The roads leading to Bolsterstone had been completely clear that morning, but sitting in my car waiting for the others to arrive, it started snowing quite heavily, causing some anxiety – would we end up getting stuck here? But as the group set off from Bolsterstone, heading north across fields towards the outskirts of Stocksbridge, the weather gradually improved, with the low mist clearing [and by lunchtime at Underbank reservoir patches of blue sky were appearing]. The way through the housing estate was successfully navigated [often a challenge with an un-recce’d walk] leading to easy walking along straight-forward paths and quiet lanes to the reservoir [with the biggest outflow we all agreed we’d ever seen]. At the currently closed Outdoor Activity Centre, with its climbing wall and high aerial wire and trapeze, we left the reservoir and headed south, gradually climbing to Wind Hill Knoll with views out to wild moorland. Gemma’s dog Lance was allowed to indulge his favourite activity – energetically digging mole hills [no moles were hurt in this exercise!] Another brief bit of road-walking, with the unexpected hazard of a whizzing grit-spreader, but the reward of dramatic and clear views over the Ewden valley, and a signpost reassuringly informing us of our way back towards Bolsterstone. After a brief stop for drinks in a particularly beautiful wood, we joined the track leading to Heads Lane, with a minor diversion to a somewhat anatomically inaccurate snow-woman [!] and then a trig point, as a cold sleety wind started blowing, so a good time to complete this 7 mile walk.
Thank you all for your excellent company, and I’m sure this less well-known area will be visited again soon [it was less than 1/2 hour drive from my house in Sheffield],