Living for the Weekend – Derwent Edges   16 comments

TBF being the wonderful warm hearted soul that she is lets me go out to play once a year to watch the football. I meet up with Uncle Fester and Geordie Munro for a day out that includes a nice fried breakfast, a game of footy at MCFC, a few beers in some of the old pubs we used to frequent and a fine curry in one of the many fine establishments that Manchester has to offer. City duly obliged in making the day complete with a 3-0 victory over Sunderland.

Yorkshire Bridge, Ladybower Reservoir

Yorkshire Bridge & Ladybower Reservoir

The weather forecast the following day promised warm sunshine and extensive blue sky, enough to convince even the reticent UF into a day’s walk. Both me and GM were keen for some proper Bleaklow bogtrotting but UF was less than enthusiastic so we compromised on the Derwent Edges around the reservoirs, a more than adequate, in fact a mighty fine, substitute.

11 Miles, 2,500 feet of ascent

On such a fine day the Derwent Reservoirs are a busy place but for some inexplicable reason we thought we might find a space at the Fairholmes car park. Fat chance.

Derwent Edges

Derwent Edges

We had to park near the Yorkshire Bridge and amend our plan somewhat. UF suggested we take in the small hills just to the west of bridge as a better route to Fairholmes.

Crook Hill

Crook Hill

He was right. I’d never heard of these hills before let alone walked them despite having lived in the area for a few years. The twin peaks of Crook Hill have quite a rocky summit, like mini versions of the grander Win Hill across the valley and the morning views across Kinder, Bleaklow, the Derwent Edges across the reservoir and particularly the Edale valley were superb.

Kinder, Edale, Ladybower Reservoir

Kinder and Edale above Ladybower Reservoir

Derwent Edges

Derwent Edges

Better than that they seem little known and we had the whole place to ourselves with not a soul in sight in contrast to the busier lake-shore. From the tops it was an extremely pleasant stroll over high grassy meadows of Bridge End Pasture in the warm sunshine back towards Fairholmes.

Bridge End Pasture

GM & UF, Bridge End Pasture

Kinder Edges

Kinder Edges

As we dropped down towards the car park we started to see more of said crowds but the views were still superb especially down by the Ladybower Reservoir and the crowds didn’t really seem to matter.

Ladybower Reservoir, Fairholmes

Ladybower Reservoir from Fairholmes

We breezed quickly past the car park and onto the Upper Derwent Reservoir Dam which had water flowing over it. Quite a becoming sight and something the kids would have enjoyed for sure.

Upper Derwent Reservoir Dam

Upper Derwent Reservoir Dam

Upper Derwent Reservoir Dam

Upper Derwent Reservoir Dam

As we pressed on past the dam along the reservoir we started to lose the crowds and peace returned. Our original plan was to use Abbey Clough as a means to reach the open moorland. Our faffing about earlier had reduced the time available so we struck up an access path along Hollin Clough to reach the objective in a shorter albeit much steeper way.

Hollin Clough

GM ascends Hollin Clough

Once out on the moor the views were again expansive especially north towards the vast expanses of the open moorland that extend around the Derwent watershed to Bleaklow.

GM and UF, fine figures of men?

It is truly a wilderness area, all the more amazing for the fact that it is so close to both Sheffield and Manchester. I love it up here and really miss the days of wandering across the peat hags and exploring the stone outcrops, edges and Cloughs. It really is one of the UK’s treasures

Derwent Edges

Derwent Edges

We wandered easily up to Lost Lad Hillend, Lost Lad and onto Back Tor, a lot less boggier than I’d thought and vindicating my decision to wear trail shoes over boots (apart from one schoolboy error putting my foot in a black hole of evil)

Back Tor

GM approaches Back Tor

Back Tor is a fine place and we found a nice collection of rocks in the sun and out of the wind to have lunch. The views were expansive with the Ouse valley and its massive power stations billowing steam visible in the distance.

Back Tor

Lunch at Back Tor

Back Tor

View east from Back Tor

The long stroll along the edges high above the reservoirs was every bit as special as I remembered it. Easy walking, wide views of the Peak and the variety of stone tors along the way. I love the wonderful evocative names of the tors up here. Cakes of Bread, Salt Cellar, Wheel Stones. I seem to remember one was callled the Coach and Horses but its not named on the map so I must be thinking of somewhere else. The hills we’d walked on the morning looked particularly fine across Ladybower, reinforcing the feeling I’d missed something by not climbing them before, tempered by the fact it’s always nice to discover something new.

