5 Oct Walk Leader: Bill & Ruth Crichton Ambergate and Crich Drive to start of walk: 55 miles Length of walk: 10.1 miles Number walking: 14
Starting at Ambergate Rail Station the walk went east across the River Derwent and up through some ancient woodland. Turning north west it descended to re-cross the Derwent at Whatstandwell. A short stretch of the Cromford Canal went past derelict quarries to ascend through more woodland to Wakebridge and onwards to Crich Stand. The route continued to Crich village then one last short ascent led to The Tors then down through Crich Chase (more woodland) to return to Ambergate.
No scribe was present on this walk but Ralph kept snapping away and his latest creation is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k482bcfzuqo
19 Oct Walk Leader: John and Doreen Minshull Rushton Spencer and Cloud End Drive to start of walk: 55 miles Length of walk: 9 miles Number walking: 26
This walk attempted to climb Bosley Cloud on a day when the views were not obscured by damp cloud. John and Doreen had tried before and failed. This time they got it right. It was worth climbing for lunch at the top of the Cloud, although there were complaints that we couldn’t see John o’Groats that was marked on the plaque at the top.
We started from the muddy car park by the Knot Inn in Rushton Spencer and walked south along the Staffordshire Way. Although the tracks were removed in the 1960s, this used to me the northern end (Leek to Macclesfield) of the Churnet Valley railway.
After a short distance on the flat we turned west and started the climb towards the hills at the edge of Cheshire. Eventually we reached the road that passes the Bridestones grave site. We have been this way before and have always turned off the farm drive to follow the path round the edge of the field. This time we went straight along the drive and continued up the gradual slope to the top of the Cloud.
Since the route up the Cloud is so familiar, the group split up near the summit and demonstrated that the path through the woods is shorter than the one on the edge overlooking the Cheshire plain. We took lunch gazing at the views and then headed down on the long gentle route to the river Dane before rejoining the Staffordshire Way back to the car park.
You can maintain your YouTube habit by viewing Ralph’s visual tour of the walk below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0aAuNnnEPY
26 Oct 2016 Walk Leader: Ralph Browes Cannock Chase Drive to start of walk: 36 miles Length of walk: 9.5 miles Number walking: 18
Ralph assured us that we started from Coppice Hill car park, but its only distinguishing feature was a large puddle in the middle. Fortunately, the rain stopped as we set off, so the puddle didn’t get any bigger. Mike Beck set off with us for the first time after the accident that (among other damage) broke both his legs.
Ralph did a fine job of navigating what appears to be a scrubby wasteland. He promised that we would pass Freda’s Grave and we did. Freda was the canine mascot for one of the regiments that trained at Cannock during the 1914 – 1918 war. Whether she is under the stone that bears her name is immaterial; she has been memorialised. The Springslade Lodge Café was open and delivered bacon butties and picnic tables for the weary walkers.
Mike and Linda returned to their car after this break and the rest of us headed for the cemeteries where casualties of the two world wars had been buried. One of them contained a mixture of German and allied dead and the other cemetery held thousands of German war dead relocated from graveyards all over Britain.
Lunch was calling and we stopped for it at the target end of a massive shooting range, where we sat in the sunshine without attracting any incoming fire.
The next stage was a long gentle downhill through woodland including some proper trees rather than straggly birch. The downhill section finished by the side of a stream where we stopped to use the picnic benches and repel an attack from an eager but faint-hearted dog.
The final section was the payback for the long downhill; after crossing the stepping stones we tackled the uphill path to return to the car park.
Ralph did an excellent job of finding his way round the overgrown army camp site and he was tireless in pointing out features that appear to be abandoned rubble and explaining what they used to do. The trees also demonstrated how to enliven the autumn with various colours of leaf and made it a lovely day out.