Since our first proper trail run in April, Edward and I have been trail running pretty much every week. Our most recent adventure was a scenic 11-mile run along Ladybower Reservoir and up to Derwent Edge.
The weather has been gorgeous these past few weeks and last Sunday was no exception! The sun was shining and it was quickly getting warmer; with temperatures set to reach 26°C around lunchtime, we decided to hit the road early to try and beat the heat… Or at least most of it.
We left home sleepy-eyed around 7.00 AM and pulled into Cutthroat Bridge Car Park slightly more awake an hour and a half later. The trailhead was a bit further down the road at the junction of Labybower Brook and Highshaw Clough.
We stopped after only a few minutes to take our long sleeves off (it had been a bit chilly when stepping out of the car) – it was going to be a hot one! I started worrying about my asthma – my maimed lungs don’t always cope too well on muggy days and it’s often a source of anxiety – but after checking that Edward knew where to find my inhalers, I decided to push the fear aside. I mean… I can’t stop living, right? Instead of panicking, I busied myself with navigation and making sure we didn’t get lost.
The route took us along the edge of Priddock Wood and through Ladybower Wood, just behind the well-known Ladybower Inn, toward Ashopton. The narrow climbing path soon opened up and veered toward the reservoir, offering stunning views.
We followed a gravelled track along the reservoir for about two miles and to my poor husband’s annoyance, I couldn’t stop turning around to admire the viaduct and Win Hill in the distance.
We finally made it to the bridge crossing Mill Brook and stopped (again) to chat with some mountain bikers and snap a quick #outdoorcouple selfie. Funnily enough, we hiked a very similar route a couple years ago and had paused at the exact same place. I dug the old photo and placed them side by side… It’s amazing to see the difference in our demeanours – we look equally happy, but a lot less naïve and much more self-assured.
Anyway… I digress.
We walked on for a few minutes, trying to find the right path. When we finally found it, it went up, up, up! I struggled with hills in the past year after spending way too much time running on the flats, but I’m starting to enjoy them again… There’s something very satisfying about conquering a steep hill.
This particular hill was a rocky farm track and we had to step aside halfway up to let a couple of farmers through. It gave us a minute to appreciate (and photograph extensively) the, once again, stunning view.
We eventually made it up that hill and paused again, this time to munch on a few Jelly Babies whilst we let through a flock of sheep closely followed by three of the happiest Border Collies I’ve ever seen.
The next four miles or so were rather uneventful; we left the views behind when we reached the moorlands and the landscape all the way up to White Tor was barren. With no more trees to provide us with shade and a little respite from the sun, it got hot very quickly… I’ve never been so thankful for hydration packs! We had started walking a little more, but found back our stride after getting to Lost Lad.
It became a little more interesting when we reached White Tor and the path going all the way down to Whinestone Lee Tor… I love descents. They can be a bit intimidating – especially when the path is rocky or uneven like this one – but that little rush of adrenaline you get as you speed down is part of the fun.
From Whinestone Lee Tor, it was a straight line back to the trailhead and that’s a good thing because the only thing we could think about by then was food. All the food.
We ran roughly 11 miles in 2 hours 40 minutes, which is a rather good time for me. It was also Edward’s longest ever run, so I was very proud of him. Not only did he run all those miles, he did it whilst filming so he could make a vlog out of it!
This is truly the best way to enjoy a sunny Sunday…