Franks Pike Idea

A joint walk with the Irregulars led by Duncan Smith.

This is the first walk that I have lead for the Irregulars. The turnout was nine including guest walker Helen (Merseyside). We started by traversing the spectacular Millennium bridge. Constructed in 2000 it overtops the River Goyt clinging precipitously to the railways stone retaining wall and overlooking Torrs Mill, one of the mills that give 'New Mills' its name. This bridge has been shut for a long while, re-opening in May. Next we came to the New Mills micro-hydro scheme, an Archimedian screw capable of generating 50kw. This too has been out of action for a couple of years but today it was working. So the world is saved, it will banish the much-hyped threat of global warming, or at least power the freezer cabinets in the New Mills Co-op. All these lie in 'The Torrs', a spectacular gorge through which the River Goyt traverses New Mills.
A long trudge up wet paths took us to the top of Chinley Churn. This is one of those hills where the grand vista is hidden until the last few steps where was revealed a watery sun giving a golden glow to the scenic Hayfield to Chinley valley all backed by the mist shrouded ramparts of Kinder Scout.
We dropped to the 'Peep O'Day' cottage then took the path to Phoside, an old mill. We had our butties here then had a tricky crossing of its stream over slippery stones. Later the path drops steeply to a concrete track, difficult in the dry but today it was wet and treacherous. The concrete paths steep, smooth surfaces gave no grip and Helen lost control of her legs and fell, emulated straight away by Julie. No need for mountain rescue, both girls were unhurt.
After Birch Vale we climbed towards Lantern Pike ignoring the two signs on a house stating 'Please respect our privacy, do not stare at our house'. Everyone does, it has a view to die for. Frank puffed up to the summit where I pointed out the pub where he had suggested, half brick in hand, that I lead a walk or else. Actually our pub was in the opposite direction. This was the Little Mills at Rowarth where we were welcomed by the Landlord, Ian. The Little Mills beer was good as were the chips, soup etc. Nor were we nearly snowed in as I was on my first visit to it, an office Xmas meal. We had an auction for Helens hat. 
At the junction of FP's 21 and 22 I pointed out the recently repaired stile, repaired after it was reported by the local PNFS inspector (that's me folks). They have not cleared the overgrown FP22 though. Malc photographed many PNFS signs on the walk. 
Up onto Cown edge, the last of our three hills. Descending via Near Slack farm we spotted a stone circle, of prehistoric appearance. But it is not prehistoric, it is not marked on maps, and was not there when I moved into the area, I believe it to be a newly built folly. Malc questioned my age. After the Children's Inn the group were delighted by a mile of soft, blister free walking, i.e. knee deep in mud. That made me popular. Well I has rained a lot of late, but not today, a dry day for once with some sun. A final climb up by Broadhurst plantation was followed by a long descent down to 'The Torrs' below Hague Bar. We finished by following the River Goyt back to New Mills. We covered 18 1/2 miles and 3,300ft of ascent in 8 hours 20 minutes.