Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Up, up, up

Phew! I'm not sure how I managed it but I hauled my butt all the way up to Chew reservoir in the Peak District.

I began at the Chew Valley roundabout and turned off towards a small business park where I joined the track at the side of Chew Brook. Following this round to just past the football pitch and a left turn brought me out onto a private road that follows the brook to Bank Lane and the sailing club.

Once past the landed dinghies and onto Chew Road where things turned skywards. Once over the bridge you're already on an average gradient of 8%. Sweeping round the bend with Indian's Head (Whimberry Stones) on the right and the road just seems to go on forever with only the bends giving some visual respite from the thoughts of ascending into heaven.

Round more bends and the grad gets steeper, now at around 11 or 12% and at one point you can see the efforts that have been made to stop sections of the hills on the left slipping across the road and down the steepening gully into the river below. 'Decoy' rocks begin to appear, making you think you're getting closer to the top than you are - from the car park below these look like they're on the moor top...but no! They're decoy rocks that first of all elate you, then deflate you as you realise it's only going to get tougher.

Now it's 16% and getting steeper as I began to really pant from the effort and as I begin to get closer to the hillside that still rears up from over my left shoulder, purely because of the steep gully getting closer to the road edge (I'm afraid of heights you see).

One last sweeping bend and the sky gets huge as the hills seem to disappear. I'm near the top!! On my left is what looks like a little cove with cliffs and a dinky lake - perfect spot to stop and eat sandwiches while looking over the valley to the extremely steep, rocky, scree covered hillside across the valley.

After the yummy food I knew I wasn't too far away. Once back on the road directly in front of me is the final hurdle. I can see the reservoir banking and the usual United Utilities 'hut' type thing they put in reservoirs. The hurdle? The final bit of hill to get me onto the very top of these moors is a 19% bugger!

I made it!! The vista from up here is just breathtaking; I don't see another point higher than where I am, the sun is beating down on me and the sky cleared of all cloud and became the most beautiful azure blue i have ever seen.

After climbing 1017 feet it's a great feeling to be on top of the world with not a soul up there with me, other than the mountain bunnies and the birds of prey swooping around during their mating dance.

See LiveSearch Aerial View of this location.


  1. Wow, that's epic. Beautiful countryside and bl**dy steep climbing, too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. My pleasure.

    It was a bugger of a killer climb! The views on the way up and from the top made it all worthwhile though.
    Future planned climbs include to Pots and Pans and the moortop war memorial (another bugger of a climb).