“This is a hallelujah, I’m happy to be alive”
These were the words that followed me as I walked the scenic 12-mile route from Ladybower reservoir, to Derwent Dam and up onto Bamford Edge. Being alone in nature feels like breathing for the first time, peace and stillness wash over me in waves with each step I take. I walked slowly, gazing with childlike wonder at every detail of the beauty around me, medicated by the music in my ears and filled with joy.
The reservoir was the lowest I’ve ever seen it. The plugholes stood proud above the water and the arches beneath the brides protruded higher than ever. But the lazy afternoon sun still shimmered across the rippling current, as I stood on the bridge smiling at the view below.
The walk takes you into the trees, and it feels like you’re momentarily lost in a forest before you re-emerge to be greeted by a rolling landscape. Even through my headphones I could hear the birds singing in the branches above. Have you ever experienced it, when you’re walking and listening to music, and the world around you seems to move in time with the melody? There was a beautiful moment where a butterfly fluttered past me, in a blur of orange and red, and the beat of its’ wings matched perfectly with the piano chords I was listening to. It happened a few times, and I couldn’t help but smile to myself.
The reservoir covers a ‘lost village’ that’s usually deep under the water, yet due to the low rainfall it was exposed. It was fascinating to see walls, stairs, full buildings, rubble and ruins that are usually completely covered. It’s such an interesting piece of history, and I love that I was able to see it during my walk.
Derwent Dam was also completely dry. The wall that’s usually rushing with a cascading waterfall stood proud and silent. But it wasn’t any less impressive, as it towered high above me in the light of the evening sun.
I walked slowly, allowing my imagination to run away with itself and get completely lost in the moment. Usually I would be updating my ‘story’ on instagram, to show the world where I was, but since I’m currently taking a break, that wasn’t an option. It was so refreshing to think that nobody knew where I was, or what I was experiencing. It meant I was completely focused on the present moment, and not on views/likes online. I realised in a moment of clarity that when you remove the need for likes and recognition, you regain passion. And as I snapped away with my camera, I relished how much I was enjoying the simplicity of photography again. It was so joyous to explore and capture those moments of beauty without the weight of expectation or recognition on my shoulders.
There was a wonderful moment where the sunlight reflected off the water and caught my attention through the trees. I stood watching the ripples of light on the water and the glint of the rays through the leaves. It was so bright that when I closed my eyes, all I could see was pure white light. I just melted into the moment, transported by the music and wonder. When I opened my eyes, there were three squirrels in front of me, chasing each other round the large trunk of a nearby tree. I think I laughed out loud as I watched them playing together. I had to tear myself away, it was such a peaceful moment that I didn’t want to leave.
I walked a little further and spotted a hare in one of the fields nearby. At first it looked like a log because it was so well camouflaged against the browning grass. But then its’ little ears perked up as it heard my footsteps approaching, and it leapt into action, pausing just long enough for my to take a photo before it hopped away and out of sight.
At around 18:30 I was eager to make the climb up to Bamford Edge to catch the setting sun before it sank below the hilly horizon. I followed a footpath that quickly vanished, meaning I had to take a different route and I ended up climbing up the steep hill on all fours! I felt like I was rock climbing as I navigated large boulders and pulled myself up onto sharp ledges! Eventually I made it up to the top and watched the sun as it disappeared. I sat on the famous rock overlooking ladybower and soaked in the moment and the joy of just being alive and free.
Once the sun had set, it was a race against the clock to navigate the rocky path back to the road before darkness set in. I ended up walking back along the country road with the light of my phone for guidance, as I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face!