Moving on up, we're moving on up, moving on up ...
The path from the Jumbles Reservoir led me uphill. After crossing the main road it led through a one person wide tunnel under the railway, across a muddy field and then into the woods up the hill. At this point the path became almost indistinguishable from the rest of the wood. But that was fine. The way forward lay at the top so getting lost would have been difficult. Difficult but not impossible. I have a talent for getting lost even when closely following a map. I once got lost on a mountain ridge. With only one logical choice for my route to get down. Yet I found myself in totally the wrong place, half way down a wet bank in thick clouds, knackered, and not knowing quite how I got there. If only I had carried a camera back then - the Carneddau are beautiful even in cloud. Is it always cloudy on the Carneddau? Probably not, but I never once had a view from the summits of Llewellyn and Dafydd.
That was a day ten years ago. I had carried a decent OS map and a compass. If only I had remembered to use them before striding out confidently from the summit towards a handy cairn, just visible through the gloom. If only. It's okay. No one died! I got it sorted and eventually found my way out of the clouds and down to the falls above Abergwyngregyn. Hey, they get a mention in my blog two posts in a row.
On my reservoir walk I journeyed without useful navigation tools. All I had was a single sheet of A4 paper with some printed directions and a rough outline map with a route line across it. My outline map showed the relative positions of the three reservoirs I was visiting. But not much more. So far the directions hadn't led me astray. That would come later, just as an added bonus before finishing the walk.
The woods let out into open country and the warmth of the sunlight. The route crossed fields before leading onto a track. The views were good, the air felt good on my face, the light made me smile and it was too hot for a jumper. Yeah, life was excellent. I had to feel a bit sorry for my friend. I had a conversation with her via WhatsApp while I stood and looked at the view. She was stuck at work. A necessary thing but I would much prefer to be in open countryside than stuck in a workroom in Manchester.
The view speaks for itself, even in photo form, which can never compare with the reality - even when people are clever with lighting and have super-snazzy cameras and then edit their photos carefully and fiddle with colour and contrast and everything else. I'm afraid my pictures aren't like that. They're all just point and click with a pretty cheap phone camera that I hadn't learned to use. None of the pictures in this post have been edited in any way. Not even a bit of judicious cropping.
These pictures won't win awards. Nevertheless, some shots from the track:
Eventually the track descended back down to the road and from there it was just a short walk down to my third reservoir of the day, the Turton and Entwistle Reservoir. The dam at the end of the reservoir was once the highest in Britain. The water flows out and down to Wayoh Reservoir - the first I had visited - and then on to Jumbles Reservoir - the second reservoir of the day.
More pictures. The path round Turton and Entwistle feels very different to the route round the other reservoirs. Maybe it's due to the tall forest rising up around most of the lake. Maybe it's due to the entire path being flat and very well made up. Maybe it's due to the bigger car park and the popularity of the place. Maybe it's just that my unfit legs were getting tired and hoped that they would be back at the railway station soon. Whatever the reason, it was a contrasting experience.
A couple of reservoir views. I think six months on I'd probably take slightly different photos.
Quiz. What types of evergreen trees are native to the UK?
This reservoir felt large because I was tired. But it isn't really very big. The water in Kielder Water would fill the Turton and Entwistle Reservoir nearly thirty times and my entire walk length that day was a couple of miles less than the length of the perimeter of Kielder. Next year I must see if there's any way I can get to Kielder. It's tantalisingly close to home but public transport is almost non-existent and we have no car. Does anyone want to volunteer to take me out walking there?
Now. I had a choice. Should I continue to follow the reservoir path? A nice, flat, easy, well made path. A path that led to another easy path through the wood and back to the railway station. A path I could follow with no difficulty whatsoever. All I had to do was to cross one of the bridges over the stream feeding the reservoir. And then follow that easy path. That's all. God in his infinite wisdom had given me a second chance to be sensible knowing that it was unlikely that I'd be sensible straight away.
The first bridge was large. The second smaller. Here's Blob Thing sitting on it. He was trying to tell me to be sensible. He said, "We've got to cross this bridge so we might as well follow the obvious path." Would I listen to my friend? Of course not. The directions on my piece of A4 paper didn't say to follow the reservoir path. They said to cross the bridge and turn left. Head up into the hills again. I had my directions and I had to follow them no matter what a reasonable soft toy was telling me.
My route - our route - rose steeply along an obvious path. It then became less obvious. It then became invisible. I stood in the fields and all I knew was that I had to get to a stile I couldn't see. Somewhere in the rough direction of over there. Did I just go back down to the reservoir and follow the sensible route? Of course not.
I would persevere. My route directions governed me.
My route directions had guided me well. But now they didn't. Now they became quite useless and my map was of no use.
I made it though. To that stile. Across mud. Across bog. Across the unknown. It wasn't at all pleasant. But I made it to that stile. Success.
The path then led downhill from that stile.
Back to the reservoir.
About a hundred yards from the bridge.
From there it was an easy stroll along the remainder of the water - I walked most of the three mile perimeter - and up to the station.
Entwistle request stop. It's not the busiest of places.
The walk was over. And I was happy.
We arrived back at the Manchester home and sat back on the sofa. Content.
We rested and gave ourselves three rewards:
Tea. Cake. And memories.