What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!
The last Saturday of September came up sunny and weariness had forestalled my trotting elsewhere. Teesdale had lain in my mind for a while but I never could summon the energy for a Saturday morning getaway. The previous weekend saw me head to a retail park on the outskirts of Macclesfield for a bit of computer component shopping by using the Macclesfield Canal for part of the way there. The ambience and sights of that stroll still remain with me. Maybe it got me to sample the Saddle of Kerridge the very next Saturday.
It may have been later in the afternoon than it should have been by the time that I got myself over to Bollington to start my way along Ingersley Vale. There may have been a number of public footpaths luring me away from the tarmac but I stuck to my planned course of making for the Gritsone Trail and following up to the White Nancy Monument as I had done several times before. The sun was out so there were more than enough excuses for stopping on the way up. Cloud was packing northern skies but it stayed away from where the sun was going, never a bad thing.
On my final approach to the White Nancy, I spotted that it had been decorated with royal arms to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and the Olympic rings were added to the other side. The double decoration highlighted quite what a year 2012 had been and why so many will have good memories from then even if economic conditions could have been better.
Like I did in April 2011, I continued along the Saddle of Kerridge with the still active quarry to my right. Being at the weekend, this was all quiet so views in the opposite direction were there to be enjoyed in peace. They were of the hills surrounding Rainow and I kept going towards the trig point at the top of Kerridge Hill, a course that took me away from the Gritstone Trail and gained me more panoramic vistas to survey.
Next, I lost height to reach the B5470 that links Macclesfield to Rainow, Kettleshulme, Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith. While I could have followed that road to make my way home, I decided that it was too early in the day to do so and made for Calrofod Lane. There was some dalliance with a footpath going by Marsh Farm but the farmyard seemed busy to me so I returned to the road instead; having grown up on a farm, I don’t posses a burning wish to stroll through the farmyards of others when I am out in the countryside.
From Calrofod Lane, it was onto Cliff Lane and then up to the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton. Once across the latter, I was away from tarmac again and skirt a Forestry Commission wood on a path leading to another stretch of the Gritstone Trail. The sun was starting to drop in the sky by this stage to make all shadows ever longer and even got stuck behind cloud cover too to make them disappear again at times. That was no perturbation as I made my way to Tegg’s Nose and that hill even became lit up for a while too.
Once there, a chance to gaze towards Shutlingsloe was afforded to me again. However, it wasn’t to be a chance to reprise photos like ones that I made previously, yet another useful excuse for another visit should the opportunity present itself. Retracing my steps from the car park, I rejoined the Gritstone Trail and followed it until I was dropped between Teggsnose and Bottoms reservoirs. Before. there was plenty more higher level tramping that on another day would have gained even more pleasing photos; it was no hardship to content oneself with the views though. There was procession by the remains of quarry works with old machinery and information boards offering deviations from just walking continuously. The latter even highlighted the health risks of inhaling dust during stone cutting and dressing, a world away from the peaceful recreation that the place now offers.
By those reservoirs, I took leave of the Gritstone Trail to drop into the village of Langley. Light was declining well by now but that didn’t deter me from escaping road walking to follow a well trodden public footpath by Birch Knoll and The Hollins. It is well known to me too so the risk was a calculated one and I was a little surprised to hear the sound of golf balls being struck as I crossed a golf course. Beyond there, it was a short trot along a street before I dropped onto the towpath of the Macclesfield Canal as the day well into the throes of dusk if not nightfall. Going the rest of the way home took place along streets with lights on overhead so everything was timed well.
One thought that kept recurring in my mind throughout the afternoon and early evening was how infrequent my incursions into Macclesfield’s hill country can be. After all, I should be going up Shutlingsloe more often than once every few years; a few times a year sounds more like it. Part of the reason may be how much there is to savour in the hills separating Macclesfield from Buxton. After all, 2012 became a year when I enjoyed a lot of walks that didn’t take me so far from home so it all can’t be the allure of hill or coastal countryside that lies further afield. Still, redoubling of efforts sounds not a bad thing to go doing.
Bus service 10 from Macclesfield to Bollington.
Please be aware that comment moderation is enabled and may delay the appearance of your contribution.