I think the only thing that got me out of bed on this rainy (the first for ages) morning was the fact that two rendezvous had been arranged. It’s probably also the same reason that both John and Graham were on time, and cheerily set off with me from beside Ridgegate Reservoir, and along the snowy track that rises gently up Nessit Hill in Macclesfield Forest.
Don’t they look cheerful, despite the dark morning in wind and rain? Even with the brightness of the snow, the automatic flash kicked in a lot today.
After we had passed through the trees and on to the open moor, we found ourselves in cloud, of varying density, almost all the way back to the cars.
Crampon prints looked incongruous in the now very soft snow. We would have preferred it to be firmer, but the thaw had to start sometime.
Here (below), Graham and John pause briefly on the summit of Shutlingsloe, which had an Arctic Feel to it today, before slithering down its eastern flank towards Wildboarclough, where we met a 4 x 4 progressing slowly up a snow laden farm track. On seeing us emerge from the cloud the driver shrugged, placed his vehicle into reverse, and drove backwards for half a mile down the difficult track…
…another failed postal delivery. But we can vouch that he tried!
Certain readers will not appreciate this, but due to afternoon commitments we were forced to pass by the Crag Inn, in favour of a stop for tea and sandwiches in the snow, which had drifted.
Eventually we started a descent down an ancient ‘holloway’, where John paused thoughtfully before negotiating some cornices.
The Hanging Gate Inn, which sadly we had to pass due to pressing engagements, was surprisingly busy this Friday lunch time.
But we had to continue through deep snow, along a section of the Gritstone Trail, eventually emerging at the Leather’s Smithy (sadly no time to visit it) and Kate’s ponies.
A short stroll along the road concluded this excellent work out, albeit the 11 km with 500 metres ascent took half an hour longer than the customary 3 hours, due to having to battle our way through the snow.
John has just delivered his pictures, so I may add more, but having already pressed the ‘publish’ button by mistake, I’d better press it again now. Apologies to ‘Google readers’ who may also have seen the incomplete (now deleted) version of this posting.