.  It turns out that there were two separate sets of roadworks on the way to Snake Pass.  There is nowhere that the authorities will not dig inexplicable holes.  So it was with enormous relief that we finally got over snake pass to the layby with the burger van in it. 

Obviously, burger van food is not the ideal health food for a strenuous climb, but I had carefully chosen a route that was not too tough to do with a burger in my tummy.  The thought of trying to get Iain to drive past the stall had occurred to me, and was then instantly dismissed as clearly stupid.  It was almost two by the time we found a parking spot at Derwent reservoir. 

Derwent reservoir and nearby ladybower reservoir is where the dambusters practiced bouncing bomb runs in world war two, the site of a drowned village, and is very, very popular with dog walkers.

The sky
  But although the first ten minutes of the walk were along the shore of the reservoir, the path we had to take quickly turned left up the side of a peak and we left everyone else behind. 

The weather was about perfect for walking; not hot at all, but not cold either, with very little breeze and a bright sky.  I puffed up the side of the hill, regretting how little time I have spent exercising recently, and we started across the moor.  Apart from a couple of slopes where the ice hadn't melted and we had to gain height quickly, the going was generally pretty easy terrain wise.  We passed some fantastic rock formations.  The rocks on the Dark Peak area have become exposed and then weathered into formations that look like stacks of stone disks.  The Lost Lad is apparently where some poor shepherd boy died of exposure, and the most spectacular views are from Back Tor.

Stone formation, possibly the cakes of bread, but I can't quite remember
  Tor is an ancient word for hill, but it is mostly applied to areas where you have moorland and weird rocky spikes. 

The moorland was absolutely alive with Grouse.  I have never seen so many grouse so close, possibly because this is National Trust land and so they aren't routinely shot.  Grouse make very funny noises, which sound almost like frogs croaking or robots saying "fire fire", depending how the wind catches them and how your imagination is that day.  There were rabbits lower down the hillsides, and the heather is just starting to grow new green shoots and was almost on the verge of budding.  As we came back down towards the reservoirs the light was just fading, and we came back to the car just in time to catch the little cafe as it shut and drive home through the twilight.

The walk was exactly the right length for me, 8 miles, which is short enough where I get back to the car in a good mood but long enough where I at least feel I've exercised.  The peaks were stunning, and I can't wait until the next time I can go out for a walk. 

sarahelaine says:
Thanks. :)
Posted on: Mar 18, 2010
mslellen says:
Hi Sarah Elaine, A wonderful story. I really enjoyed it!
Posted on: Mar 18, 2010
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The wheelstones, AKA the coach and…
The wheelstones, AKA the coach an…
The sky
The sky
Stone formation, possibly the cake…
Stone formation, possibly the cak…
The High Peaks
The High Peaks
View
View
Stream
Stream
Gates near the lost village of Der…
Gates near the lost village of De…
Statue of a mole.
Statue of a mole.
Art near the bird feeders
Art near the bird feeders
More art
More art
different art
different art
Derwent Resevoir dam
Derwent Resevoir dam
Derwent reservoir
Derwent reservoir
The path away from the crowds
The path away from the crowds
A stream
A stream
Walkers Clough
Walkers Clough
Um, what path?
Um, what path?
The reservoir
The reservoir
Snow
Snow
Crisp stop
Crisp stop
Its March, for crying out loud...
It's March, for crying out loud...
They pavev the paths to prevent er…
They pavev the paths to prevent e…
A cairn is a pile of stones to mar…
A cairn is a pile of stones to ma…
The Lost Lad
The Lost Lad
Lost Lad
Lost Lad
Back Tor
Back Tor
back Tor
back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
Back Tor
The path
The path
Im not sure - I think these might…
I'm not sure - I think these migh…
More rocks
More rocks
A Grouse
A Grouse
Derwent
photo by: sarahelaine