Thirteen of us assembled at Pym Chair (SJ 994 767) for this pleasant circuit via Jenkin Chapel, Lyme Park and Windgather Rocks.
It's a steep hill down the lane to Jenkin Chapel. We encountered numerous participants in an 80 mile with 10,000 feet ascent bike race. This hill was certainly sorting out the men from the boys!
Meanwhile, our serial backmarkers were stumbling along at the rear.
We soon reached Jenkin Chapel - the lighting wasn't ideal for the following
The chapel lies at the junction of three ancient trackways,
known as "salters' ways" because they were used by packhorses carrying
salt. Later the tracks were used by cattle drovers and sheep dealers.
The chapel was
built using local materials in 1733 by local people who also raised money to
pay for a minister.
A tower was added in 1755. The appearance of the chapel is more that of a Georgian farmhouse
with a chimney stack than a church. It consists of a two-storey nave,
a one-storey chapel and vestry, and a three-stage tower with a saddleback
roof. The tower has an external staircase, a bell chamber and a porch with
A chimney rises from the middle of the south wall.
There is disagreement about the origin of the name
"Jenkin". One theory is that the junction was the trading site for a
man called Jenkin, from Ruthin, North Wales.
The track-marking stone at this point was known as "Jenkin Cross". Other
theories are that Jenkin was the name of a local farming family, or that it was
the name of a "fiery Welsh preacher" who preached at the horse
fair held here.
chapel features in Alan Garner's 2003 novel Thursbitch, mentioned recently on
A narrow lane leads up to the tumbledown buildings of Summer Close.
Here, the others went 'off piste' to the top of a hill, whilst I followed the path to Charles Head Farm, beyond which this old post box sits outside Springbank Farm.
The Gritstone Trail path is soon reached. Shepherds were gathering their sheep, goldfinches were flocking, and kestrels were battling with the wind, as I admired the views.
The others soon caught up, and we headed north over Sponds Hill, where a trial bike event was taking place using a nine mile circuit through the farmland hereabouts. Hence the gathering of the sheep.
Rather this than illegal riding on bridleways. Apparently they had to cover as many laps of the nine mile circuit as they could in three hours.
Meanwhile we took a scenic footpath into Lyme Park.
Lunch was taken in a pleasant spot in the shelter of Lyme Park's woodland on a windy day.
Re-opened after recent flooding, the park and hall had lots of visitors today.
We didn't visit The Cage, a three storey hunting lodge dating from 1737, but it remained in our sights for some time, together with views over Greater Manchester to Winter Hill on this day of clear visibility.
We continued our clockwise circuit, with more good views over the Peak District hills beyond Whaley Bridge.
Windgather Rocks lived up to their name, but the high path from there to Pym Chair is fairly sheltered, so not many hats were lost.
Bilberries were growing in abundance here, readily harvested by Sue and Phil, as we drained our flasks whilst waiting for the back marker.
A grassy path led back to Pym Chair, and the 45 minute journey home.
Here's the route I took - 20 km with 600 metres ascent, taking us 6 hours including breaks.