In 2020, for the first time in longer than I care to remember, I spent both Christmas and New Year with my parents (with a few days back in my own home in the middle for the sake of everyone’s sanity). Things got a little complicated, when High Peak got moved into what was then the highest tier of restrictions, while West Yorkshire stayed in the tier below; however, we figured out a way to go ahead with our plans, with only a very few changes. Just to add to the chaos, Christmas featured a broken fridge, while New Year starred an exploding oven. Fortunately, their motorhome was parked at the end of their drive, and had working examples of both. The motorhome also came in useful as a landmark when reviewing my photos, but more on that later.
I tend to deal with stressful situations, particularly those involving other people, by going for a walk – or a swim, but the outdoor pool was closed for understandable reasons on the main holiday dates. So I definitely needed an escape from Mum’s usual Turkey-cooking panics, given that those were exacerbated by her having to use a tiny fridge a fair distance away from the kitchen, and took myself off on one of my favourite short jaunts up to Ladybower Reservoir. The reservoir has been officially open for 75 years as of the 24th of September last year, which makes it a pretty fixed landmark in most people’s memories. Dad was at the opening ceremony with his parents, but the actual construction started five years before he was born.
My walk took me to the end of the first viaduct that carries the main roads out of the Peak District over the reservoir, giving me plenty of opportunities to see how high the waters are, especially when compared to some of my photos from previous years. There are two overflows close to the dam wall, and those were very impressive too. I avoided my walk being completely linear, by detouring on the way back, dropping down the side of the dam wall, and passing close to some of the service buildings for the reservoir. Some of the side paths looked a little too muddy for me to explore, but I’ll be going back later in the year, as and when weather and local/national restrictions allow.
Boxing Day is traditionally when a lot of families go walking as a counterpoint to the overindulgence of Christmas Day; Dad’s still not up to the distances and pacing I favour, so I set off on my own with a promise to wave down to both my parents when I was above their house. My route initially took me towards Ladybower again, but this time I turned off before I reached the dam wall, to head up New Road (this being the UK, it’s been there since well before I was born), which runs along below Bamford Edge roughly parallel to the main road through Bamford.
I managed to get a few pictures of my parents’ house, some featuring one or both of them waving; however, my planned route down the steep Bamford Clough was thwarted by roadworks rendering the lane closed beyond my powers to sneak over, under or through the barriers. Instead I continued about as far again as I’d already walked and came back along the narrow sunken road with the charming name of Fairy Glen. The full circuit counted as a short ride when I was a teenager with a pony, but is quite strenuous for an adult setting off on foot for a gentle stroll.
And that was my Christmas; I’ll save the story of my New Year exercise adventures for next month. Let me know if any of the pages I linked to have inspired you to plan adventures of your own for better times (don’t go to the Peak District now, they have enough issues with COVID-19 as it is).