Archive for February 15th, 2009

February 15, 2009

A white Dark Peak

by backpackingbongos

Events transpired against us with a last minute emergency meaning we were unable to set off for the North Pennines on Friday evening.  Plans were hastily changed and we decided to head to the Peak District on Saturday morning.

We parked up at a very icy car park just south of Fairholmes visitor centre and headed to the eastern side of Ladybower reservoir.  It was pretty quiet out today, Saturday seems to be the day to head to the peak, Sundays always seem to be really busy.  We were soon heading uphill towards the Derwent moors on a slippery path of compacted snow.  Just before High House farm there is a nice little shelter decorated by local school kids where we took a welcome breather.

Ladybower Reservoir from the shelter


After comparing the relative merits of Waitrose and Tesco’s hummus we continued up the bridleway and ascended to the Wheel stones.  A great rocky outcrop that gave a good half hour of exploratory scrambling.

Scrambling on the Wheel stones


At the top


Framed view


We were soon heading north passing the Salt cellar, Dovestone tor and Cakes of bread to get to Back tor the highest point of the walk at 538m.  During this time the weather started to close in with the western sky beginning to darken.  Slowly but surely the hills to the west began to disappear into the mist.

Heading north along Derwent edge


Almost as soon as we reached Back tor the mist had enveloped us and a fine drizzle began to fall.  Rather than head to Lost lad we decided to test our navigational skills and head north into the wilds along Cartledge stones ridge.  We no longer had a clear path to follow, just two pairs of boot prints leading into the misty whiteness.  The snow seemed to get deeper and we began sinking down to our knees every other step as the surface crust gave way.  We soon hung a left and began to descend towards Bents clough, the snow becoming even softer until we were floundering through snow covered bog.  All of a sudden we came to what felt like the edge of the world as Abbey brook opened out before us.

Looking up Abbey brook


Looking down Abbey brook


A steep run down through the snow brought us to the footpath that runs along the bottom of the valley.  By now our leg muscles were beginning to ache from walking through the snow.  The last couple of miles along the reservoir seemed to last forever.

Map of the walk (click to enlarge)