Sticking with what was near at handDecember 21st, 2009
In those rare times when snow pays a visit, thoughts can turn to going elsewhere. So it was on Monday after with Sunday’s snow covering. In the end, I wisely stuck with enjoying what lay on my doorstep and spent and afternoon among Macclesfield’s nearby hills. Traffic may have been free-flowing and public transport running well enough for an excursion to the likes of North Wales to have worked but it would have been shameful to ignore the wonder that lay near me.
The route that I took was a familiar mix of roads and other rights of way. To start, I found my way onto the Macclesfield Canal via a very attractive Victoria Park and followed it until I reached the road near Sutton Hall, a pub near Gurnett, having taken in a section that was close up to October. Having missed out on one or two public footpath options, I followed the road around by Lyme Green to Sutton where I made photographic use of the local parish church. After that, it was more roadside footway travel until Langley where I picked up a bridleway by Teggsnose Reservoir. As I shortened the distance to the visitor centre and car park at Tegg’s Nose Country Park, the views opened up with Shutlingsloe being backed by a bank of cloud. From there, I joined the Gritstone Trail through snowy fields with the hillsides developing an certain alpenglow in the late afternoon sun. On reaching, the A537, the ridge that is Kerridge Hill lay tantalisingly before me but I tamed my ambitions to content myself with a road walk to Rainow, avoiding the steep up and down of the Gritstone Trail alternative. An untrodden public footpath beckoned but a tight stile persuaded me to stay on tarmac. From Rainow, it was roadside footway travel all of the way home in the declining light. There was a tempting bus option but I stuck with the plan of a circular walk from my own house with the street lights coming on as I went.
All of this was on familiar turf but that made it no less wonderful; never discount snow’s transforming powers. There was a mixture of uninterrupted reverie interspersed with encounters with snowball throwing and sled riding that remained of the detached observation variety. Everyone was out enjoying the results of the previous days hefty snowfall in their own way, no bad thing though there’s something to be said for leaving things where they have fallen for the enjoyment of others. After all, the chances of replenishment are not so high these days. In a way, that may make us all make more of what comes when it does and that applies to me as much as anyone. Then there’s the chance to add to your experience of winter conditions too.