Ladybower Lite

For a relatively short route, the Ladybower Lite packs in more than its share of quality riding including the classic descent of Gores Heights, though I thought the final descent from Whinstone Lee Tor to Cuttthroat Bridge better still - one of those 'fast as you dare' type runs down a gently angled and open moorland track, peppered with sufficient obstacles to make life interesting if a poor line is chosen.
Climbing above Ladybower beyond Crook Hill - the track across open pasture leads along the top of Hagg Side, a fast and flowing route which culminates in the descent of Gores Heights...
...but not until the climb past Lockerbrook Farm has been completed.
The descent is fast and furious - no photos!
It is followed by an easy spin along the reservoir before a steep track leads up towards Derwent Edge, on slabs that save the worst and steepest until last.
The barn here provides a welcome and sheltered rest, before the last rocky ascent... a welcome horizontal running beneath White Tor and the wonderfully named Hurkling Stones.
Running parallel to Ladybower's northern arm, a fast stretch leads all too quickly to a final short climb... reach Whinstone Lee Tor.
It is strange in some ways returning to The Peak, an area I have visited only sporadically since the climbing took something of a back seat.
Routes like Tower Face Direct on Stanage - Karl making the crux moves above a poor runner...
...and Legacy on Kinder North - where Paul and I both led the beautiful rising traverse which leads to a wonderfully positioned crux on the arete - remain clear in my mind though it is many years since I have visited the crags here to climb.
I miss the carefree optimism of those days, the intensity and energy that consumed long days on the crag. Then I am reminded of the accidents, the harsh reality of life changing injuries which I avoided while some friends did not. Pushing our grades on grit - and then the wheels of a chair as the morphine wore thin...from torn ligaments to broken backs, the list is sobering - shattered elbows, ankles fused, pins and bolts holding broken was easy once to put aside such fears but eventually, insidiously, the doubts crept in and the game was lost.
I came away with a lifetime of fantastic memories and nothing worse than some painful, prematurely arthritic joints, but as I looked across to the northern end of Stanage I was happy to have discovered new ways of enjoying the life I grew to love through climbing.


Kev Shirtcliffe said…
Great article and lovely photos. Off to do Ladybower myself today.

Good effort!