Fabulous February?


Sunday February 3rd. Hey Diddle Diddle. 17 miles

 Leader: Bob James. 13 walkers and 1 dog.




MAJESTIC SCENERY, beautiful landscapes; sweeping vistas:- all obscured by low cloud and persistent rain. As if that wasn't bad enough the most telling feature was the biting cold wind that came in from the west and kept everyone huddled beneath layers of protective clothing.
No prizes for guessing that this walk began at the Cat & Fiddle Pub on the A537 Macclesfield to Buxton road at one of the Peaks highest and loveliest vantage points.
My Thanks to the brave 13 who turned up in the unpredictable late winter weather; though I later heard terms such as “fool-hardy; idiotic and reckless” to describe the dear souls who entrusted me with their welfare.
I should perhaps acknowledge early on the source of this walk. It was taken from an excellent website entitled www.walkingbritain.co.uk. which lists hundreds of walks that should match every walkers needs, regardless of ability or experience. A site worth visiting if you have not yet come across it. I should also acknowledge the author though can't find/see his/her name on the literature that accompanies the guide. If he/she reads this I hope they will forgive me for making one or two slight detours and alterations to the walk. The credit remains theirs. An excellent write up for anyone interested in reading about it. For a more detailed write up of the walk please visit the website and type in “walk #614”.
We set off westwards from the C&F to meet up with the ancient track that leads up onto the moor. Following the path which gradually veers northwards before heading westward again down (then up again) towards Shining Tor.
Heading north again along the well laid paved track leads towards Cat Tor and then onto Windgather Rocks; a popular spot for climbers.
Just past Windgather we swung east to approach Overton Hall Farm. It was here that I deviated from the original guide which directs walkers onto the Midshires Way. That route takes you uphill and through dense woodland. Nothing wrong with that you might say though I preferred dropping downhill and crossing the reservoir road at the north end of Fernilee Reservoir and then taking in the views from the east side. Much more rewarding in my eye; especially so when I first walked the route late October when the leaves were all turning. Spectacular colours and worth a return visit.


Moving south along the east side of Fernilee we climbed up onto the road bridge separating Fernilee from Errwood Reservoir. Crossing the road bridge we then travelled along the west bank of Errwood, moving south. The road is a one lane access road with limited access; a welcome relief in very bad weather. A stop was planned at Derbyshire Bridge which marked the old boundary between Cheshire and Derbyshire before the changes made in the 1960's.
We'd covered approximately 11 miles here with the option given for those wanting to shorten the walk to return up the B road which would have taken them straight back to the Cat & Fiddle. This was also a planned 'escape routes' if the weather had turned foul.


A show of hands revealed that 11 of the 13 preferred the welcome log fire and warm beverages of the cat & Fiddle over a further 2 hours of biting wind and sweeping rain with low visibility.
From Derbyshire Bridge the route WOULD HAVE taken us south to cross the A537 and onto Axe Edge Moor before skirting Cheeks Hill, which the Guide tells me is the highest point in Staffordshire. A good pub quiz question!
The route then follows the path to the rear of Orchard Farm picking up the Dane Valley which which swung us back north again and through the disused quarries before reaching the A54 chimney stack.


From there it would be a simple trek over Danebower Hollow and the welcoming site of the Cat & Fiddle Pub. A rewarding beverage was enjoyed though the pleasures of the nearby Peak View Tea Rooms.
I was approached by several walkers on the final stage back to the pub about putting this walk on again which I readily agreed to. It offers magnificent views across Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire, along with chocolate pictures along the two reservoirs.
Next time; fingers crossed for better weather.



Wednesday February 13th. Up and Over. 14 miles from Belmont.

Leaders: Kathy Page & Chris Hopkins.14 walkers and two dogs (Holly and Mica)


Well Chris & I thought we would be the only two on the car park but as 10am approached we had 14 walkers & two dogs. It was blowing a gale & already blizzard conditions on the car park so the concensus was to keep to low level & not do as the walk said Up and Over!! This turned out to be a really good decision.

