This is it. Our first outing of 2011 and PCs first outing with her new hip. From now on she should be named BW (Bionic Woman) but perhaps she needs more body parts replacing for that, so we'll keep her as she is
Giddy with excitement we clamber into my car at PCs house and set off for Ladybower; me driving and relying on her navigational skills. Hmm.
An interesting drive which seems to take in all the back roads of Sheffield eventually leads us down to the reservoir complex, and we soon turn off the A57 onto the familiar road beside Ladybower and Derwent. At this point PC remembers to stop navigating.
We park in the familiar spot next to the cattle grid, quickly boot up, PC dons her new, posh coat (mine is my old, grubby one) and we are soon walking. For the time of year we're doing very well with the weather, considering how much snow and ice we've had so far this winter. Today it is positively mild and although the sun isn't shining the smattering of raindrops are only half-hearted and soon give up.
We've decided to keep the walk short(ish) and flat(ish) to give the new hip a gentle introduction to our outdoor pursuits. This path running along the side of Ladybower reservoir stays close to the water and undulates only gently. It also has the benefit of a number of benches for us to take a rest and enjoy the views.
It is so good to be out again. It seems ages since our last walk, but we are soon back into the old routine; plenty to talk about and lots to see. Up on the opposite hills, beneath Derwent Edge, there are still remnants of snow, and we even see some ice clinging to the edges of the reservoir.
We pause when we find a suitable bench and enjoy our first cup of coffee. Why does it always taste better out of a flask and in the open?
Suitably refreshed we press on but soon come to the steps leading down to the exposed pipes. PC says they will be no problem, and proves it to be so using her mantra of 'bad down to hell and good up to heaven'. (She means legs, by the way.) We pause on a bench where the trees open out affording a good view across the reservoir before setting off again.
A little way further and we stop to look back down the length of the reservoir just as the sun peeps out to illuminate the distant green hills. A superb photo opportunity, making it look more spring-like than wintry. After the photo PC decides that it's time to turn back, so we return the way we came, pleased at how far we've managed to come.
It's time for lunch (just) so we revisit our last stopping spot and fetch out the sandwiches and coffee. And being our walk we have to have bun too. Big, fat choux buns full of thick, fresh cream. Well, it is a long time since we were last out and the diet can start tomorrow.
The sun is trying to shine as we walk back, but it probably only manages an E for effort as it doesn't quite break through the clouds. Not that it bothers us much. Again we dip down past the huge water pipes and up the other side. There is a suitably positioned bench at the top of the slope and PC makes use of it for a breather.
We're on the last stretch now and we see more walkers out enjoying the respite from the cold. We pause to listen as PC thinks she's heard a helicopter, then we realise that it must be the sound of the water cascading over the dam.What a pity we can't see it.
There is just enough time for another photograph before we head up the gentle slope to the road and the car park.
It hasn't been far, and it hasn't been adventurous, but it has been brilliant to be out again. And as a first walk with the new hip 'the girl done good'. By summer, who knows what we'll be able to achieve