This was the first day with my new boots, and I was very worried that my feet would be a mass of blisters by the end of the day. The boots felt very heavy and stiff after my previous pair, and it took about 40 minutes for them to ‘warm up’ and shape to my foot properly, during which time I was wondering why on earth I had purchased them. Then, as I climbed towards Stanage Edge, the boots seemed to get more flexible and more comfortable; although it’s fair to say I am not yet friendly with them, I stopped worrying about whether I was going to get blisters and concentrated on enjoying the walk – not difficult!
Because of the stop to buy boots, I was facing a long walk today – the whole of Stanage Edge, plus Derwent Edge, then a long descent to Derwent Water and trek back up to Dunford Bridge. I had also opted for more sleep, so it was a very late start, and it became apparent early on that I wasn’t going to be able to manage 24 miles or so that day. I therefore opted to end the walk at the reservoir, given the lack of any good stopping places between there and Dunford Bridge.
It was another great day’s walking, although it was incredibly hot and humid. There were so many climbers on Stanage Edge that from a distance you could hear their equipment clinking like windchimes. There were also hang-gliders, and I stopped to watch one man take off – it looked terrifying, a question of just jumping off the edge and trusting that you find a thermal, but the instructor was assuring a group of boys in front of me that it was ‘just like an armchair in the sky’. (sorry about the thumb!)
I stopped for lunch just past High Neb, then followed the edge down to Moscar before picking up a footpath up over the ridge to Derwent Edge. This turned out to be a wide motorway sort of path busy with walkers, rather than the lonely track through desolate moorland I had envisaged from the map, but the scenery was breathtaking. I ran out of water at the top of Back Tor, and this confirmed my decision to end the day at the reservoir rather than attempt the further walk to Dunford Bridge. I came down over Lost Lad (which has a big cairn and a commemorative plaque pointing out visible features in the view) and a grassy footpath through pasture.
I ended the day by the dam at the top of Ladybower reservoir, which contains a drowned village. The dam itself was used as the practice ground for the real life Dambusters, and is a very impressive huge wall of brick with rather theatrical looking guard towers. After a restorative ice cream, we returned to the campsite to meet my uncle, who had travelled up from Derby for a visit. A good day, and a planned rest day tomorrow.
Highlights: the meditative pleasure of walking solo in beautiful surroundings; more gritstone loveliness; some relief at finding the risk of getting lost on t’moor was so low as to be non-existent; stiff but generally ok new boots.