Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Best laid plans

Have you noticed how often we'll make plans then they go a trifle wrong?

That kinda happened to me. I put it in black and white that I'd try to get out every other day on my bike. So far I've managed to set it to ride 2 days, have x off, ride again.....mmm, mebbe I should stick with the new found plans? Ride 2 days, have 2 days off the bike, back on for 2? What say you?

TUESDAY - as this was a designated day off the bike, and it'd snowed again, I thought I'd get out for a walk over at Dovestone Reservoir.

I rose nice and early, got into my cold weather gear, pulled the boots on and jumped on a bus to get me into Ashton so I could get the bus from there to Greenfield. I really felt for the driver of the 350 as it really struggled to get up the ice and slush covered hills on it's route out through Mossley, the driver looked more than a little worried at one point, but he got us there in one piece.

Once off the bus at Chew Valley Roundabout I'd normally head down a private road that leads straight to the reservoir; only today this road really was a private road - it was having nice shiny, rather large security gates put on it. Humph! I won't be going that way then!

Instead I had the fun of hiking up Holmforth Rd as far as Bank Lane before sliding my way down to the car park at the bottom of the road and back up the unexpected little hill at the other end.

The rangers advise to walk anti-clockwise round the reservoir as it's easier - means you go down the 6% section instead of up it. Did I follow their advice? Nope, I chose to go clockwise instead - more of a workout that way. So, off I set walking along the dam wall watching poor little ducks trying to slide-waddle their way across ice sheets; the only tracks in the snow were those of dog walkers and their hounds (no actual sign of anyone, so i think they'd been and gone) and the only sounds were those of the few vehicles braving it across Saddleworth Moor and the sheep bleating.

I found a picture perfect spot to sit and have some coffee and a jam sandwich just soaking up the serenity of my surroundings. If it wasn't for my butt beginning to feel like it was sticking to the rock I ws sat on I'd have stayed there all day. As it was, I set off again past conifer forests and miniature icicle waterfalls at strategic brook inlets before climbing up the 6% hill to Yeoman Hey dam and across it to the base of the craggy Dovestone Rocks and back past another conifer forest and picnic area. Now I was in with the free roaming sheep that graze over on this side of the reservoir.

All too soon I was crossing over the little brook that runs down from by Chew Valley reservoir into Dovestone and passing by Dovestone Sailing Club and the memorial plantations before sliding my way back down to the wall-mounted map and boot wash.

At this point I was accosted by a very friendly hound who refused to go back to her owner until I pointed the way! After another coffee, I found my route back out blocked by a BT van having a wheel-spinning session on the ice as it tried to do a 3-point turn that turned into something like a 50-point turn. One of the risks of having to bring a business vehicle down here to the farms I guess.

I got to have a little chat with a sheep on the crawl back up Bank Lane, but he didn't stay still long enough for me to get a picture of him. One of the gorgeous houses up there was up for sale too - it'll remain a long distance dream for me to own anything like that. Way, way expensive out there. And a tad isolated when you don't drive!

View Interactive Map on

Boring bits -
Wintry, snowy gorgeousness. 1 degree.
361ft climbed - about 20ft of that slid along.

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