Long Walks in July 2016

6 Jul Walk Leader: Ralph Browes   From Monyash through Lathkilldale
Length of walk: 12.5 miles  Number walking: 19

One of the reasons for going on long walks is to get the benefits of fresh air and exercise. Another benefit not publicised by the NHS is to enjoy tasty treats like cake and ice cream. On this walk we did both.

The day didn’t start well; congestion in Congleton and the closure of Moss Road in Astbury disrupted our travel plans and it was 10:30 before we were ready to walk. However the delay in assembling the party meant good business for the café by the village green in Monyash. They do a nice line in ice cream or bacon butties for those who missed breakfast.

In recent walks the weather brought sun and rain at intervals so that we had to keep stopping to take clothes off or put them on again. Not this time; the weather delivered an average condition of warm cloud with occasional sun. (I have been asked to clarify the situation about taking clothes on and off. When the temperature rises, walkers in our group don’t have to take off all their clothes. I hope that provides reassurance to anyone thinking of joining the group.)

Although the day was dry the rocks on the path into Cales Dale were a little slippery. Fortunately there was only one casualty; Kath slipped into a patch of nettles and received a tingling arm as a result. A number of well-prepared ladies came to her rescue but were disappointed that she didn’t need a plaster; they carry lots of plasters and rarely get to dispense them. After climbing out of Cales Dale we stopped for a drink before climbing the rest of the hill and, while we paused, numerous walkers came down the hill. One of them reported that there was an ice cream van at the top of the hill. Someone suggested that a scout be sent to confirm the report but no one volunteered. This turned out to be a sensible move because the report was wrong in two respects: there was no ice cream at the top of the hill and when we did find the ice cream salesman after crossing two more fields he was selling from a stall not a van. You may call this pedantic but a van has four wheels that sit on the ground. With the advance notice we had received, appetites were whetted and the stall did good business. Kath enjoyed her ice cream but, still shaken by the nettle stings, she failed to heed the warning not to bite the bottom off the cone and spent the rest of the walk with vanilla drips down her top.

We met lots of people on the walk and, unusually, many of them were young people. Several groups were seeking a Duke of Edinburgh award and, near the end of the walk, we passed 35 junior school pupils shepherded by five teachers. The teachers had obviously trained them well because many of the pupils thanked us for waiting as they passed through a gate.

Ralph chose to stop for lunch in Middleton where the children’s playground has benches and picnic tables. The temptation of the slide was too much for some ladies who shot down it at high speed in case someone came to tell them off. A report came in that Molly Moo’s café supplied a delicious coffee and walnut cake. This prompted Ralph to buy 18 slices and distribute them to celebrate his recent birthday. This was much appreciated but a crisis arose when a single piece was left after everyone who wanted cake had taken one. Could we find an experienced cake eater to defuse this Sermon on the Mount crisis? Our cake specialist stepped forward modestly and calm was restored. However we were dismayed to find that we had covered only four of the promised twelve miles.

Ralph promised the group that after lunch there would be no more hills; the path would be flat or downhill. How many times have we heard this? Suffice it to say that his promise was correct as we went down the valley of the River Bradford but up Lathkilldale the river was obviously coming down to meet us even when it ran underground. We expect politicians to lie to us but we demand that forecasts of hills to come must be accurate. Maybe things will improve when we cast Europe adrift.

It was in Lathkilldale that we explored Bateman’s House in which we climbed down a ladder into a shaft where a hand-cranked light illuminated the underground river below. It was like an adventure for Indiana Jones. We need more of these.

As we climbed Lathkilldale there was some tension as people realised that the Wales v Portugal football match was due to kick off at 8pm and that time was uncomfortably close. Ralph refused to panic and brought us safely to the end of a delightful walk and sent us home for the familiar chore of watching a home team lose to Johnny Foreigner.

20 July Walk Leader: John & Doreen Minshull   Dane Valley and Wincle from Rushton Spencer  Drive to start of walk: 56 miles  Length of walk: 9 miles  Number walking: 8

Since your correspondent was absent from this walk, the description comprises the leader’s description.

The walk starts from the car park behind the Knot Inn at Rushton Spencer and takes us through lanes and across fields through the Dane valley, before climbing through woods and fields to Wincle Minn.  Here we hope to have lunch amid 360 degree views across Cheshire, Staffordshire and the Peaks if the weather is kind.  After lunch we wend our way down through more fields, valleys and woods to the old Rudyard lake feeder canal cutting, which we follow back to the car park.

27 Jul Walk Leader: Maggie Knowles   Astbury Mere to Mow Cop
Drive to start of walk: 8 miles  Length of walk: 10 miles  Number walking: 6

Since your correspondent was absent from this walk, the description comprises the leader’s description.

Starting at Astbury Mere skirt the mere to Fol Hollow to Brickhouse Farm across the field to Astbury village past the church through a snicket, past Glebe Farm and on the farm track to Whitthorn. Up the road to Oak Farm and onto the canal for a coffee stop.
Along the Macclesfield Canal to Ackers Crossing,on the South Cheshire Way towards the mast and past Old Man of Mow to have lunch on Mow Cop.

Returning on the top with some road walking along the Gritstone Trail to Nick i’ th Hill . Down the road past the church through Dreamcatcher Meadows to Mossley over the railway bridge to Lambert’s Lane and Stony Lane then back to Astbury Mere.