Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Fifteen miles of moorland

Yesterday, we decided to cock a snook at the forecast, even though it was DIRE. I am SO glad, as it turned into one of the best walks for AGES, probably in my top 20, and that's saying something. It DID rain, but I had a secret weapon - I carried an UMBRELLA! I've never done this before, but Nicholas Crane (of 'coast' on TV) always has one, and as a lot of showers were forecast, this time I took one. I have to say, it was BRILLIANT. Usually, in the summer, wearing a coat is purgatory. You get SO warm, especially as today had over 3,000 feet of climb involved. The brolly seemed to answer all these problems, and boy - was I glad I had it. It rained only 4 times, and never for more than 15 minutes. The brolly saved the day every time, I even had my lunch under it's protective cover. For the record - here is 'umbrella man'.
The walk started at the middle of the three dams in the Derwent valley, called the Derwent dam. The bottom dam, Ladybower, does not allow water over the top, it goes down two HUGE 'plugholes'.
As you can see from this pic, there was a hell of a lot of water coming over the top of Derwent, and the upper dam, Howden, was just the same (as you will see).

I wish you could hear the roar of this cascade, to stand at the side of it was exhilarating!

A much more serene scene - looking back to Derwent dam.
That right turret houses a very good 'dambusters' museum.

The view looking up the Derwent reservoir. This is the 'quiet' side of the res', and I only saw about 8 people in total, most on bikes. After I left the reservoir and progressed up onto the moors, I saw no-one for six hours.

Next was the Howden dam, with its own impressive overflow
Looking across Howden dam. The water was moving quite swiftly, and yet looked sort of still?

Looking back to Howden, only the turrets are obvious above the water.

Looking forward. This is where the people ended. You can see the path leading off into the wild blue yonder.
I always feel excitement when I see this, I can't explain it, I just go all shivery, and can't wait to get out there.

There was quite a lot of evidence of damage from the recent floods.
Here, part of the path had collapsed and washed down the hillside.

Slippery stones bridge. This was originally further down the valley, but when they flooded the valley, they dismantled it and rebuilt it here, at the top of the valley.

Further up the valley, the stream had increased in size from what it was usually - something I didn't think about!
To continue my intended route, I had to cross it. What to do?

Only one thing for it!
After my spot of wading, I climbed up onto Ronksley moor. NOW the views were really getting good!

I stopped at my favourite shooting cabin on the moors, and took time to sign the visitors book.
The grouse shooters come up here, but they don't walk, they come in land rovers.
This is what happens after a few seasons.
Remember, this track was originally at the same height as the top of the walls each side!

On the far side of the moor, the track starts to descend. The views here stopped me in my tracks. Today was just about as perfect as you can get, both temperature wise for walking, and air quality wise for pictures.
I described it as; 'a good to be alive day'
How green was my valley??
THIS green - that's how!
I always try to get the smaller picture too. This little beauty was captured by my lens.

You CAN drink this water - if you're REALLY desperate!
Look how brown it is from the peat.
It would be VERY acidic and hard to swallow.

Looking back as I climbed up ditch clough towards Alport castles. It was here I got my third shower.

It's OK guys - relax - I've only got an umbrella!

I crested the rise to be greeted by a really strong wind that would tear lumps out of you! NO chance of using the brolly up here if it rains. But look - doesn't this view of Europe's largest natural landslip, Alport castles, make it worthwhile?

A happy bunny (Speaking of which - I saw TWO hares today, both had lost their white winter coats though.)

As is so often the case on the moors these days, a flagstone path runs most of the length of Rowlee pasture.
At the end of the ridge, and just before I lost height, I was treated to a sunny view of the Derwent reservoir.
It was a day of paradox.
One minute, a sky like the one a few shots ago. Next, it looked like this.

As I said, shortly after this, I got my last shower of the day.
Was I disappointed? On a day like today, it was hard to wipe the smile from my face. It was a ten of a day by any standards, and I was reluctant to walk to the end of it. However, as I drove home, the rain REALLY came down and the roads were flooded.
I felt really blessed at what I had had today.

1 comment:

Needlelacer said...

Another great walk, Les - but you can keep that water !

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