We had Chris's daughter Izzy with us for her first LDWA walk & Mr Gadget Yorkshireman! So we had no sooner set off & John Crook sprung into action rescuing a sheep caught up in the brambles.  We followed the blue lagoon path & dropped into the valley leading to Dunscar golf club. After a short break & snowball frivolity (not me honest) the snow became heavier but spirits were still high. We survived the dogs guarding the farm before our lunch break at Barrow Bridge; no sooner had we cleared the tables of snow they were covered again.

Then up through Bolton golf course towards High Rid Reservoir. I had a surprise of the footpath now being closed, which we have used for years. Luckily Roger knew an alternative route - thanks Roger.
The snow was really heavy now so we thought it was best just to walk the quickest & easiest route back to the cars. Thanks to Doreen & Gareth leading us past the Pigeon tower & back to the cars. The same rescued sheep was now wandering aimlessly down the road (it must have a deathwish!). Everyone got home in one piece & well done to Izzy for finishing the walk (think it put her off for life).

Roll on summer when we can walk in shorts again.

Kath Page


Sunday February 17th. Blackstone Edge. 20 miles.

Leader: Andy Griffin. 18 walkers and 5 dogs.

After a pretty miserable start to the year weather wise Sunday was blest with clear sunny weather for a twenty mile walk through the South Pennines. I was joined on the walk by 18 walkers and 5 dogs.

The route before the mid-morning break took us from the White House down to the Rochdale canal via Chelburn. The canal was followed to Ealees for a break at Hollingworth Lake visitors centre. However in Ealees one of the dogs (a trail hound) did a runner and I had to leave the owners tracking one of their dogs which was fitted with a transponder. A first for a walk I’ve lead. It seems the dog has done this before and can go quite considerable distances once it picks up a scent.

So after a break at Hollingworth, 17 walkers and three dogs  continued towards Piethorn and lunch at Readycon Dean Reservior which was bathed in sunshine but open to a cold SE wind. We then walked towards the Pennine Way where we joined it on Huddersfield Road. We walk to Windy Hill, crossing the M62 to bear right to Green Withens Reservoir where our last break was taken.

The walk then took us across Rishworth Moor and finished with a loop around Light Hazzles Edge and we finished by 4.05pm.

Thanks to everyone who came along,




Thank you to Andy Dobney for the pictures


Wednesday February 27th. The Greenheart Way Part 2.

Leader: John Bullen. 15 walkers and 3 dogs. 15 miles from Pennington Flash.



The Greenheart Way – or In Search of the Leigh Leprechauns!!!!!!!




What a beautiful day it was to go searching for Leprechauns! It really was glorious and we couldn’t have asked for anything better. Just to remind everyone, the Greenheart Way is a swathe of land between Haigh Hall at Wigan and Pennington Flash at Leigh. Norman led Part 1 from the Pie-Eaters end and John planned the route from the Lobby Gobblers neck of the woods.




Fifteen people on such a lovely day was a good turnout and it was refreshing to see Peter Todd out with us again after a long absence, even if we did have to go a mile off route to pick him up! Off we went round the south east bank of the Flash to the impressive Byrom Hall, reputed to be haunted and certainly looking as though it could be!     




A trek round the outside of Byrom Wood brought us into Lephrechaun country and John promised us even if we didn’t see one there would be proof of their existence. There it was at the Leprechaun Bench, one of the Little Men, disturbed in his sunbathing had left his boots next to the bench (see photos!).




We had a coffee break in the quite beautiful orchard at Lightshaw Hall before heading off down a disused railway line for the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. We departed the towpath at Abram into Viridor Woods and across to Three Sisters. It was so lovely sat in the sunshine eating our butties and watching the ducks, swans, geese and moorhens that we really didn’t want to get under way again.




Eventually we cracked the whip and got going and it was out along the bridleway to Landsgate Lane, through more woodland to Scotsman’s Flash. Heavy mud on the recce had forced the decision to stick to the canal on the actual day. It made for a long towpath trek in as we headed back to Pennington Flash to finish just before four.