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Finding The Trinnacle at Dovestone Reservoir

Posted on 13 October 2020 in 
The Trinnacle, carved by centuries of elemental abuse, is a pillar fractured from the main cliffs that overlook Dovestone Reservoir. The towering three-pronged structure erupts from the moorlands and forms one of the Peak District’s most iconic views.

With the rain showing signs of relenting, I, alongside fellow photographers Simon Hird, Joe Hall and Bartek Basista, set off to find it.

Photography is often depicted as a lonely pastime: the unsociable hours, the gruelling hikes… all with no guarantee of scenery or weather worth photographing.

But actually, it’s social – very social.

In the digital age, inspiration is everywhere. Books, TV and social media offer up countless places to explore and images to capture; too many for one lifetime. But exploring new locations with other photographers pushes you to wake up earlier, walk further and dig deeper to find something creative, new and different.

"Photography is often depicted as a lonely pastime: the unsociable hours, the gruelling hikes… all with no guarantee of scenery or weather worth photographing."
There are times when silence, preparation and a little bit of luck is needed to realise your vision. But sometimes, you need the passion of others to refuel yours.
Simon tackling Greenfield Brook

How to find The Trinnacle

There are two approaches to The Trinnacle. Whichever route you take, Binn Green Car Park is a good starting point.

For the first way up, make your way past Greenfield Reservoir and follow the brook up on to the moors. The terrain is rough and the incline is steep. Once you’ve passed Greenfield Waterfall, double back along the ridge on the south side of the brook.

You’ll quickly summit the moors and see stone pillar looming in front of you.
The Trinnacle at Dovestone Reservoir
Since the rocky monolith lies to the east of the reservoirs, photographing it at sunset gives you the opportunity to backlight it and make the most of any colourful skies.

In the morning, the rising sun takes time to clear the higher moorlands and illuminate the pillar. The time of year can affect this, so plan your trip using PhotoPills, The Photographer’s Ephemeris or any similar app.
Simon hops across the Trinnacle
Simon hops across the Trinnacle

The unpredictable elements

Weather in the Peak District is a fickle thing. Our decision to adventure up into Saddleworth Moor was reliant on the day’s heavy rain moving through, giving way to clearer skies to the west.

As we approached the gritstone stack, occasional breaks in the cloud glanced short-lived patches of light over the moors. It looked like our hard work would pay off.

But a new front, brought on by howling winds, cluttered the horizon.

With all chance of a fiery sunset snuffed out, we set about finding textures and compositions that worked despite the conditions. We shared stories from past adventures: Simon’s recent trip to Snowdon and Joe’s venture to the Alport Castles.

We talked about our goals and aspirations as photographers, and compared the challenges we face: from Bartek’s fantastic portraiture to Joe’s hiking footwear.
Joe going full spec ops
Finding like-minded people that share your passion makes it that little bit more rewarding. Photography is no exception. Besides, it’s good to lament – in unison – about the price of lenses.

If you want to see more images from our last minute dash up Saddleworth Moor, you can check them out on my portfolio.
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