About 14 of us started from outside the Leathers Smithy hostelry after negotiating a new bay system that restricts parking beside Ridgegate Reservoir.
Today’s carefully constructed route saw us heading south along the Gritstone Trail path, with good views back to Tegg's Nose.
Those who stayed near the back avoided some of 'Martin's Meanders' – I seemed to be busy chatting every time we passed a turn.
We headed falteringly onwards along the muddy, undulating path, towards the Radio Station at Sutton Common.
Fox Bank led to the 330 metre high point of the walk, Hill of Rossenclowes, from where the header picture was taken, looking towards Shutlingsloe.
There were fine sunny views across Greater Manchester and North Cheshire.
After another inadvertent meander, we descended past several quarries to the muddy depths of Ratcliff Wood.
We strolled beside a narrow watercourse towards Oakgrove.
I wonder what this small canal was used for?
Down at Sutton Oaks, The Fool's Nook has sadly been closed for a while. I recall enjoying a good pub lunch here on my Cheshire Ring bike ride in 2010.
Between us we all managed to find seating positions on the banks of the Macclesfield Canal, for lunch before our first dousing of the day.
Then a 5 km stroll along the canal towpath took us steadily away from Hall Green and towards Marple.
The towpath crosses the canal on the outskirts of Macclesfield, soon after which Rick sprinted ahead to meet daughter Jo and 'pretty boy' Eric. (No photos I’m afraid, you’ll have to use your imagination.)
Past The Hollins, a muddy path skirts a golf course.
Looking towards Shutlingsloe, almost indiscernible on the horizon, we enjoyed a slithery descent to Langley, where a pavement provided temporary respite from the mud.
We passed Langley Hall, a fine building, before the easy stroll to rejoin the mudfest known as the Gritstone Trail. Some opted out of this delight and diced with the traffic heading along Clarke Lane, but most of us stuck to the mud, arriving back at the start, or nearby, as a somewhat disparate bunch.
Here’s our route - 20 km with about 500 metres ascent, taking a little over 5 hours.
There’s a short slideshow here, if you are interested – click on the first image, then click ‘slideshow’.
Thanks, everyone, for joining us on this very pleasant little jaunt in rather better weather than Saturday’s, when Sue got soaked marshalling and I got soaked jogging on my 100th parkrun. Luckily a tent had been erected to prevent the (obligatory) cake from going soggy.
No time I’m afraid to record in more than passing a visit to Bacup for a delicious fish pie, or a visit to the Bridgewater Hall for an ‘Echoes of a Mountain Song’ concert advertised below but ending surprisingly with a version of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil’! Very enjoyable.
In a concert which includes poetry and readings, we hear the rarely performed orchestral sketch Kinder Scout by English composer Patrick Hadley (1899-1973) who found solace on the moors of the Peak District. A performer with local roots, Jennifer Pike, plays that matchless evocation of the moorland landscape, The Lark Ascending, based on George Meredith’s pastoral poem. Frederick Delius was born in Bradford and loved high wild places. A Walk to The Paradise Garden is a blissful interlude set amidst Alpine scenery. After the interval, Mendelssohn takes us on a tour of Scotland; a musical journey encompassing misty peaks, bagpipes and highland dancing.