The plan for Thursday and Friday was to do an overnight backpack around Cross Fell. A few days prior the weather forecast suggested reasonable weather. A forecast is just that a forecast, by the time Wednesday came, it was clear that I was going to be blown off Cross Fell and Friday although less windy was going to rain all day. As I seem at the moment to go on walks where I am stuck in clouds – I thought I give it a miss and wait for a more suitable break in the weather. So what to do now ? The forecast suggested there was a good possibility of some clear weather towards the East on Friday, but some rain later – good I will go for a day walk in the Peaks.
I decided to walk from one of the car parks on the Upper Derwent Reservoir onto the Moors, back down around Upper Derwent and back to the car. If the forecast was wrong about timings (and it was) I could spend some time lower down and I would at least see something rather than of late peering into the gloom !
Route Taken – Fairholmes C.P. – Nether Hey- Howden Moors- Howden Edge-Margery Hill – Cut Gate End-Slippery Stones- Howden Reservoir-Upper Derwent Reservoir -Fairholmes C.P.
Distance – 18km (11 miles). Time taken – 5 hrs
Weather – Steady rain for most of the walk, briefly turning to snow on Howden Edge – 540m (1770 feet)
The dry weather lasted all of half an hour and then it rained non-stop until I was back at the car. It was a pleasant walk around the shoreline, before ascending to the Moors along the edge of Hey Bank and New Close Wood. Plenty of mud on the paths, but the walking was fairly easy and there was little wind – unfortunately this did not blow the clouds and rain away.
I saw several Arctic Hares the other side of Row Top, their pure white coats such a give away outside of snowy conditions. They bolted before I had chance to get the camera out. For a rare species in the UK, it is surprising how many times I have seen them out in the Peaks.
At the top I turned to the North and followed the Edge up to Margery Stones, the rain turning to snow for a brief period. Taking shelter at the stones I brewed up and had lunch.
Today was not a day for hanging about and after a quick lunch, I passed the trig at Margery Hill 546 m (1770 feet) and met up with the Little Cut path. This path drops down steeply via several fords to the River Derwent and arrives at Slippery Stones at the head of Howden Reservoir.
A pleasant 6Km walk back along the banks of the Howden and Upper Derwent completed my journey. I stopped briefly to view the water cascading down the dam before getting back to the car. It was dismal weather meaning it was almost dark at around 3.30pm.