Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunay Morning in Saddleworth

With one or two Sunday morning runners nursing sore heads, after last night's wedding, a good strong group set off from the Castleshaw Centre, in Saddleworth.

Heading up the valley we made our way onto a windy Millstone Edge, before heading north along the
Pennine Way. At the Nant Sarah's Road we continued north for a short while before crossing access land to Readycon Dean Reservoir. From here we picked up the Pennine Bridleway and passed below Lurden Top, on route to Dowry Reservoir.

After a morning of showers, the sky now cleared and we removed wet cags as the sun broke through the scattering clouds. Continuing on, we climbed the PBW and picked up Moor Lane and then on to Four Lane Ends. Enjoying the delightful grassy descent we dropped into the valley to return to the car park on waterworks Road.

Another great Sunday morning run.

Friday, 9 August 2013

A Walk Round Dove Stone Reservoir

Dove Stone Reservoir, situated in the Chew Valley, Greenfield, is a popular tourist attraction for Oldham residents and visitors from farther afield. Considered as the northern gateway to the Peak District this beautiful valley offers an array of low level strolls and high moorland walks.

Setting out from the RSPB operated car park, adjacent to the Sailing Club, I made my way along the southern shores of Dove Stone Reservoir, with the evening sun warming my back. Turning north, at Chew Brook I watched a flotilla of sailing dinghy’s straining to make forward progress as their crews attempted to harness the light breeze in loosely flapping sails.

Passing below Dean Rocks the air was still and quiet, except for the distinctive calls of the Peregrine Falcons which nest high on the cliffs. Reaching the foot of Ashway Gap I sat on a bench in the grounds of the former Victorian Hunting Lodge, called Ashway House, and trained my binoculars to the sky in search of the high speed raptors. Previously owned by the wealthy Platt family the once majestic, castle-like, building was sadly demolished in the early 1980’s.

Continuing north I made my way along the eastern shores of Yeoman Hey Reservoir, which was the first to be constructed in the valley. Following the clear path I climbed to the south-east corner of Greenfield Reservoir and crossed the dam to reach the far bank.

Looking up the valley I watched two climbers scaling the formidable tower of gritstone rock, known as the Trinacle. The sound of their clanging ironmongery drifted down the valley on the still air.

As the setting sun bathed the valley’s upper, west facing slopes, in a blanket of orange light, I turned south and headed along the wide track, below Bill o’ Jacks plantation. Named after a 19th century pub which once stood close by, on the Saddleworth to Holmfirth Road, it was the scene of a most gruesome murder.

At the end of the track I dropped down the path and continued along the shores of Dove Stone Reservoir, as a pair of ducks escorted their young brood along the water’s edge. Crossing the dam wall I made my return to the car park to complete what had been a wonderful evening’s stroll in the Chew Valley.