03 May 2023 The Edge of the Dark Peak Leader: Stephen, Length of walk: 8 miles, Driving Distance: 32 miles, Number walking: 18
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Click here to see a map of the walk.
The day was sunny with occasional cloud but cold and windy on the hills. Moisture in the air prevented clear long-distance viewing; nobody claimed to see Liverpool cathedrals or Blackpool Tower.
All the drivers parked outside the Little Mill Inn in Rowarth to be handy for the post-walk refreshments. The pub was converted from a watermill so naturally the walkers set off uphill for some time. They were immediately followed by three lady equestrians, which prompted the call of “Horses behind”. This may have been misunderstood as a reference to someone’s hip size, but no offence was intended.
A further steep climb took the group to Lantern Pike, which most of the climbed but three of the idler walkers omitted that section and waited for the group to come down again. It’s so much easier that way. Before the climb to the top of Lantern Pike the group stooped for coffee and picked out interesting features of the surrounding landscape including Kinder Downfall.
The walk along Cown Edge gave extensive views across Cheshire into the misty distance, but the walkers were careful not to fall over the edge into the disused quarries beneath the path.
The path down from Cown Edge passed the wayside and boundary cross known as Robin Hood’s Picking Rods (what are picking rods?), where they posed for a picture in the absence of a suitable bridge. From there it was, in that time-worn phrase, all downhill to the pub for refreshing drinks.
17 May 2023 Audlem Leaders: Peter and Chris, Length of walk: 10.5 miles, Driving Distance: 15 miles, Number walking: 9
Start from Overwater Marina
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Although the sun was shining as the group left Sandbach, there was a threat of rain which alarmed the one walker who had failed to bring a waterproof coat. The sun shone most of the time and when others were taking layers off or putting them on, Mick was able to carry on regardless.
The route circled Audlem in a clockwise manner starting with a long walk from the marina where the cars were parked to the nearest bridge over the Shropshire Union canal. Away from the canal the route went through an area where the place names were totally unfamiliar. Bunsley Bank, Moblake and Chapel End all appear on the map but there is precious little to see on the ground. As the leader approached Little Heath, he did see that he should have turned left 400 yards previously, so an about turn was smartly executed to get back on track.
The group successfully avoided the tractors that were hoovering up grass and stopped by Highfields Farm for lunch. The tree that the leader had selected on the recce was still there, so he parked himself under it. Unfortunately, the local cows had also taken a shine to it and were quite happy to share it with the walkers. A rival tree attracted half the group but not the cows so the walkers there were much entertained by the tension between the walkers and cows.
After lunch there was a short trek across fields to the Shropshire Union canal at Adderley. Given that the canal marked the route back to the marina so that there was no chance of getting lost, those walkers who fancied a chat to the boat people were able to indulge. Unfortunately, the leader felt obliged to wait for them from time to time.
There was no waiting at the Shroppie Fly but there was some discussion about the name. On the Shropshire Union canal there was an express service of “fly-boats”, which worked 24 hours a day to a timetable, with a change of crew, carrying all kinds of cargo, including perishable goods such as cheese.
When the marina appeared, the bridge that the group had to cross to reach it appeared some distance away and they were most frustrated to see the cars disappear in the distance as they walked up to it.
Since the walkers had the use of the car park, they popped into the marina café and indulged in cake as a reward.