Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Sunday 13 February 2011 - ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’

East Lancs LDWA members on the summit of Shutlingsloe - 13/2/11
Today’s walk from Tegg’s Nose was with the East Lancashire section of the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA).  I’m not currently a member, but Viv and Steve had spent ages devising an enticing route, so I was pleased to join them for the day.  There were 14 of us who eventually donned our waterproofs and set off from all corners of the car park. 

The ‘official scribe’ of the walk (why write my own report when someone else has already written one) takes up the story here….

Hey Diddle Diddle

a little jaunt in the Cheshire countryside.....with a couple [? – Ed] of hills for Norman

Fourteen bright-eyed souls gathered in the car park of Tegg’s Nose Country Park Visitor's Centre shortly before 9am on Sunday 13th February, all eagerly anticipating a dose of trench foot in the heavy rain that we had been promised by one of Michael Fish's protégés.

The promise was kept.

At 9am we promptly set off at 9.10am, heading south past archaeological memorabilia littering the now disused quarry, in the direction of the village of Langley. The route didn't enter the village, but skirted Teggsnose and Bottoms Reservoirs. The steep and muddy descent ended at a minor road, taking us to Ridgegate Reservoir and into Macclesfield Forest for our first stop of the day. Cups of tea from the excellent mobile café  at Trentabank were quaffed before we started the climb that would eventually take us to the first (and only) summit of the day, that icon amongst the mountains of Cheshire, the Matterhorn of Cheshire, Shutlingsloe.

As we ascended the wind strengthened, the temperature dropped and it got too cold.  Some of the group huddled together for warmth.  The LDWA is renowned for such bondage.  Although the rain hadn't been too bad up until this point, it really was the quiet [don’t you mean ‘lull’? – Ed] before the storm. A five minute stop to imagine the excellent views from the top was all we could stand, it was just too cold and windy to hang around, and Norman was worried about where his next beer was coming from – that would be his lunch, as his butties were at home on the sideboard. We set off, cheating the scramblers in the group by heading south-west at first, before slipping and sliding down towards Wildboarclough. A dry stone wall didn't provide much shelter for our next stop on the lower slopes of the hill, [especially for those sitting on the windward side of the wall! – Ed] but at least the rain had paused. For a minute.

Continuing our descent towards Wildboarclough, keeping Norman on the correct route became a problem .... he kept veering off in the direction of the very excellent Crag Inn [well, who wouldn’t? – Ed] whilst the rest of the expedition obediently followed the walk leaders, Steve & Viv. Another climb followed, this time on tarmac. We passed the very grand Crag Hall, beyond the old administration building of a carpet mill that subsequently became a local sub-post office. If that was the sub-post office, the main post office must have been huge!

Before long we left the tarmac at a watery track and then onto waterlogged ground to eventually arrive at a pack-horse bridge over the infant River Dane at Three Shire Heads, where the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet. On a nicer day this would be a picturesque lunch stop, but not today – it was just too wet. En-route to the Cat & Fiddle a suitable stopping place was found where butties (those who had them) were demolished and flasks (almost) emptied.

The Cat & Fiddle

On crossing the road to the Cat & Fiddle it once again became a problem to keep Norman (52), the group’s resident alcoholic, on the right route....he was eventually forcibly dragged away from the entrance to the pub only after being convinced that Jelly Babies that had been soaked in rum would be distributed at the next stop at Forest Chapel.

A pleasant (but muddily slippy) deviation from the original route after passing the Peak View Tea Rooms took us away from tarmac, down to the Stanley Arms (for another incident with Norman) and down [down? – Ed] to the chapel, our final stop before the end of the walk. Heavy rain at this point tested the waterproof qualities of our clothing (Viv and I were very happy with our brand new Paramos) [gloat! – Ed] .....and the spirits of the expedition members, a rag-tag assortment of folk - I don’t know where East Lancs LDWA drags them up from - apart from alcohol driven Norman, who claims to have an extra tooth in his foot – a ‘spur’ that provides an excuse for him to start limping after just a few miles and avoid ‘proper walks’ unlike this one; a series of dolly birds including one who claimed to have returned recently from a long spell of duty at ‘Camp B’ in ‘Accrington’, and a mascot who can’t afford waterproofs and who started to dissolve in the rain.  …Anyway, the porch of the church provided shelter for some whilst others enjoyed (endured?) their last drink of the walk sitting on the bench seats or in a puddle in the church yard.

A lovely path led us through Macclesfield Forest once again, taking us to the stiff pull up to Tegg's Nose and the welcome sight of our cars – and warm, dry clothing.

I don't care what anyone else may say...I enjoyed the day AND the excellent company.

Macclesfield Forest

Thank you JJ – that has saved me an arduous job.  Those who wish to see what you really wrote should look here.  The original route plan, from which the only deviation was onto the excellent new path linking the Peak View Tea Rooms with the Stanley Arms, is here.  This also has numerous informative annotations made with JJ’s fair and accurate hand.

I took just over 20 pictures, despite the rain.  They are here.

The actual route – 23km, 1000 metres ascent, in just over 6 hours, is shown below:


Like JJ, I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed the day AND the excellent company.


Gayle said...

Even with the grey weather it's a pity we missed this one - but the early start it would have required seemed incompatible with Mick's birthday celebrations on the Saturday. Happily, by the time I did manage to drag myself out on Sunday afternoon the rain here had abated and I only got very slightly damp around the edges (albeit muddy to my knees).

Phreerunner said...

Yes Gayle, we were sorry not to see you - the weather had been arranged by East Lancs LDWA group especially for you!
Happy Birthday, Mick!