Cakes of Bread

Cakes of Bread

Crook Hill

Crook Hill from Derwent Edges

It looks a long way on the map but progress is easy and the miles simply disappear. Our stroll was enlightened by a group of very cheery and very lost middle aged Yorkshire ladies and their dog. They didn’t seem to know how to get down to their car wherever it was so we told them how to get down to the reservoir and hoped they were ok. Shortly we saw them striking off, off-piste across the heather in no direction in particular, a sure-fire way to achieve frustration, wet feet and twisted ankles (I saw them as I drove home later climbing into their car at Yorkshire Bridge so a happy ending)

Wheel Stones

Wheel Stones

Derwent Edges

Derwent Edges from Wheel Stones

Wheel Stones

GM & UF approach Wheel Stones

Our own plan was to leave the edge at Whinstone Lee Tor and wander back through the trees to the bridge. The walking was so good and the edge so fine that we decided to carry on along the edge of Lead Hill and around to Ladybower Tor and hope we could find a way down without hitting the dark forest.

Derwent Edges

Beaches on Derwent Edges

Lead Hill

Lead Hill

We found an avenue through the deep bracken overlooking Bamford Edge and the bottom end of the Ladybower Reservoir before a short slog back up the road to the car and the long drive home.

Bamford Edge, Ladybower Reservoir

Bamford Edge and Ladybower Reservoir

Football + Beer + Curry + walk + sunshine = RESULT

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16 responses to “Living for the Weekend – Derwent Edges

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  1. Derwent Edges and Ladybower – what a trip down memory lane!
    Wheelstones looks familiar – is that where you and I indulged in the underhand practice of pushing people over in the snow? And, in which case, was that followed by a painful bivvy bag ‘sledging’ incident?

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    beatingthebounds
    • That was indeed the day of pushing people in the snow. Gazzo was also a ringleader. We walked the full length of the Derwent edges, back along the Strines road and then the full length of Stanage Edge before finishing in Hathersage and a Hotpot/Barn Dance. What a day that was.

      The sledging incident was in the Langdales and my coccyx still gives me pain 25 years on!

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      • One out of two remembered correctly – that’s a good strike rate for me. I vaguely recall that being a very long day. People must have been very forgiving back then – I don’t remember being sent to Coventry at the Barn Dance after our pranksterism on the walk. I think me may have paid for it however – did it all descend into one mass snowball fight? (the incident at the Wheelstones, not the barn dance).

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        beatingthebounds
  2. Wonderful post. I loved to see these sceneries which are totally unknown to me. I also was glad to see Nordic walking there also. My wife occasionally uses walking sticks, but me not.

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    • Hi Matti, glad I’m able to swap some of the views/experiences of the UK landscape with the ones from Finland that you write about. The use of poles in the UK is quite common now. I have problems with my right knee so I use them when I remember to take them out of the car – I forgot them on this day 🙂

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  3. Beautiful.

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  4. Grand walk that, have walked all round there many times. There is a Coach and Horses up there – I’m sure. I’ll look it up in one of my books later and if I find it I’ll send you the grid ref for next time you’re up here.

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  5. A fine outing there Andy – Derwent edge is a bit of a classic. Good to see that you climbed Crook hill, a great little top overlooked by the masses.

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    backpackingbongos
    • It was always a favourite from when I lived up this way. I love all the weird rock formations and tors, great for scrambling about on although I’m past such tomfoolery these days.

      And yet Crook Hill was the highlight for me, a cracking little top and we didn’t see a soul up there and no-one until we reached the path above Fairholmes. The views were just magnificent and the amble across the grassy tops and the ridge was just sublime in the warm sunshine. Amazed that I’d never even heard of it before or even realised it was there!

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  6. Cracking walk that. Done it myself but in the opposite direction to you. Lovely pics you got there. Makes me want to head on back and do the route too. I’ve got found memories of Back Tor, I have to say. Far reaching views and a nice spot to camp out and observe mountain hares in late winter 😉

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    • Hi Terry – twas indeed a fine walk. Since I moved down to Herefordshire I really pine for the Dark Peak and its edges and tors. I’ve been poring over maps since I did ths walk and I’d forgotten about the mass of walks in this area, all the cloughs and edges.

      Back Tor is a great spot and I’d forgotten waht an impressive tor it is. I’m sure I’m spent happy hours scrambling the rocks there but they looked harder now – I must be getting old! I’ve seen Mountain Hares up there in the past, a wonderful sight.

      Apologies – I’ve not paid your blog a visit over the last few months – very remiss of me – I’ll be catching up on your stuff during the week now I’ve clraeda a backlog of work and my own posts 🙂

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  7. Found the mysterious Coach & Horses – it’s an alternative name for the Wheel Stones. It was in Mark Richard’s Dark Peak book of all places – he should have put us right 😀

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