2017 09 07 Lud's Limber

From Congleton three set out in perfect weather : clear bright skies , mild & dry . Crossing fields to Nick i' th' Hill & gradually climbing for several miles to High Bent , 650 feet above our start location with views over to Mow Cop & Sutton Common radio mast which became a semi permanent focal point on the route . Gently descending across fields to the first stop on picturesque Rudyard Lake , the cafe open for a quick cuppa .

Crossing the miniature railway line & making swift progress to Meerbrook where fine views of the onwards route opened out for a quick photo call . Discarding a layer in warm sunshine for the climb of imposing Hen Cloud , a fine solitary gritstone outcrop which rewarded our efforts with stunning views off the top over Tittesworth Res & much of Cheshire . Continuing along the impressive gritstone escarpment of the Roaches : soaking up fabulous views on one side across neat farmland to The Cheshire (Bosley) Cloud , the Wrekin , some distant Shropshire Hills & , in the other direction , over wild moorland toward Ramshaw Rocks & Shutlingsloe to reach the trig . Gradually downwards to Roach End to take shelter from the wind for the second stop .

Following a lovely moorland path with uninterrupted views before turning off & heading through woods to reach Lud's Church . Not a church in the conventional sense , but a unique & astonishing deep chasm carved between the gritstone layers by a land heave centuries ago : we entered by dropping down through a narrow gap to the floor & squeezing between the mossy sides of the chasm which is up to 60 feet deep & about 6 feet wide : thankfully we had it to ourselves & all you could hear was the steady drip drip of condensation off the walls ! After a few pics courtesy of Steve we exited this natural wonder , out of the trees & once more gaining open land & distant vistas to reach the aptly named Hanging Stone , heading on up to the views off the precarious lip of this overhang . Noting the two inscriptions on the Hanging Stone we descended to Danebridge – home of Wincle Brewery .

Steve had come with me on the train & Norman could spare twenty minutes so a collective decision was made to bring forward the afternoon stop & call in for a coffee or beer ( just as well , like they had any option !!! ) - the Old Hag Porter was as superb as I recalled it from the reccy , beer Shangri-La ! Tearing ourselves away (well me at least!) we followed the Dane Valley Way to join the Gritstone Trail for a final sting in the tail of the upwardly direction to reach Bosley Cloud trig , where fine long distance views could be had of the Roaches , Mow Cop & our adopted radio mast of the day on Sutton Common . For the first & only time steady rain joined us , Steve & Norman did the honours by donning waterproof trousers , which did the trick nicely as is often the case : no sooner had we descended through the trees to reach Timbersbrook picnic area than it was dry & the sun returned !

A few field paths in bright sunshine to join the towpath for the final two thirds of a mile into Congleton with just enough time to squeeze in fish & chips before the train home . Between the refreshment stops the foot was as always kept firmly to the floor with the 28 miles & 3800 feet of ascent covered in around nine hours . Thanks to Norman & Steve , a shame a few others couldn't make it who I knew were intending to come but for a variety of reasons were unable to do so .

 See photos from Steve - click here