Dovedale In The Rain

We visited Dovedale today for the first time in quite a while.

As we just felt like getting out for a little while, we weren't planning on stopping long. As it went, we ended up spending 3 hours there, and ended up getting very wet in the process!

Although the weather has been very wet around the area recently, when we arrived it was cloudy but dry. It was obvious that it had rained heavily, as the river Dove had breached its banks - as it often does in this location. It was so bad, that on the walk to the stepping stones there were sections of the path submerged under a few inches of water. While other people walked higher up the embankment to avoid this (which was a bit pointless given that these same people then crossed the stones, some of which were also submerged!), we took the opportunity to be a little silly and playful, and kicked the water all over each other! We had our waterproofs on though, so while people looked at us as though we'd gone mad, we knew better.

© Image courtesy of Alan Shenton
This is how Dovedale looked today. These steps were refurbished in 2010, much to the annoyance of a lot of people. The National Trust and Derbyshire County Council capped the original stones with limestone slabs. I can understand why people were annoyed, as it did drastically alter the character of the existing stones. That being said, it has made them a lot safer for those who use them to cross (except on days like today!). Previously, the steps were quite badly worn, at differing levels, and rather dangerous. In the picture above though, the weather is once again starting to take its toll on the stones. There is one which is partially worn and submerged on the right of this photo, and a couple to the left. The water was high enough that we were knee deep when we got to the other side!

Here I am posing in the middle, whilst keeping an eye on the flow up river to make sure I'm not going to be washed away!

© Image courtesy of Alan Shenton
Here is Anneka on the stone to the left (on the picture) of the one I was stood on.

© Image courtesy of Alan Shenton
It wasn't all fun and games though... As always with any outdoor tourist destination, there is always at least one person who either comes unprepared or acts like an idiot. Today, there were two and they brought one of their dogs. The two 'intellectually challenged' individuals thought it would be hilarious to run backwards and forwards over the stones - whilst taking it in turns to give each other a piggyback ride. Eventually they realised that people were getting annoyed at their thoroughly stupid behaviour and stopped.

Then however, they thought it would be a good idea to let the dog off its lead so it could go for a swim. Now, you can't tell from the photos above, but the river was flowing really fast. Faster then I can recall ever seeing it. It was easily fast enough to wash away an average person. Needless to say the dog almost instantly began to struggle against the current, paddling for its life. These two obnoxious morons watched as it struggled and were laughing at it.

I crossed back over to the dog, and encouraged it to swim downstream towards me. It was above the stones, trying to swim up river. It eventually started swimming to me, and I was able to get hold of its collar. One of the two morons then came running across the stones and snatched the dog from my hands, almost pushing me in the water in the process. I went back to the path and when the second idiot arrived, gave them one almighty scolding in front of the crowd of tourists. They left looking rather sheepish and, hopefully, having learnt a lesson. What on earth is wrong with these people?

After a little while longer, the sky began to darken so we decided to leave. Even though it was really cold, and the weather was totally unsuitable for this, we bought an ice-cream each from the little wooden hut by the car park. I seem to remember it being much nicer the last time we were here. This time however, it was thoroughly disappointing.

Just as we got back to the carpark, it started raining quite heavily. We were glad we got out of there when we did - I don't think even our waterproofs would have withstood the thunderstorm! On the drive back, the weather changed again. It started hailing incredibly heavily, with rather large hailstones. The road was soon flooded with hail! It was so dangerous that at one point the entire line of traffic had to stop and wait for it to ease up, and for the hail to start melting, before it was safe to continue.

All in all, quite an eventful and memorable few hours, even though some parts were less than enjoyable!

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