Keith had kindly arranged a walk a little closer to home than this group’s usual territory, so Sue, Susan and I enjoyed a leisurely drive to the Candle Workshops at Burwardsley, from where we were soon marched off towards Beeston Castle.
David and I got a bit left behind. Here’s our view of the group of thirteen people ahead of us, with Beeston Castle somewhat obscured by trees in the background.
If the others are somewhere in that picture, I can’t see them and neither could David. Eventually we met them coming the other way near the castle entrance by this smart house. I think they all thought that we’d gone ahead!
We nearly got some ice creams, but the shop was full, so we pressed on to elevenses on some wet grass.
We walk these paths more often in winter, when they are less overgrown and are more muddy. Here’s Andrew, stalking through the long grass, wishing he’d taken a lower dose of shrinking powder.
Peckforton Castle, a Victorian country house built in the style of a medieval castle (unlike Beeston Castle, which dates from the 1220s) invites people to ‘Come in and see this hidden gem’. Keith’s pace hardly faltered as he rushed us past. Another time, perhaps.
The Sandstone Trail that we were following may have petered out here (below), much to the confusion of those with maps, but once Graham had studied Keith’s scratchings the route was retrieved and progress was furthered. To be honest, I don’t really know what was going on. If you blow this picture up and study the expressions you might conclude that I wasn’t alone….
More fields were encountered as we steadily conquered the gradient up to the Peckforton escarpment. Andrew was now back to normal, having taken an antidote to combat his shrinkage. Sue’s CCS.
We expected to find AlanR rummaging around here in his private playground.
He needs to take more care of his exhibits!
This restored classic whizzed past, being driven by a gas tank with flat arms. Weird!
A nearby relic needed a bit of work, but….
… this one has been fully restored – very shiny…
The lunchtime view, once the toes of a toppled tree had been photoshopped out, was one of expansive views over Cheshire and into Staffordshire.
Lunch was duly consumed on a soily plateau, then the team marched off once again.
“They’re an ugly lot”, observed Richard, “so the silhouette works well.”
Near the ‘Poacher’, a fine hostelry that Keith declined to visit, a large stone obelisk rises like a giant phallic carbuncle.
An elite group, the ‘Famous Five’ plus Susan, split off near here in a bid to get home before darkness fell and Jenny suffered nervous convulsions. We paused briefly to admire the vista towards Liverpool and towards the Clwyd Hills where we’d been three weeks earlier. Unfortunately the image captured by my Lumix FT4 isn’t perfect.
There’s a trig point marking the 227 metre summit of Rawhead. It’s decorated with an item of great historical significance. The audience (including two strange women out of shot) was rapt as Richard expounded on the remarkable events that took place here. Jenny cried, as did the two onlookers.
From that great height we hastened down loosely carpeted paths, back to the candle workshops, where Martin and Andrew were rewarded with ice creams as compensation for having to put up with Richard’s tall stories, and a quick exit was made before Jenny could be trampled by a cow in the dark.
It was a pleasant enough route along the weak and twisted backbone of the Peckforton Hills, much of it on the Sandstone Trail footpath – about 16 km with around 500 metres ascent, taking 5.25 hours. The other nine went a bit further. But they haven’t been seen since, though four of them may soon resurface in Newtonmore, where they could be held over for ‘bagging’ offences.
Thanks Keith, for organising this walk.