Same route, very different feel.
Most of us commute to work. The same route, every day, in every season, rain or shine. After a fair number of times navigating these routes, you become accustomed to it and everything about it – I’m pretty sure I could drive to work blindfolded after 9 year in the same place.
But every so often, something upsets the impartiality of your route; a spanner in the works you might say. But what you may find is that these upsets can result in you noticing something about your route you may never have noticed before. A particular building may grab your attention, the décor and architecture seemingly all that more interesting, or a shop you never realised existed.
I had one of these times on New Years Day 2021. After much deliberation between Me and Polly on the pros and cons of driving to the Peak District on new year day, we were convinced to go for one last wander before the impending lockdown, sacrificing our midnight celebration for much needed sleep.
The Upper Derwent Valley is a spectacular and readily accessible area for everyone; wide, flat paths skirt the reservoirs, while the steep valleys and edges either side offer up panoramic views of the entirety of the Peak District, with Kinder Scout being one of the most prominent features of the area.
Parking in the Fairholmes car park at the south edge of Upper Derwent Reservoir, the route starts by taking in the early morning stillness of the reservoir, warming your legs up as you track the edge northward to the Abbey Tip Plantation. As you break out into the open access land, the route follows that of my previous report, hopping from Lost Lad, Cakes of Bread and Dovestone Tor.
It’s very unlike me to track the same route twice – I’m always on the hunt for new ground and like to see every route as a challenge, much to Polly’s annoyance. But with this route, on this day, a feeling of complete calm took hold. Although the route was the same, the feel of it was different, the prominent features ignored and the lesser seen aspects taking front and centre.
Tracing previous routes allows you to really take your time and enjoy what’s going on. It allows you to appreciate the surroundings a little more, take your time with your photographs and maybe even break out your good camera to give your phone a break. You already know how long it’ll take, the features to help with navigation and lessons learnt from the previous walks, all of which serve to allow some relaxation instead of blind panic as the hills throw curveballs at you on new routes.
As the route carried on round the edge of Derwent Moors, we avoided the bog run of the previous attempt – a lesson learned – opting to carry on down onto Lead Hill and snaking down Ladybower Tor instead. As you meet the road and viaduct over Ladybower reservoir, your efforts are rewarded with a leisurely lake-side stroll back to the car park. If you’ve played your timings right, you’ll catch the café open for hot dogs and coffee!
In a world that is about to return to the busy, noisy and occasionally stifling version of the past, be sure to re-visit routes of old and see what you missed last time.
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