I have visited the Lady bower reservoir many times over the years, as a child with my parents, and now later as an adult. In all these visits, i have never seen the water flowing down the bellmouth overflows (known locally as the “plug holes”). So whilst browsing social media, a couple of short videos stuck in my mind. One of these was of the water flowing over the top of Derwent dam, and the other was a short clip by my friend Dean Read. The Clip Dean had uploaded, was a aerial shot of one of the Lady Bower “plugholes”, with water rushing down into its dark, seemingly bottomless depths. Upon seeing this, i decided that i had to plan a walk there, and sharpish, before the water levels dropped too low, and this amazing sight stopped. With a quick flick through my Peak District walks book, and a good scan of my OS map, i formulated a route, and packed my day pack. That night i went to bed, eager for the trip ahead.
I awoke early the next morning, and shovelled my breakfast down as fast as i could. Now anyone that knows me, knows that i’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on, so to make sure i hadn’t forgot anything, i had to talk myself through all the gear i’d need and mentally check it off my list. So, breakfast eaten and list checked, i set off to the Peak District, my destination, Lady Bower reservoir, and a great day of walking. Arriving at Lady Bower around 10:30am, i Parked up in a lay-by near the dam itself. Opening the car boot, i excitedly laced my walking boots, put on my day pack and headed to the dam. As i got closer, i could hear the water crashing down the plughole, i quickened my pace. It was an amazing sight to behold, what are normally dormant, quiet plugholes, were now a crescendo of noise, with water flowing down at a blistering pace. After a few moments watching the water in awe, i set off on my walk, the first part of which would be taking me to the top of Win hill.
With the weather being warmer than i had expected, and my tendency to be able to sweat in a freezer, i thought it best to take the less direct route to the top of Win hill. A easier route it may have been, but i still managed to become a sweaty mess, i can only imagine how bad i would have been had i taken the direct route. No doubt the water level in Lady Bower would have risen some what. Around half way up the route, a few trees had fell onto the path, covering it for a stretch of about a hundred meters or so. My guess was that they had fell in the tail end of the recent storm. Some of them had sections sawn out of them, so they were no longer blocking the path, but a good few of them were still there, completely blocking the trail, so i was forced to take a detour around them. After rejoining the path, i was soon taking a more direct route up, and upon leaving the tree line, the last slog to the top of Win hill began. Now out in the open, the views from the hillside were amazing, i was stopping periodically to catch my breath, and also to soak up the beautiful views around me. When i reached the top, a huge smile crossed my face, as i strolled across to the trig point to take in the amazing vistas on all sides. In fact, from this great vantage point, i could pretty much see all the remainder of my journey laid out before me. Once i had soaked up all the views possible, and taken the walkers obligatory trig point photo, i carried on with my journey. My next port of call on the route was Hope cross, i had decided this would be an excellent place to stop for the food i had packed. Whilst following the ridge line of Hope brink, i couldn’t help but keep looking at the impressive formation of the Great ridge, Lose hill to Mam tor, standing proudly between the Hope valley and the Vale of Edale. This got me thinking, and wishing i was walking the great ridge, but that would add on another seven miles to what would already be a ten mile round trip. My legs just aren’t ready for that yet. So i decided to just admire the view, and save the great ridge for another day, and i carried on with my journey. Now this section i was on, was a very gradual downwards slope, so it wasn’t hard on my knees and i was making excellent time. I thought to myself i’d soon be eating the lunch i had packed, and i couldn’t wait, because i was starving. It was then that it came into sight, and it seemed another large group of walkers had had the same idea. They would soon have another visitor. As i arrived at Hope cross, we exchanged a few courteous hellos, “a beautiful day for it” i said, and it was. I then took out my food, removed any breakables from my bag and then used it for a seat, and promptly ate my food. It was a beautiful location to eat, as i watched the clouds rolling over the vale of Edale towards the great ridge. This really is the life i thought as i relaxed admiring the view. After around twenty minutes, it was time to move on, still steadily going down hill i soon reached the river that fed one part of the reservoir. Shortly after crossing the river, the easy downhill section was over and the first steep climb since ascending Win hill began. This ascent up to Hagg side, was a steep and winding rocky path. It wasn’t long before i was puffing and panting and the dreaded sweat glands were working over time again. Luckily it was only around five to six hundred meters, although i’ll admit it felt a lot longer. But i’d made it, and the path was now pretty level, with a very gentle upwards gradient. Next stop Crook hill. It was around one and a half miles to Crook hill, and i did my best to get my head down and cover this section pretty quickly. The reason being, was that all the Photos and video footage i had been shooting for my YouTube video, had taken up a fair bit of time, and i didn’t want to be home too late, and i still had a one hour fifteen minute drive ahead of me, traffic dependent. So as you can imagine, it wasn’t long before the distinct shape of Crook hill came in to view. Now from my direction of travel, the path actually skirts around the left side of the hill, but i had an urge to actually walk to the top of both points of the hill. At first i was unsure whether to do it or not. Crook hill may not be really high, but from where i was stood, it looked very steep sided, so i left my decision till i was a bit nearer. Well who was i kidding, i couldn’t resist and up i went, and i was really glad i did as i got some spectacular views, from what was the last high point before heading back down towards the reservoir, and ultimately, my car. As i headed back down Crook hill towards Lady bower reservoir, and the Ashopton viaduct, i was filled with mixed emotions. I was really happy that i’d had such an amazing walk in such a beautiful location with great weather, yet sad it had come to an end. Yet i was also excited to go home and tell my family all about my journey and all the things i’d seen along the way. Well it wasn’t long before i had reached my car, changed back into my trainers, and slumped in the drivers seat ready to head home. This had been another extremely enjoyable visit to the Peak District as always, and as ever, i cant wait to get back out again soon. I hope you enjoy this latest installment of my Blog, and i look forward to any comments you may have. Thank you very much for reading.