Here is a description of an 'A' Party (the most difficult) summer walk. At the same time a (medium) ‘B’ walk (9 miles: 1500 ft. ascent & descent) and a short ‘C’ walk (5 miles) also took place. These are typical of those on offer (although they could be less in winter).
Maps and information of all three walks are circulated during the outward coach journey to help people decide on which one they would like to join.
‘A’ Party Walk
Ladybower (Peak District)
Distance: 13 miles Ascent & Descent: 2100ft.
The walk starts near Ashopton Viaduct on the east bank of the right arm of Ladybower Reservoir. This is one of three major dams built in the valley to provide water to the cities and towns of the North and East Midlands. The Howden and Derwent dams were built between 1901 and 1916: they were finally opened in 1916 by King George V. Lower down Ladybower reservoir was built between 1935 and 1945 and was officially opened by King George VI. Sadly the construction of the dams spelt the end of the existing civilizations in the Derwent Valley. The dams were subject to much controversy as in addition to Derwent Village the valley was also to lose the village of Ashopton.
Walking close to the water’s edge and then woodland we go on to pass what is left of Derwent Village. Later still we walk through a wooded nature trail which contains a series of interesting carvings to reach Fairholmes and its visitor centre. After Fairholmes the route passes in front of the dam wall climbing steps at the side of the right-hand tower to join a bridleway that then hugs the banks of the Derwent Reservoir.
Wheel Stone Rocks Salt Cellar Rock (Derwent Edge)
Eventually the towers of Howden Reservoir come into view but before we reach them our route leaves the main track to make our steepest, though wonderfully spectacular, climb which traces Abbey Brook in the direction of Howden Edge. Soon after the path levels out Lost Lad Hill End and Derwent Edge come into view. Once at Lost Lad Hill End a small climb up a steep path is required until you eventually reach the actual summit of Lost Lad with its large cairn and a toposcope memorial erected by the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers.
Further still the 538M summit of Back Tor has some very impressive grit stone formations and its summit trig point is actually set on top of the rocks. The views from Back Tor are quite unique; there aren't many places in the Peak where you can see so many of its highest features. The Great Ridge, Derwent Valley Reservoirs, Stanage Edge, Bleaklow and Kinder Plateau can be seen from this viewpoint. From Back Tor we head south along the ridge path in the direction of the craggy Derwent Edge passing bizarre looking rocks on the way.
After a few hundred yards from the Wheel Stones rocks the path comes to a cross roads where it meets a bridleway and we take the path which heads forward to Whinstone Lee Tor. A steep descent leads on to a wooded area close to what remains of Ashopton before following a rocky bridleway where at the bottom on the right we will arrive at the Ladybower Inn our final destination