The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Wednesday – To Bamford

Wednesday 8 June (0720 – 1600)

Distance: 20 miles

Weather: Sunshine and showers

Number of times the waterproofs went on and came off: 5

It was a bit parky in the night up at 2000 feet and the expected warming morning sun didn’t materialise. The reason for that became apparent when I unzipped and found myself to be in the cloud.

The cloud soon lifted (and my feet warmed up for the first time in 11 hours) as I continued along the north edge of the plateau to join the Pennine Way down to the Snake Road and then up towards Bleaklow.

Over breakfast I had considered the map again. The route I’d plotted on Monday night had me going over Bleaklow then over Howden Moor to Margery Hill (highest point in South Yorkshire – see I was paying attention last year Phil!). The problem with that plan was that, having stopped six miles short on Tuesday night, following that route would have given me a too-short day to find somewhere discreet to wild camp, or a too-long day to get to Bamford or Hathersage. I came up with a revised plan: I would cut down the River Alport and up to Alport Castles.

That turned out to be a decision with which I was very pleased indeed. The Alport valley is incredibly pretty! And, probably thanks to there being no path marked on the map, it is also unspoilt.

IMG_3206IMG_3211 IMG_3208 IMG_3209 IMG_3210

I snapped quite a few photos of the loveliness!

With the lack of a path marked on the map, I had expected a yomp of a couple of miles to get myself from the Pennine Way to the trig point above Alport Castles, but when I got to the top of the valley I found there to be a narrow path all the way down the left side of the river, meaning I just had a bit of a scrabble up the steep valley-side to get up to the top of the moor just before Alport Castles.

Getting up onto the moor did, of course, give me a good view all around, and within that view was an obviously-heavy shower heading towards me. I pre-empted it by getting back into my waterproofs for the fourth time.

Well, that was one ferocious shower! For about twenty minutes I was lashed with wind-powered stinging rain and OUCH!-inducing hail. It was quite unpleasant!

Given that it was still raining when I passed the bird hide on Alport Castles, and given that I was beyond the point where I needed to turn my map over, I don’t know why I didn’t pop in for a bit of shelter. Instead I carried on, and twenty minutes later the day was (temporarily) glorious:

IMG_3220I took advantage of the shelter of the wall in this photo to pause for lunch. In the sun and out of the wind it was rather nice.

In contrast to a morning of solitude, things got busy again once I got down to Ladybower Reservoir, where I cut across below the impressive Derwent dam:


Couldn’t quite fit both towers on the dam into the photo!

The waterproofs did another cycle of off and on as I walked along the edge of Ladybower (and whilst the waterproofs were off, there was another period of blue-skiedness, which set off the reservoir nicely).


It was nearly enough to convince me that the walk over Derwent Edge and Hathersage Edge and then down to North Lees was a good idea, but after a bit of dithering at the path junction I concluded that I really was quite tired and that a shorter, flatter walk would be preferable. Probably the best decision as by the time I reached the end of the reservoir rain had set in that didn’t stop until after I reached the campsite at Bamford.

It was 1600, and with 20 miles walked on very little sleep I wasn’t ruling out a bit of a doze before teatime…


  1. Hi Gayle did not realise you were off again ;). with all that walking how are your shoes doing?? The sole must SURELY be worn out by now ;)Maike

  2. Here is what you missed if you had done the walk in the 1930's :-)

  3. Maike - In the absence of employment I thought I'd grab the opportunity to take myself out on just a little jaunt. There'll probably be more over the coming weeks. As for shoes, I have plenty to choose from (16 or 17 pairs!), so for this trip I chose an almost-worn-out pair that didn't feature in the Big Walk.

    Geoff - I'm guessing that Derwent Hall now lies under Ladybower Reservoir? What a magnificent looking house!

  4. Gayle,

    I'm glad to see that you were indeed paying attention when I released my one and only fact regarding the hills of South Yorkshire!

    The area east of Bleaklow Stones and around the Alport Valley is as remote as it gets round these parts, and is a real delight. Glad you enjoyed it.