15 Mar Walk Leader: John & Doreen from Shrigley Hall Hotel Length of walk: 8.5 miles Driving Distance: 21 miles Number walking: 21
As we gathered in the car park at Waitrose, it was obviously an unusual day; a couple of young people were standing close to us and young people usually steer well clear. They turned out to be relatives of John & Doreen visiting from New Zealand for Doreen’s birthday. They walked with us and were as good as gold; we didn’t have to help them along at all. The strangest effect of their presence as seen from the back of the group was the sight of shiny black hair.
We left the grounds of Shrigley Hall Hotel and soon climbed the path towards the ridge that carries the Gritstone Trail. On the way we paused to look down at the Cheshire Plain, Manchester and its airport. As we took a refreshment break, we spotted the newly-refurbished Vulcan bomber at the museum that now sits where the Woodford airfield used to be. At the top of the hill we stopped to admire the Bowstones. This scheduled monument comprises two stone shafts that used to carry crosses. The reason for their presence at this spot is a mystery; we can discount the local legend that links them with Robin Hood and his chums adjusting their bowstrings there.
We followed the Gritstone Trail into Lyme Park and had lunch at the picnic tables provided. In the warm sunny weather we were surrounded by lots of visitors to the park before we left for a stroll along the Macclesfield Canal.
Leaving the canal, we climbed up to a charming cabin that was originally built as a lending library to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 50 years on the throne. It is now a restaurant and the staff had been warned that we would arrive. They parked us in the garden and fed us with drinks and cake. Part of the entertainment was the song of the birds in the trees around us, but a robin above Doreen’s table rather blotted its copybook by leaving an unwelcome deposit in her tea. Full marks for accuracy though.