3rd June 2016
Last time I was in Dovedale I was having to make do without my preferred 18-55mm lens. It had given up life a week beforehand in the extreme weather on Striding Edge, and I was in the process of taking it apart to see if I could unjam its stuck aperture. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to fix the lens, in fact it still sits in pieces on my desk, and I admitted that it was time to retire it and buy a replacement. Equipped with my new lens, I headed back to Dovedale, hoping that I’d be able to capture some of the atmosphere that the valley holds.
Dovedale is a really surprising place to visit as the dramatic crags and caves keep getting increasingly more impressive as you walk. There’s several large open caves at the north end of the valley, but it’s as you get into the middle of Dovedale that you find the most stunning rock formations. Ilam Rock is a thin sliver of rock that stands at around 80 feet. From the side it has a thin profile and leans over, almost as if it is going to fall into the river. Further down the dale, the impressive Reynard’s Cave and natural arch dominate the eastern hillside. Gigantic rock sculptures like these feel so alien in the Peak District landscape, and provide a great subject or backdrop for a photograph.
This walk took me about half way down from the northern end of the valley, but I’ve also been to the southern side, crossing the stepping-stones and climbing Thorpe Cloud. This still leaves around a third of the dale that I haven’t yet explored, and I’m excited to see what’s in store the next time I go back