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It’s 97 km from the nearest coast, but Gaddings Dam has got a corner of sand that’s silky enough to lie on, firm enough to make a castle out of, and pervasive enough to get in your sandwiches. From what other beach could you enjoy a startlingly beautiful view over the south Pennines? Because at 240m above sea-level, you can look straight across to Stoodley Pike.

With wetsuits and nerve, we swam. It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t freezing either, certainly nothing that a thermos of steaming hot chocolate and a vigorous play with dogs couldn’t sort out. I, for one, felt invigorated and inspired in a windswept kind of way as I walked back down the steep hill with Bob, who has introduced us to this gem of a local spot.
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