I have written about a previous walk up Shutlingsloe (see here), but today’s stroll was completely different.
It’s a favourite short walk of mine, featuring lovely Peak District scenery after only a short drive to just beyond Macclesfield.
Following yesterday’s more sedentary activities we decided on this excellent 11 km circuit in the Peaks. We parked up in the busy lane by the Leather’s Smithy and set off at 2.30 through throngs of folk too intent on controlling their dogs and children to notice the tufted duck and the dabchick (little grebe) that were busy lunching in the cold water of Ridgegate Reservoir.
Beyond Trentabank we enjoyed the snow laden woodland as the path led us steeply up to disgorge us on the open moor below the 506 metre hill. The picture above shows Nallo Lady striding out towards the summit, reached in fine but blustery weather after just half an hour from the car.
With fine views in all directions, we lingered here whilst others puzzled as to the route down.
It was Bank Holiday Monday, a day when not everyone you see ‘on the hill’ is familiar with the terrain.
The initially steep descent to the east of the hill soon eases and we quickly reached the tarmac lane which leads to the Crag Inn. No time to dally here; just beyond the Inn a field is entered and a good path contours round to join another lane above Lower Nabbs Farm. By now there was a more bitter feel to the sharp wind, and dark clouds were invading the wintry panorama behind us.
Soon after turning right at a minor road, our route carried straight on where the road bore left. We headed on up to Oakenclough, then left over the top to emerge with long views west over the conurbation of Greater Manchester, with Winter Hill’s tall mast prominent in the distance.
Dropping down the boggy ginnel to The Hanging Gate Inn, I noticed that stone chippings had been laid over the wettest places since I was last here. The late diners in the Inn (it was after 4pm) stared blankly as we passed their window just as the bitter weather deteriorated into a snow shower. I was slightly envious of them. Emerging at another narrow lane, we turned left and after a couple of hundred metres found the ‘G’ signs that mark the route of the Gritstone Trail. Turning right onto this descending path we were disappointed to see a killjoy ‘No Sledging’ sign above the enticing slope.
The trail back to the car was an excellent and varied path – the ‘G’ signs being followed all the way, suddenly depositing us at the end of Ridgegate Reservoir, in view of the car, at 4.40, well in time for our appointment with Alan and his large teapot, just 2 minutes down the road in Langley.
Here’s the route, for which you should allow 3 hours (we were brisk today). It’s 11 km, with about 500 metres of easy ascent.