New Year, New Idea to Explore Closer to Home
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Travel destination: UK

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Today is New Year’s Day, the day of the “New Year, New Me” rubbish! I’ve never been one to make new year’s resolutions… if I want to change something about myself then I’ll do it, why do I need to wait for the changing of a year to do so??

But this year I have decided to do something a little different… not as a consequence of the passing of another year, but after talking with a friend and realising that while I love travelling, I rarely explore what’s on my own doorstep.

Living in Leeds I am surrounded by some the best countryside in the UK, if not the world, and it’s shameful how little I have explored here. So, this is less of a new year’s resolution, and more a decision to take time out from the everyday humdrum of work and chores that can so easily fill life, open my eyes, and enjoy what’s around me (little did I know at the time of writing this the coronavirus lockdown would mean this was the only travel I’d be able to do for a while!)

The only question is… where do I go?? Usually before I travel anywhere, I do loads of research to find out where to go and what to see, but sat at home, with my car waiting outside, I have no idea! Checking Google maps and the ever-reliable Leeds List website, I finally choose to head to Woodhead Reservoir, with a drive across Holme Moss… the highest point of the Peak District in Yorkshire.

The first stop in the sat nav is Holme (to make sure I take the scenic route), but before I reach there, coming over the crest of a hill, I see a lake glistening in the sunlight. This is far too close to be Woodhead Reservoir, but the view is amazing, and so I decide to stop to take some photos.

Missing a turning and a parking spot to my right, I end up getting stuck in traffic between parked cars and dog walkers heading down to the edge of the reservoir. All of the other cars seem to be turning right to cross the reservoir, so I take a left and head back up into the hills instead.

Following the road for a short while, I come to the same right turn and parking spot I missed earlier, and so pull in this time. The view from the top of the hill is worth the unexpected detour and stop, and after checking Google, I discover it’s Digley Reservoir that I’ve stumbled across.

Walking along the road to take some shots, I meet some sheep who are very interested in the strange guy taking their photo, and then I go down the towards the edge of the reservoir becoming one of the annoying people now blocking the road. After a few more photos (and hearing an argument breaking out between a driver and a dog walker) I go back to my car to continue my drive to Woodhead.

Navigating my way through the crowds, I start to head up towards Holme Moss and over the peak to Derbyshire. On the way up the low hanging clouds are within touching distance, and I can’t help stopping again to take some photos of the TV aerial towering over the gloomy looking clouds I’m just about to drive into.

After a few more minutes of driving I’m now fully enveloped by the clouds… it’s like night-time has descended and the temperature outside has plummeted! I stop again to take a photo, although not much can be seen, and I don’t hang around for long as it’s now freezing!

Next up is my destination… Woodhead Reservoir. Coming back down the hills and out of the clouds the view opens up again to a beautiful sight of the reservoir. However, with me driving a bit too fast to stop in time, I miss the photo opportunity. I’ll have to come back the same way and go a little bit slower on the way back up!

Pulling into the reservoir car park I keep hearing loud bangs, and due to the fast driving on the bumpy country roads, am slightly worried it’s my car! Surely I haven’t broken my exhaust or suspension on the drive here?! Getting out of the car I realise the bangs are shotguns coming from the surrounding hills… while relieved, I hope its clay pigeon shooting…

This side of Holme Moss is colder and a lot cloudier than the Yorkshire side, so after a few snaps I’m back in the car. One final stop at the lay-by I missed earlier, and I head home, thinking it’s been a decent first outing of the year.

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