Falling into Autumn: Swimspot Gallery

Updated: Sep 28

PHOTOS & WORDS | Eva Pyrah

Eva takes us with her to one of her favourite swimming spots, Slippery Stones. Part of the early River Derwent, it flows into Howden Reservoir, in the North of the Peak District.

I don't remember the first time I visited this pool but I do know it left a lasting impression on me.

When I think about my favourite swims, more often than not, they're in this spot. I've spent hours walking the paths around here. I've also spent hours walking through heather and bogs, not lost, but certainly not following a path either, yet always aiming to complete the wanderings with a swim at Slippery Stones.

Visiting this valley so often through the years, I've loved being able to see time change the landscape; watching the colours move from greens to browns, the variety of birds that come and go, leaves and fungi, all alive, constantly altering.

The scenery is always different, but the hills are solid and constant; the outline is still familiar, you are immersed in everything around you.

The water is peaty but clear, in bright sun the light shines golden through the water on to the slippery stones beneath (that rightly gives this place its name).

It's a deep pool that always has a chill, and it always makes me giddy. That post swim euphoria, combined with the stunning landscape and whatever hot drink you can find, will never let you down.

The bikes have accompanied us a couple of times up here now.

Starting just before the Fairholmes Visitors centre, the undulating road beside the reservoirs is a gentle roller coaster with a delight of sights at every bend. The wind wasn't strong on this visit but we could hear it whirring through the branches and sun lit leaves.

I'm more of a road cyclist, so this is the perfect tarmac route, with great trees one side, water the other, and cars are very few and far between. Once you've reached the top and gotten your cold water high, the next section is a bit less smooth. Coming back, there's no tarmac, making things a little more interesting. I'm quite new to this off-road stuff so I think this is a great area to get used to a new side of riding.

Our walk here was slow and wonderful, a while since the last ride. After a tough period of time that I'd not been for a long adventure because of some knee injuries. It was a steady walk on a cold and sunny day, the bright orange leaves stealing all my attention. I had a long swim followed by lots of shivering and teeth-chattering. I swear the sun always shines here, it's my favourite place because I leave feeling so alive and rejuvenated every time I visit. We stopped at the Strines Inn on the way home for another coffee and to try see the resident peacocks.



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