A Dam Busters Walk and A Damn Good Lunch

Our younger son lives in Sheffield so we arranged to go Christmas Shopping (with a difference) together today. We met up at The Ladybower Inn then headed to a small car park beside the upper part of Ladybower Reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District National Park.

Ladybower2

Lovely Ladybower

There are good paths along the edge of the ‘lake’ and there’s a visitor centre and cafe and other facilities at the northern end of the reservoir.

Dambuster books

A Selection of Dam Busters Books in the Visitors Centre

From there it’s a bit of a climb up to the Upper Derwent Reservoir where the ‘Dam Busters’ trained and practiced their low level flying during the Second World War.

Upper Derwent Reservoir

The Upper Derwent Reservoir

Derwent Dam and Sign

Note the Derwent Dam (very loud!) in the background

Derwent reservoir was used by the RAF’s Dambusters to practise their low level flying techniques during 1943, in preparation for delivering Barnes Wallis’ famous ‘bouncing bombs’ to German dams. Located in the West Tower of the Derwent Valley Dam is the Derwent Dam (617 Squadron) Museum which houses a collection of memorabilia dedicated to the famous Dams Raid carried out by 617 “Dambusters” Squadron.

Dam Museum

Dam Busters Memorial

Dam Buster’s Memorial

It includes photographs and other material covering all aspects of the Dams Raid, including details of the training flights carried out by 617 Squadron over the Derwent Dam and material relating to the film “The Dambusters” starring Richard Todd as Guy Gibson, made in 1954. There is also an example of the famous “Bouncing Bomb”, which forms the centrepiece of the museum’s display. Opening times are 10.00am to 4.00pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays only.” 

[from http://www.derbyshireuk.net/derwentvalley_reservoirs.html website]

West Tower

The Museum is housed in the West Tower

The museum was closed as our visit was on a Saturday but definitely worth a return visit. We climbed up to the see the West Tower and were intrigued to see a memorial to a loyal dog nearby.

TIP Memorial

The Memorial to faithful Tip

Our walk continued on the eastern side of the reservoir past a National Trust owned farm but only too soon it was time to turn back to the cars. N often runs right round Ladybower: a total of 11km including the additional 2 km to and from the car park at the Ladybower Inn. But the days are short at this time of year and we hadn’t even started our shopping.

Old House Farm

Old House Farm

So, back at the cars we headed for Hathersage and the lovely Country Shop at David Mellor’s Round Building. I also recommend the Cafe where we had fresh warm soup and chunky bread for our late lunch. There’s also a Design Museum showcasing David Mellor’s work within the building.

Design Museum

The David Mellor Design Museum (yes, those are his traffic lights!) and Café

By 4 o’clock it was dark and time to head back up the M1 to Leeds. Yesterday the weather was icy and  freezing cold (-3C)  but with typical British contrariness today the temperature hit 8C. I’m glad I was able to make the journey without any hitches. It was well worth the trip. I hope the recipients enjoy their gifts. We certainly enjoyed shopping for them!!

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6 comments on “A Dam Busters Walk and A Damn Good Lunch

  1. Wonderful post! I’m intrigued by the lost villages on the sign. Any info on what that’s all about?

  2. Ooh, I’ve been there! I camped and walked there ever such a long time ago (pre-Daughters, so it must be well over 25 years) and it all looks exactly as I remember – it was such a beautiful area. We saw Little John’s tomb at Hathersage, We were told that sometimes you can hear the church bells ringing beneath the waters of the reservoir, but it’s the kind of story that is always told about drowned villages.

  3. Well I have camped there too and it was dull and wet and I think we came home sooner rather than later, but The Dambusters my most favourite film, just have to hear the music and I well up.

    • I think I’ve only watched the film once but, yes, the opening music is very evocative. The story of camping in this country, really – dull and wet and we came home sooner rather than later …

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