27 January 2022

Dammed

Ten miles west of this keyboard, you reach The Derwent Valley. Once it was a river in its early stages travelling from the Pennine moors south towards Derby. But cities need water and so in years gone by The River Derwent was dammed - not just once but three times to hold back many millions of gallons Adam's ale. Three vast reservoirs were created - Ladybower, Derwent and Howden. When the ambitious engineering project was finally completed, King George VI arrived to plant an oak tree. That was on September 25th 1947.

Today I needed a good, long walk and for some reason hit upon The Derwent Valley which I have visited many times before. I parked Clint where the road ends by The King's Tree and set off on a nine mile circuit that took me almost exactly four hours. I walked the length of Howden and Derwent reservoirs then back up the other side.

At the point where I turned north, I noticed that water was lapping over the Derwent dam plunging down into Ladybower. In addition, I noticed that water board men were chopping and burning unwelcome undergrowth close to the dam's west tower. The rising smoke seemed to mingle quite dramatically with the clouds above and indeed with the excess water frothing over the dam wall.

Naturally, I snapped some pictures before carrying on. I was weary by the time I got back to Clint and very happy to guzzle water from the flask I had left in his boot (American: trunk). "What kept you so damned long?" Clint smirked.

31 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, Clint did smirk.

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  2. That's a dam long walk but you took some dam good photos:)

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    1. Here's another meaning of "dam" - "late Middle English (denoting a human mother): alteration of dame".

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  3. Sad that these dams interrupted so much of the natural life ...fish habitat for one.

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    1. Long ago salmon would have made it to the head of that river.

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  4. 9 miles! I started daily walking again today and barely managed 2 miles. At least it felt like 2. We measure kilometres here so I'll have to check the street directory and do some addition. I know 3.2km is 2 miles, but I don't remember how long the streets are that I walked on.
    I love your photos, those dams are huge and magnificent. Australia could use a few of those the capture the annual floodwaters in Queensland and maybe pipe it around the country to drier states that need it but don't get it.

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    1. You could suggest that to your member of parliament.

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    2. As if they'd listen. Suggestions towards this are regularly (well, often) printed on the "Letters to the Editor" page of our newspaper.

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  5. Superb pictures!
    You went walking for four hours and did not take your water bottle along? O.K. and I would have packed sarnies, water and a bar of chocolate into our rucksacks for that. I love those breaks during walks; they mark the half-way point or a particular nice view for us. But of course in winter we cut short on that, as it is too cold to stop for long, and often too wet to sit anywhere.
    (We have been known to occasionally carry a bottle of rosé wine and two glasses with us, too, but this is more a summer thing.)

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    1. I had a big swig of water before setting off and halfway round sat on a bench for five minutes while I ate my apple.

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  6. They are very impressive structures close up. Disturbingly, I often imagine those concrete walls suddenly crumbling and all that pent up water bursting forth.

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    1. That certainly crosses my mind too but I am as brave as a knight of old.

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  7. No short detour to the Ladybower Inn half way round?

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    1. I didn't circle Ladybower - just Howden and Derwent.

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  8. Spectacular photos YP - well worth the nine miles you walked.
    After your mention of the King's Oak tree, for one horrible moment, when I saw the smoke rising in the second photo, I thought you were going to tell us that they'd chopped the tree down and were burning it!

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    1. That would have been an act of treason! God Save The King!

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  9. I've watched too many dam wall failures on YT to appreciate your photo.

    Very interesting cloud and mist formations.

    Do Derwent pencils come from Derwent?

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    1. No. Derwent pencils come from Keswick in The Lake District.

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  10. Beautiful photos. I'm tired just reading about it, but I'm joining the local gym today so may catch up with you in mileage some time!

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    1. I hope you make good use of your gym membership. Will you have a personal trainer called Sven?

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  11. Those dams are quite dramatic, especially up close.

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  12. Well that is dramatic as can be!

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  13. I can't think of the last time I have seen a dam overflow on the face itself. Here the practice is through pipes or concrete channels off to one side.

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    1. Well, I will be dammed! In very wet periods the water really comes surging over that dam. It was opened in 1916.

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  14. AHH ... - very confused as here in the North East Derwent reservoir is another one on a different river Derwent!

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  15. I had not thought about it until Ed said it, but he is correct on it. The gates are opened and closed to allow the water flow to be controlled here at our dam. When a child was lost in the river, they shut the channels to drop the water level until the child was found. In flood times, the controlled release allows the water to be held back and released in steady measure to prevent flooding down stream.

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  16. I bet you were very thirsty after that long walk, viewing all that water. Did you take a photo of The King's Tree?

    Impressive photos. Seeing the water pouring over reminds me of a spillway.

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