7 members of the rambling group set out today to tackle a hike around the Dove Stone reservoir area on Saddleworth Moor, which lies at the Northwest corner of the Peak District. Starting at a height of 210m we walked up a well made path winding around side of the hills in lovely sunshine. However the moors of the Peak District soon showed their true colours and the mist rolled in and a fine drizzly rain started to fall, which caused an impromptu stop to don wet gear….which…as can be seen from some of the photos …was of the slightly more unorthodox variety in some cases!Pausing for a quick water and snack break at the top of the incline close to the walls of a disused quarry, we continued the climb towards the top of the moor. Looking back across the valley, where we had initially seen lovely views bathed in sunshine, at this point all we could see was rolling mist. Reaching the top of what was now a very steep incline we stopped at the edge of Chew Reservoir. It was apparent the water levels were very low, which was just as well, as someone had to clamber over the side to retrieve a cap that was caught by a strong gust of wind.
Cap safely retrieved we left the normal path and started the walk across the level plain of the moor. Peat deposits were evident across the moor and the ground was very soft and boggy but was soon replaced by gritstone which continued to mark the way across the moors until we were walking on the crags of the moor top. Reaching the top of the crag at a height of 500 metres, we were seemingly within touching distance of the planes which were passing over either to or from Manchester airport.
Thankfully the weather changed again by the time we reached our lunch stop and we were afforded the most fantastic views of Yeoman Hey and Greenfield reservoirs way down in the valley bottom, the cairns and rock formations on the gritstone edge and the views across the moors way into the Peak District. Following lunch, wet weather gear was stowed away, t-shirts were the order of the day due to the sun, and we started the descent. Phil assures us the path had become very overgrown since he did the recce, but the sight of 7 hikers, slipping and sliding, walking in a crab like fashion across rocks, knee high grass and occasionally resorting to “a la derriere ” to get down the mountain side must have been a sight to behold! Luckily there was no need for the mountain rescue but I think everyone was relieved to reach the bottom in one piece! Thankfully the path back to the car park was clearer and easier to follow, and we returned safely back to our start point, with rather wet shoes and socks but with a great sense of achievement for completing what can only be described as a “rather challenging ramble”.
Thanks to Phil for the recce and leading us today, though I guess there will be a few people tomorrow who have something to say about you when they try to get their knees back into action!
The next ramble is on Thursday 1st August to the Warpers Trail, our second visit of the year to Witton Weavers Way.