Long Walks in April 2021

21 Apr 2021 Castleton  Leader: Bill & Ruth, Length of walk: 9 miles, Driving Distance: 35 miles, Number walking: 12

As the vaccination programme sweeps away the threat from the Covid-19 pandemic, the long walking group is able to restart and, as Bill & Ruth are staying in the area, they start the inaugural walk from Castleton. As well as hills the area is well known for caverns and the walk passed a few of them – Peak Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern. The latter was notable for the fact that a longer coffee stop than usual allowed the back marker to catch up. He had been to the dentist before charging across the Pennines and galloping up the hill to join the party. Once with the group his pace slowed down as they crossed Windy Knoll to reach Mam Nick where they walked along Rushup Edge to get the benefit of the fresh air which was flung at them in great gusts.

Lunch in the sun was taken at a convivial spot where walkers had worn down the path leaving earthen benches either side. The easy path continued as the route dived into Edale and then the group faced the climb to Hollins Cross. Given that the walkers had not even seen a hill like this for months, let alone climbed one, the ascent was taken slowly with multiple stops to view the scenery and catch a breath.

Tradition dictates that someone should stand at Hollins Cross and tell the story of how people who died in Edale had to be carried up and over the hill to Castleton church for the burial service. The highlight of the story is the runaway coffin that collides with the apothecary shop in Castleton. Sadly no one present was prepared to tell the tale, so the group will have to go again some time.

Long Walks in April 2021 Tegg’s Nose and Macclesfield Forest

21 Apr 2021 Castleton  Leader: Simon and Linda, Length of walk:  miles, Driving Distance: 35 miles, Number walking: 16

For the first time as leaders Simon and Linda chose a relatively short walk that proved quite a challenge for the group who spent the last year walking the Cheshire plain. There are many ups and downs and importantly 1,645 feet of them were up!

We started with a steep 300ft descent from the Tegg’s Nose car park along a stone strewn path for the first half mile followed by a 600ft climb for the next 1.5 mile, oh how we laughed.

At the top we entered the northern edge of the Macclesfield Forest and in the exposed part it was cold and windy though thankfully mostly dry. No gaiters or shorts were deployed by the group and there was much divesting and replacement of layers of outer garments to suit the conditions. Still, we chuckled.

We passed Forest Chapel hamlet including St Stephen’s Chapel which has a floor made of rushes and where they have a rushbearing ceremony each August. After that, the views were of Shutlingsloe, Shining Tor and the newly reopened Cat and Fiddle were impressive, and we continued through a series of up and downs for the next 4 miles and found a good, secluded spot behind a solid stone wall to have lunch.

The council have been busy during what I call “The Unpleasantness”, replacing several stiles with gates, my knees need all the help they can get. Stile style is not their strong point.

We headed north across the Macclesfield – Buxton road towards Lamaload reservoir passing part of the forest that was being cut down by impressive machinery you would not mess with. The break to watch the demolition job afforded a brief respite for our overworked lungs. Lamaload was the first concrete reservoir in England, completed in 1964 and able to hold 420 million gallons of water at nearly 1,000 ft above sea level.

We slowly dropped 600ft over the next 4 miles and the walk became serious again with 2 short sharp climbs, back across the A537 again and a series of stiles, challenging our stile etiquette again. We made our way back to the start point and Christine and her brother continued for 1 more mile to walk around Tegg’s Nose itself.

This was a splendid walk, thank you Simon and Linda for leading us around.

© Sandbach U3A 2024