We set off from the main car park at Ladybower resevroir around 0930.
Even then it was getting busy (early September) so you'd be well advised not to leave it too late to set out if you want to do this walk starting at the same place.
Following the road from the car back south, we set off looking for a track on the right hand side of the road which would take us up onto the tops of west side of the valley that is home to Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs.
Just before the cattle grid, here is our path. We could park in the parking bay here, but that would mean going uphill at the end of the walk. As it turns out, that was the right decision!
Navigation note : If you get to the war memorial, you've missed the path!
The path gets a bit steep in places and rough under foot, but this is perhaps the best path we'll see until we descend back to the waters edge towards the end of todays hike.
Eventually the warm sheltered path emerges from the woods to a couple of gates. If you feel like extending the walk you could go left and visit Crook Hill. This time we didn't, turning right through the gate to head North West sees the landscape open up with lovely views across valleys.
We continued in a roughtly NW direction across Open Hagg alongside the woodland.
As with a lot of the Peak District walks we've done, the path was clear so navigation was not difficult, just follow either the path or the edge of the woodland to the next gateway.
Having crossed through the gate we have a choice. One path heads up hill and onto a defined path along the ridge. Option 2 was to follow the road downhill.
We took option two, the plan was to split off the road onto a footpath that would climb the hill a bit further on. This may have been a mistake!
As the road progresses it passes underneath a couple of rocky cliffs. First Bellhag Tor then Pastur Tor, the second of which is roughly where the road deviates from our intended path, the start point for which is handily marked by a style to get over the wall.
Here is the first point where the walk gets a bit...interesting!
The OS map we were using (OL1) appeared to show a path to follow up to the top of the hill.
We picked up what seemed to be a path, could just have been a sheep track, but it was heading in the right direction so follow it we did. According to the map this track would vear off to the right to head up hill to rejoin the main path along the ridge. Either that track no longer exists or we simply missed it, either way we ended up taking a less steep route up the side of the valley. While it was less steep that planned route it certainly wasn't easier as without a path we found ourselves picking through that rough tussocky grass you only seem to find on moorland.
It was a hard climb through rough terrain, dodging a couple of bogs, but we made our way up to the path along the top of the valley a bit further along than originally planned.
We were rewarded with a lovely view across Rowlee Pasture.
It's now back to simple Peak District navigation as we follow the well defined (but wet in places) track to Alport Castles.
Alport Castles is a rock formation caused by a large landslip at some point in history leaving behind some quite dramatic formations of rock and cliffs.
Having arrived at Alport Castles, we once again had a choice. To the right was a steep descent back down to the Upper Derwent Reservoir. Straight ahead was a trig point that was an obvious target for hill baggers. To the trig point! It's only a few miles further. However after the first mile of the path slowly getting worse and being battered by some very string winds coming up through the valley it quickly became apparent wasn't to be any ordinary couple of of miles.
Once we crossed a couple of shallow fords, the path had all but gone. Determine to reach the trig point, this was a good point to take a bearing to follow to the trig point. Good job we always carry map and compass for just this sort of situation. Viewranger on the mobile phone is great for checking position and easy navigation, it will never completely replace a map and compass.
Can you see the path? Apparently it leads straight to the trig point.
We made it to the trig point and I'm glad we did. Rather windy, not a person in sight for miles and a lovely bleak outlook.
Having managed to pick out way through a kilometer of wet boggy ground to the trig point, it was time to make the return journey to Alport castles. For some reason the route back to Alport Castles felt somewhat easier to navigate through the bog than on the way out.
After a short lunch break at Alport Castles we started our descent down to the Upper Derwent Reservoir.
The track here took us down a steep slope between the grouse butts. Tough on the knees and quads, I was grateful for having my walking poles with me. As much as we can look overprepared at times, they are invaluable on steep ascents/descents or simply when tired.
After what felt like a descent that went on and on, we eventually hit the bottom of the track. Turned right towards the reservoir and then right again to follow the road back to the car park.
This is where the pain starts. I have 2 pairs of boots, fabric boots for dryer, well laid paths and leather Scarpa boots for wet and boggy ground. I was wearing the Scarpas today, which meant my feet were well protected across rough ground and through bogs, but I still haven't had a day that involved more than a couple of miles on roads wearing my Scarpas that didn't cause blisters. I'm putting it down to the very rigid sole.
ViewrangerAs well as map and compass, I use Viewranger for navigation but perhaps more importantly in the Peak District where navigation isn't difficult, I use it to track my routes.
The track for this walk ....