Wednesday 8 October Howden Reservoir

Our ‘day off’ but it was nearly 11.30 before we got away what with one thing and another and interruptions etc. Still a glorious day forecast but with WI in the evening I had planned a short walk up at Derwent Reservoir to see the changing colours. As we left Chris wondered if there was a walk further up the reservoirs we could do. I could think of one and although I had the map I knew it was much longer than I had planned and it was one I had scheduled for next year. When we got to the Derwent Dam there was water overflowing the dam, the first time in a long time we had seen that but as I pointed out later we have had 12 inches of rain since the beginning of August! As we drove past Howden Dam the water was also overflowing but not as spectacular as Derwent Dam. We parked where the road ended, it was busy here as it was in all the car parks. The road/track around the lake can be walked or cycled so we started along the track at the upper end of the Howden reservoir until reaching the Slippery Stones bridge. This packhorse bridge was once further down the valley but was moved to its current position when the valley was flooded. It was at this point we left the track and picked up a bridleway that headed up to Howden Edge beside Cranberry Clough. It was a gradual climb and not too strenuous for me! As we levelled out on the moorland we had some wonderful views across to Bleaklow and I am sure I could pick out Win Hill, Lose Hill, Mam Tor and Bamford Edge. We stopped just below Howden Edge for some lunch, perhaps the highest spot for lunch we have done at 1500 feet! We then picked up a path below the edge rather than the higher one on the edge. The ground was quite boggy in places and the path sometimes indistinct but we made steady progress using the topography as a guide as well as the map. Eventually we started the descent down Howden Clough reaching the treeline then the reservoir again. A walk back along the track to the Slippery Stones bridge with a stop to watch some Hercules fly over. Then back to the car. I reckoned we had done at least five miles but when we got back and Chris measured it we had walked 6.75 miles. No wonder when we got out of the car to take some pictures of the Derwent dam my legs seized up. Chris went down to the dam’s bottom with Blue and I stayed talking to some Australians who were making a fuss of Smudge. As it was late we grabbed some fish and chips before I sorted out the emails and phone calls then went down to the WI meeting at Over Haddon. Our speaker today was a local magistrate who gave us a very informative and interesting talk on her work. Needless to say I slept very well that night!