On a warm evening in Compstall, Sue and I were joined for a beer by Graham B, whilst teams of bowlers aimed for their targets on the pristine green behind The George.
It seemed a shame to leave, but Alistair, Colin and Helen turned up, eager for a walk. So off we set, heading alongside the lake in Etherow Country Park.
The golden orb was soon lost behind the horizon, bringing to attention the need to carry torches on evening walks from now until next April or May, though some got away without them tonight.
I hadn’t walked the paths before, and hadn’t carried out a recce, but as expected Graham B pretty much knew the route up to Werneth Low. It was still light enough for this self timed picture looking back down to Compstall.
Werneth Low hasn’t previously featured on these pages. I’m not really sure why not, as it’s a fine viewpoint right on the edge of the Peak District. Judging by my map it’s also on a European Trail – path E2, albeit not signed as such, and it’s fair to say we didn’t meet a trail of E2 backpackers snaking across the countryside. A couple of dog walkers were our only encounters tonight. Apart from the curious cows.
The War Memorial dates from 1920, whilst the ‘Low’ part of the name of this place dates from long ago - ‘Low’ being the North English word for a hill.
After I’d handed out some brownies – the first batch for a couple of months, we continued our circuit in increasing gloom along a very muddy track.
“I’ve not been here before” announced Graham. Alistair, Colin and Helen also live close by, and they hadn’t taken the planned route before either. So we fumbled our way along the lanes and paths in a southerly direction (Alistair takes an award for being the only one of us with a compass) as it went completely dark and torchless Sue was glad of the carrots I’d fed her for tea.
At one point the path disappeared, but a short stretch of jungle revealed a welcoming (unless you had a dog, we didn’t) gate with a yellow arrow that led us to a barking farmyard. I always get nervous in such places at night, especially when, like now, an array of blinding lights is activated, but over the years our evening walks have scared other people more often than we’ve been scared ourselves.
I was quite pleased to find that we were somehow still on a path when we passed under some power pylons and reached a stile at a point that I knew was only 100 metres or so from the road. But in the dark wood I then missed the path and led everyone across a boggy field from which a barbed wire fence had to be climbed in order to escape to the pavement.
I’m sure the ‘off path’ experience did no harm to anyone’s thirst, which was quenched a few minutes later back at The George.
Here’s our route – 8 km with 300 metres ascent, taking 2 to 2.5 hours.