Over the past two months, we appear to have got unseasonably mild weather with a succession of storms and heavy rain. The only exception was the past week of cold weather with frost and spells of snow that have affected Macclesfield’s hill country more than its nearest town. Buxton , being higher up than Macclesfield also got its coating of snow as did parts of the Derbyshire Dales like Litton. In the case of the latter, this was short lived.
When it comes to the torrents of rain that have been coming our way, Macclesfield again fares better than parts of Cumbria, Lancashire or Yorkshire. The River Bollin has dug its own valley and that thankfully most homes in the area unthreatened during its states of spate. Seeing one of these conjured up images using the adjective molten and I must admit to catching myself questioning such an impression.
What is beyond question is that the countryside is saturated after all that has come our way. That conclusion was unavoidable after two muddy walks on what I now call my home patch. One was a circuit on Christmas Eve that went around by Prestbury and another followed on the Tuesday following Christmas Day when I trotted around by Tegg’s Nose, Rainow and Kerridge. That last stravaig took me along part of the Gritstone Trail too and I could have done with the walking poles that I left at home on steep slippery muddy inclines, especially downhill ones not so far from Gulshaw Hollow. The fact that I made use of the only sunny day between Christmas and New Year easily made up for such obstacles and the need for boot cleaning afterwards.
Still, the muddy state of footwear caused me to make use of wellington boots that I acquired nearly a year ago in wet snow on the same Prestbury circuit that made use of the sunny afternoon that we were gifted on Christmas Eve. There also was some testing of a new GPS receiver too and more remains to be said about that in the fullness of time.
The first such circuit took along the course of the River Bollin until a change of direction near Prestbury took me towards Heybridge Lane (but not as far as that) and across the golf course at Tytherington Club, the latter of which being too wet to be playable. Then, a meandering though well known route took me around the outskirts of Tytherington to reach the Middlewood Way that took me most of the way home again.
The second excursion was more soggy with a hike along the banks of the Macclesfield Canal preceding a yomp through Dane Moss Nature Reserve that reminded me of the possibility of exploring more around there using the duckboards that have been set in place. From there, I crossed some very soggy fields before emerging on tarmac again. The latter made me pay for the lack of cushioning in wellington boots so they are best left for soft ground. Even so, I still fancy the idea of having them with me on a walk for when conditions are likely to overwhelm normal walking boots and gaiters. That unhelpfully assumes that the said soft ground is not likely to obstruct any change of footwear and that cannot be forgotten either in the spirit of being realistic.
Hopefully, things will start to dry up soon and that will need a dry month of March and even April too. Before then though, there looks to be no let up at the time of writing and those previous hopes are there to be dashed too. Such is the way with our maritime climate that it is best not to puff up one’s aspirations lest they lead to despair should they be vanquished. 2015 may have spoilt us and 2016 has a lot to come yet so let us have patience for now.