Dove Stones – keeping the festive tradition alive

In recent years the festive season has been marked thus: a ‘stolen day’ on Christmas Day when the other half and I get the chance to spend some time together, juggling various family commitments, making a festive pie and other ‘delights’ from leftovers, riding my bike as much as possible and getting into the hills (all the rest permitting).

The latter usually comprises some grand plan in the Peak or Lakes with an overnight camp. However, the weather and other commitments invariably get in the way and I settle for a trip around Dove Stones reservoir. Every year I grumble to myself that this is second best, every year it seems to offer something new. Continue reading

The importance of being early

The alarm clock warbled and I stealthily left the bedroom, trying to avoid disturbing the other half.

My clothes were laid out in the office, camera packed and ready. I carefully closed the front door, avoided slamming the car door and made good my escape.

I was only dropping down to my usual haunt… Dove Stones. The light had been fantastic yesterday and I didn’t want to miss out. I’d hopefully have the hills to myself for a precious couple of hours before the cry of the curlew was drowned out by quarrelling kids. Continue reading

A dirty day getting high

…not literally getting high, of course, although some of you may feel I’m in need of a little lift after last week’s litter rant.

View above Ashway Gap, Dove Stones Reservoir

Saturday was gloomy and the conditions were affecting my mood. I couldn’t face another day pottering around the house, doing odd jobs and punctuating my day with the grunts and groans of yet more physio exercise.

Bugger it: I needed to get out and stretch my creaking limbs. Continue reading

Something to make your blood boil: trash trails

One can get into troublesome territory when contemplating a rant… there’s a danger that you’ll plummet into a pit of sanctimony or open a can of worms that crawl around your conscious and compromise other attempts at blogging debate in future.

Dove Stones Reservoir complex

I’m on relatively safe ground here, though.

I live in the densely populated urban fringe, bordering the spartan northern Peak District and South Pennines. I’m lucky to have such great hillwalking, mountain biking and road cycling on my doorstep.

However, maybe it’s my age or just a general lack of tolerance these days, but I find myself increasingly angered by the level of rubbish that can be found in the upland areas near my home.

Continue reading

Back on top

High above Dovestones Reservoir in the sunshine Here’s somewhere I haven’t been for a while… high on the moors.

OK, so it wasn’t Edale. I had a bit of a problem with my old (not so) faithful motor so I kept things local over the weekend and went back to Dovestones Reservoir.

Nevertheless, it was good to give the legs and lungs a proper workout again, not to mention the back.

I’m pleased to say that all was well. I’ve lost quite a bit of fitness, no doubt, but my strength has returned. It was all rather wonderful and almost prompted one of those zipadee-dooh-dah moments.

I managed to hold back.Lone birch tree, Dovestones

Next time I will take the walking poles and might even risk the pack.

And today I had some more good news. I’ve been ‘discharged’ from regular weekly sessions with my physio and now will be having the occasional check up (assuming there are no other problems).

This is a significant milestone and I am delighted.

Although I’ve held back on detail here, it has been a pretty ropey three months or so and my back condition has been one of many woes.

Let’s hope my luck is on the turn… good health, after all, is the most important thing.

Thanks to those who have sent good wishes in the comments section while I’ve been working through all this… they have been much appreciated.



Walking tall… nearly

Dove Stones Reservoir, Oldham I went for a walk today… not far, just around Dovestones.

The significance of this lunchtime stroll was two-fold: the weather was superb and I could put one foot in front of the other without searing pain shooting down my right leg.

It felt fantastic and I walked (almost limp free) with the fanfare from Rocky trumpeting in my ears!

What to do…

The weather may have caused plenty of disruption last week, but the duricrust of windblown snow gave the hills of Saddleworth mountain-like qualities on Saturday.

The slopes glistened in the winter sun and folk were out… sledging, skiing, horse riding and, of course, walking. Indeed, I saw one chap trudging through the streets to Dove Stones reservoir decked out in winter gear and armed with two, yes two, ice axes.

Despite these wonderful conditions, I needed to test my back on the bike and got 40 miles in on thankfully clear roads.

High up on the pass to Holmfirth, the hummocky peat had been covered with a meringue of fluted snow ridges – like mini, white barchan dunes.

It was beautiful, and although I didn’t have a camera with me to do the vista justice (just a poxy phone), the experience was sufficiently vivid.