Long Walks in September 2022

7 Sep 2022 Goyt Valley  Leader: Janet, Length of walk: 10 miles, Driving Distance: 20 miles, Number walking: 11

Start from What 3 Words  ///stag.homing.suitable Click here to see a map of the walk.

The leader was most concerned that she would not lose as many people as she lost on her first walk but decided that roping the walkers together would not be a good idea. In the event all returned safely.

As is traditional at Derbyshire Bridge, the toilets were locked in spite of the sign stating the opening hours. The walkers were given advance warning and set off for the Cat & Fiddle. This prompted fond memories of the last time the group passed that way and Kath’s fall prompted a visit to the pub’s warm fire and sustenance to escape the foul weather outside. This time the weather was excellent, and the group walked straight past aiming for Errwood Hall ruins. On the way a group of six women and two dogs merged with the group for a while but they were disentangled before the leader delighted the party by dispensing flapjacks at the coffee stop. The half-empty Errwood reservoir looked forlorn at the bottom of the hill, but the walkers were spared that sorry sight for a while as they took the route down Shooter’s Clough.

On arriving at the Errwood Hall ruins the walkers excitedly speculated how the building was laid out and where the front door was. This is such a common preoccupation for walkers visiting the site that the Peak District park authorities have commissioned an app to display a virtual image of the building as it was. This free app entitled “Errwood Hall Revealed” is available for Apple and Android users and is based on the few extant pictures of the hall and the auction catalogue when it was sold. In the absence of any plans of the hall, the app developers used the old-fashioned technique known as guesswork to work out the room layout and display it using augmented reality. Since they were unaware of the app the reality for the walkers was limited to following the River Goyt uphill.

The leader had selected a delightful spot by the side of the river where a grassy area allowed the walkers to sit on a bank and eat their lunch. What wasn’t obvious at first was the number of tiny flies that decided to crawl over the exposed skin of the walkers. They were so small that they looked like specks of dust until they moved about. Given their size it is quite remarkable how they managed to raise so many lumps that were still itching days later.

The weather forecast suggested that lunchtime would be blighted by a thunderstorm but a brief, light shower was all that arrived as the group walked across the moorland to Burbage Edge.

The target was the trig point at the summit, but it took quite a bit of puffing and resting to reach it. The hill was steep, and the peaty soil was crumbling to add to the challenge. It was lucky that the well-rooted heather provided hand holds for the walkers scrambling up. On arrival at the trig point, the leader issued flapjacks to the needy and the walkers were so overwhelmed with relief that nobody took a picture at the trig point. You know what they look like; they are four feet tall made of concrete with a flat top. More than 6,500 of them were constructed between 1936 and 1962, but the number still in place is unknown and not all of them are marked on OS maps.

The final part of the walk was on the remains of Old Buxton Road, which must have had a tarmac surface in its heyday but now is just rough bedrock covered in loose rubble.

The toilets were still locked at the end of the walk. The thunderstorm that failed to arrive in the Goyt Valley hit Sandbach just as the cars arrived.


21 Sep 2022 Tideswell  Leader: Ruth, Length of walk: 10 miles, Driving Distance: 35 miles, Number walking: 15

Start from What 3 Words  ///voucher.brisk.choice Click here to see a map of the walk.

There was little activity in Tideswell as the group left the cars parked on the main street and climbed through the community orchard. There was even less activity in the fields as they made their way to the coffee stop at Tideslow Rake. This is a scheduled ancient monument preserving the mine workings which were developed from the 12th century to the 19th. The miners were looking for lead and to extract it, they followed a vein as it wandered over the ground towards Little Hucklow. The miners left the ground covered in their spoil heaps making it very lumpy, but this time Stephen didn’t need to explain the lumpiness.

Lunch was at Great Hucklow on the village green and by the butter cross. The name is used to identify a cross that marks the site where the powers that were granted permission for a market to be held selling butter and other products.

After turning south past Grindlow the group encountered Silly Dale and someone suggested that the walkers had licence there to be silly. They have never needed permission before, but Silly Dale is not that sort of silly. In this case, silly is from the Old English word meaning pretty, so they had a licence to be pretty. No further comment is required.

Down at Wardlow Mires there were signs indicating that Cressbrook Dale needs saving, and this left the walkers wondering what the threat might be. The leader told the story of the last gibbeting in Derbyshire, where the body of a murderer was left hanging in a cage on Peter’s Stone until the locals complained that the rattling of his bones was lowering property prices. In these woke days gibbets are unlikely to be a threat and Peter’s Stone is unlikely to move any further down the dale. Geologists (not Stephen) have suggested that Peter’s Stone is a section of the limestone that was formed on a foundation of clay and slid away from the rest forming the spectacular lump. It was only when the group stopped at the shop in Litton that they found out that some TV personality who had appeared on Dragon’s Den and had then gone bankrupt had bought some land in Cressbrook Dale and was trying to make some money out of it in ways to which the locals objected. There is a website savecressbrookdale.com that explains the scandal but it is a bit tedious.

Beryl and Elaine have been testing a method for avoiding one of the major problems of the age: squeaky boots. Previous assertions that the noise results from a failure to pay for the boots have been discredited and the lady experimenters have proved that waxy tongues provide the solution. Slather the tongue of your squeaky boot with wax as many times as you need to stop the noise. Waxing the tongue in your mouth is unlikely to have any useful effect.

© Sandbach U3A 2024