The summer holidays are over, the kids are back at school and that means more hill time for me. I really enjoyed the 6 weeks holidays with my daughter this year, we spent a fabulous week in Northumberland, did a Wild Camp up near Bamford Edge, Cycled the Monsal Trail and did a few local walks. That did mean however that my time has been limited when it comes to updating PeakRoutes.com. Over the coming weeks I will add more posts and images from those days out.
Today’s little wander was another one of those great and memorable ones. I didn’t really have a plan as such, I knew where I wanted to head but basically made up the route as I went along. I started off the day by heading to Howden Reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley, I parked up near the roundabout at the top of the tarmac road and got all my kit together.
It was a stunning morning, the weather was absolutely perfect and there wasn’t another soul in sight. You will get the idea of how pleased I was by listening to the AudioBoo that I’ve embedded above… I set off walking northwards along the road and made my way up towards slippery Stones on the gravel path.
As you can see from the first few images in the post the weather was stunning, The Upper Derwent Valley was in full summer glory with beautiful purple heather lining the hills. I made a few friends on my way up too, not human friends but sheep. Strangely they followed me for a short while instead of running away like their friends usually do. I made good progress up towards Broadhead Clough where the path swings westward towards Oaken Bank and Lands Side. Oaken Bank as the name would suggest is lined with Oak Trees and the odd Silver Birch.
If you listened to the AudioBoo entitled “Peak District – River Derwent & Grinah Stones – Part 1” then you will no doubt have heard about my breathtaking experience near Lands Side. If not, then here is a quick explanation. I was listening to Mark Knopfler’s brand new album called “Privateering” during my walk today. As I was walking up to the top of a brow of a hill along Lands Side I was listening to the track called “Haul Away”. Just as the track came to an awesome celtic crescendo the wind begun blowing and the view I got was stunning. The purple heather and lush green ferns were blowing in the wind and the views over towards Fair Bank and Circle Hill were amazing. My moment of tranquility was however spoiled just seconds later by a low flying Chinook Helicopter that almost stopped my heart beating 🙂 haha. An awesome sight but I sadly couldn’t grab my camera quick enough.
I kept on moving and followed the River Derwent as it got smaller and smaller. Last time I was here the conditions were very different, it was earlier in the year and the weather was icy cold and there was snow on the ground in places. you can have a look at a blog post from that day by heading to Peak District – Howden, BLeaklow & Alport.
It was great to be back at the source of the River Derwent, I had recently walked the Derwent Valle Heritage Way but it doesn’t come all the way up to the source. I’ve had some great times on the River Derwent and I have fond memories of day’s spent at Chatsworth and down in Matlock Bath.
I was rather disappointed to find a balloon jammed in one of the dried up cloughs at Swaines Greave. I always make a point of bringing with me an empty carrier bag so that I can pick up litter that I see. Over the years I’ve removed many things like this, Balloons, Chinese Lanterns and basically things that would take hundreds or thousands of years to biodegrade. I’m a huge fan of the Peak District and I like to see it as doing my bit to keep it as perfect as can be.
I didn’t stay for long up on Barrow Stones as had decided to make Grinah Stones my lunch stop. I had intentionally made it a shorter route today to give me some time to relax up on the moors and take in the experience more.
As you can see from the video above I accidentally came across a Geocache while minding my own business on Grinah Stones. I am a Geocacher myself and as I was sat there having lunch something caught my eye… A strange looking pile of stones hidden under a huge rock, one of the many huge rocks on Grinah Stones. It was the sort of pile of stones that I knew mother nature couldn’t have put there naturally. I know there are many many caches in the Peak District but I make a point of not looking for any while I’m out walking, I’m either out for a walk or out to go Geocaching. So.. I wandered over, moved a few of the stones and there it was.. The “Grinah Stones” Geocache. Obviously I logged it and I planned to log it online when I got home. It looks like I accidentally found the final cache in a multi cache series too 🙂
After my fun but relaxing stop on Grinah Stones I decided to make my way back to the car via Ridgewalk Moor and down Grinah Grain. I was following sheep tracks down Grinah Grain and there is now actual route so you may want to pick up the road that starts on the moors near bye.
After a knee and ankle testing wander down Grinah Grain I eventually made it down to where it flows in to the River Westend. There the path was more defined and I picked up the road that leads down to Westend Forest.
I had a lovely walk through the forest and even stopped for a moment by the river to take it all in for a while. I decided to record another AudioBoo which made it 3 for the day. The river was flowing gently down into the Howden Reservoir and my only company were squirrels and sheep 🙂
I made it back down to the tarmac road and then walked back around to the car at the roundabout. I was enjoying the day that much that I put my stuff in the car, changed out of my walking boots and then sat on the banks of the reservoir for a while gazing at the views. It had been another really great day out in the Peak District.