Wednesday, 28 June 2017
It’s a while since we had a proper walk with the Roberts family, so it was good to join them on a little jaunt designed to provide Andrew with a bit of navigation training for his D of E Award. Sadly Kate couldn’t join us this time due to a beach commitment.
We were all in a cheery mood as we set off behind a runner beside Shelf Brook from Old Glossop. (Note there is parking at the end of Shepley Street as an alternative to the car park by the Bull’s Head.)
There was however a rather low cloud base. I paused by the remains of a metal structure on a man-made mound, looking back towards Glossop. I have no idea as to the purpose of this structure.
The church bells of Old Glossop cheered us as we rose gently past large clumps of Crosswort, with its tiny white flowers. We had turned left towards Lightside and soon reached a stile leading to open country and, after Sue had adjusted her headgear, a misty challenge for Andrew to keep us on track to Bleaklow Head.
After Alastair had dispensed his wine gums, we continued on into the cloud past an assortment of rocky outcrops.
After an expanse of bogginess, and more than a little use of his compass, Andrew was careful to suppress his euphoria when we reached Bleaklow Head, and some rocks, the Wain Stones, that reputedly show two people kissing.
Alastair proceeded to address the novice navigator and his two assistants:
“Always wear fluorescent clothing to enable mountain rescue to spot you when you get lost!”
“But we’re not lost” mumbled Andrew, glancing anxiously at the 1980’s map provided by his father.
The maps have improved since the 1980s, as has the nature of the landscape around here. Whilst there are a few areas of peaty mess, the ground is much greener than it was before the Pennine Way path was surfaced.
Unfortunately it took us a while to find that path. There was a bit of toiling in the mist.
On reaching the path, we passed a fine specimen of Common Spotted Orchid.
As the Snake Pass road is approached, the surface of the Pennine Way path gets better and better. We encountered a family group with distressed children, and a few National Park wardens who would no doubt come to any necessary rescue.
Eventually a signpost to Glossop is reached at a junction. This is the Doctor’s Gate bridleway, down which we turned. Navigation was no longer an issue as the path leads inexorably back to Glossop.
There are new plantations.
The bridleway is well used. It’s a challenging technical descent for mountain bikers. None of them were braving it today.
Shelf Brook is crossed where the path levels out. There’s a huge new bridge built in memory of a local celebrity. Or has Sue shrunk?
It’ll be interesting to see how the newly planted saplings change this landscape in years to come.
After a last look up the Doctor’s Gate path, we ambled back to Glossop in dry weather, having got a bit damp earlier in the 100% humidity of the cloud.
It was a 16 km circuit, with about 500 metres ascent, taking a leisurely 5 hours. If you look carefully at the blue line (click on the image to enlarge it) you might spot that we didn’t quite reach the cairned summit of Bleaklow, and the path on which we left the Wain Stones was a little to the west of the ‘correct’ Pennine Way path. More micro navigation practice needed, Andrew, or was this intended?
Most of Glossop’s tea houses were shut, so we made do with afternoon tea/coffee at a branded venue. Their carrot cake was excellent.
Despite the low cloud, a most enjoyable outing.
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Rain was forecast so the gazebo was deployed about half an hour before the start, when the above picture of keen early arrivals and a rather smart bike was taken.
It didn’t rain. We even enjoyed the post run coffees outside in the courtyard of the tea room.
Since my last visit, some posters about the ongoing repair work to Wythenshawe Hall have been attached to the fence. If you click on the images you may get a slightly more readable version.
The run was fairly routine. In the absence of ‘HM’ Jackie Cordingley, the ‘Rt Hon’ Mark Hunter took the ‘age-related’ trophy with over 81%. He had finished and left before I got to the tape. Soon afterwards I noted Ron sprinting past an astonished (eclipsed, even) Margaret at a pace that demonstrated that he should really be running much faster, rather than ambling round the course and showing off at the finish.
A bit later, Sue replicated Ron’s performance. If she hadn’t spent so much time chatting with Cary, she may have got a PB…
As always, a great way to start the weekend. Full results are here.
Monday, 26 June 2017
For the second of Andrew’s ‘Deepest Cheshire’ walks this summer, he ventured into the familiar territory of Alderley Edge, with an unfamiliar ascent of 150 metres not normally encountered in Deepest Cheshire.
Anyway, it was the Famous Five who assembled before 7.30 pm at the De Trafford Arms in Alderley Edge, where it was warm enough to enjoy an al fresco beer before setting off.
Then a short uphill slog through pleasant woodland brought us to the wide view across the Cheshire countryside to Greater Manchester, with the city’s skyscrapers, complete with combustible cladding, clearly visible, the masts of Winter Hill looming behind them.
There’s an Armada Beacon near here, built on top of a Bronze Age ‘bowl barrow’ or burial mound.
After passing the site of the Hagg Cottages, mineworkers’ houses demolished in the 1950s, we left the escarpment and descended past well securitised properties owned by millionaires to the fields of the Cheshire flatlands. The light levels were low.
This used to be a mining area, like Wednesday evening’s venue, but now it’s a sanctuary for the rich.
After a while we passed the 14th century St Mary’s church in Nether Alderley. I’ve described this before. The awful Hamilton family lived next door.
In fact I’ve described walks and places in this area a few times, so there’s no real need to add much here. If you are interested, click on the Alderley Edge label. The field paths led us pleasantly back to Alderley Edge village.
Here’s today’s route – an amiable 8 km in a couple of hours, followed by a welcome beer in the De Trafford Arms.
Thursday 6 July - 7.30pm from the Wood House Garden (SJ 808 702). Postcode for Satnav SK11 9DX. Parking at rear of house. Refreshments before an amble around paths and lanes in lush dairy farming country. All welcome.