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!
A thought recently struck me. There has been a fair amount of melancholy and reminiscence in what has appeared on here during this year. The events of the last few years and the resultant change of circumstances will have been part of this, so much so that I now am taking the time to take stock of things before anything else happens. After all, moving forward to happier prospects would bring happier tales for sharing too.
Depletion of energy reserves has not helped either and even causes me to reprise routes previously followed instead of exploring new ones. That brings its share of reminiscence and there is a bit of that here too, even though I am recalling a route that was varied rather than repeated.
The original hike took place at the end of January 2009 and it now feels like a very different time. After all, that was eight years ago and a lot has happened since then. There was a change of job, bereavements and subsequent inheritance as well as other things that have gone on in the world. It is all too easy to look back to a happier time when work was steady and ageing parents still retained their independence despite their advancing years. What really is needed is to create moments from which new happy memories can be gained.
The account of the more recent walk takes me back to May 2015 when so much was behind me and so much lay ahead of me. Usefully, work then offered a lull that allowed me to make use of a sunny day to revisit a trail that I fancied seeing again in brighter sunshine and with less wind about. The first would allow for the creation of satisfying photos while the second would make for easier walking.
My starting point was the currently closed Cat and Fiddle Inn. From there, my route took me along Whetstone Ridge before descending through Danethorn Hollow along the headwaters of Cumberland Brook. Clouds may have abounded but there was amble sunshine too as I followed a path first spied on a muddy walk in November 2004 that took me as far as Rushton Spencer via Three Shire Heads and the Dane Valley Way.
The descent was steep as far as the track linking Clough House with the A54. As I was headed for the former, the descent continued and it passed woodland as I continued to shadow the brook before crossing it at a ford. When I reached the roadside, I decided against a shortcut along a public footpath that appeared to pass through a farmyard in preference to going around by road to reach another one that would get me going towards Shutlingsloe. That passed along the edge of woodland as it shadowed the road below while gaining some useful height.
Eventually, I had to double back on myself for a while as more height was gained until a final turn led me directly to Shutlingsloe’s summit. Dappling of landscape by broken cloud cover was there to be witnessed as I continued my ascent. Care with timing meant that I could control how shaded my surroundings would appear in any photo so it was not as if I was going to lose completely the delights of sunlit landscape.
My route down from Shutlingsloe was a reverse of one followed only last week, albeit with some deviations that I cannot explain. The way down to Macclesfield Forest and the track through there was the same as was that along lanes as far as Forest Chapel. Following Charity Lane brought me to path through more of Macclesfield Forest. It was then that I first met the sign at a cross of four tracks that again met last week. Hacked Way Lane should have featured too but it was after that where I inexplicably turned to field crossings on various public footpaths instead of sticking with the track that ran between them. It is all the more curious given that I was headed for Tegg’s Nose.
My route also went around another Clough House before picking up Sadler’s Way to reach the visitor centre for Tegg’s Nose Country Park. Sunshine still abounded though my memory would have me believe that everything has clouded over, such are the tricks that can be played on you. The way from Tegg’s Nose back home is one that I have taken that I hardly is worth mentioning. That also may explain how I have so little to say about it because other memories could take over even if it did.
All in all, the day was a satisfying one that produced a good collection of pleasing photos. Dan Kieran may have written in his book “The Idle Traveller” that he trusts the evolution of memories in his mind more than photos when recalling his travels. When your recollections are gap-filled like mine, then photos really come into their own when rebuilding something to recall afterwards. There are those who reckon that they may take from the overall experience but that is not how I feel, especially when looking at them again brings its share of satisfaction after the passage of time. Anything that fuels future happy reminisces has to be good.
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