Derwent Travel Blog› entry 19 of 129 › view all entries
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.
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 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.
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.