Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Wednesday 29 April 2009 - Deepest Cheshire, from the Drovers Arms, Over Peover

Here's another good old English name for you, Mike.  Actually, the Drovers Arms is situated half way between Over Peover and Lower Peover (aka 'Superior' and 'Inferior').  The 'o' is pronounced as an 'e'!

2902droversarms

We arrived half an hour early for this evening walk, so with plenty of time to sample the 'Black Sheep' ale. 

Andrew had been inexplicably passed in a lay-by. He is usually in-situ at the start point, enjoying a beer.  "Attending to important business", I surmised, or "reccying the route".  (Andrew was tonight's leader, and he likes to be well prepared...)

We were greeted, entirely unexpectedly, by Ian C - one of my old UMIST contemporaries.  He works nearby and had made good use of the Drovers 'Early Bird' menu to fuel himself for his first appearance on one of our walks for several years.

Andrew lumbered in and downed some ale whilst breathlessly explaining "...eating my tea...important business...reccying the route...".  Retirement sees him as busy as ever, bravely multitasking whilst fervently attempting to keep all his balls in the air.

He led off into a field.  "Keep low" he advised, "as soon as they spot us the six horses will gallop towards us."  He had done his homework - they did just that; they just wanted to be friends with us.

2903horse

The route took us along quiet lanes in the late sun under a darkening blue sky.  Richard had 'joke fever' - it's a shame I can't remember any of them (well, on second thoughts!), and Jenny and Andrew had developed strange walking styles.

2904walkers

The hedgerows and woodland paths now bulge with garlic mustard, greater stitchwort and yellow archangel, as well as the violets and anemones that have accompanied us over recent weeks.  The woodland areas have swathes of bluebells, and in the fields the dandelions are nearly over.

2905dandelions

We discovered that Ian had joined us simply to escape from his mother in law, and that Andrew knew the area well - he kept darting off the main paths to avoid boggy sections that he blamed on 'The Hunt'.

Past extensive glass-houses full of chrysanthemums we strolled, under huge trees with noisy birds - buzzards, crows and pigeons, near the converted barns that Andrew so despises, and beside a country residence with a helicopter and more friendly horses outside.

Dusk fell, over lush woods and Cheshire fields, some deep with growth, others sporting brown scrub and a tree-laden skyline.

2906trees

Luckily the fading daylight and the crescent moon provided sufficient light for the torch batteries (yes, we had one torch between 6 of us) to be utilised in Andrew's failing GPS unit, which seemed to hold the key to avoiding a night out 'lost in Cheshire'!

The Drovers Arms was dark and empty when we returned, but a barman appeared to serve us before locking up as we left at 10 pm.  As last week, we were the only customers after returning from our evening walk, and the future of some of these pleasant country pubs is starting to become a worry.  They need more business.

Tonight's 8 km route with minimal ascent (it's the Cheshire plain, after all) is shown below.  It took about 2 hours.

2901route

Our evening walks programme is here.  Anyone is welcome to join us.

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