February fools?

Flagged path across the moor Wet and windy Top Wet by the water What a sub post office!



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Hey Diddle Diddle. Sunday Feb 13th. 9.00am from Tegg's Nose Country Park A little jaunt in the Cheshire countryside.....with a couple of hills for Norman.

Fourteen weary souls gathered in the car park of Teggs Nose Country Park visitor's centre car park before 9am on Sunday 13th February, all eagerly anticipating a dose of trench foot in the heavy rain that we had been promised by one of Michael Fish's proteges.

The promise was kept.

We promptly set off at 9.10am, heading south through the now disused quarry in the direction of the village of Langley. The route didn't enter the village, but skirted Tegg's Nose and Bottoms Reservoirs. The steep and muddy descent ended at a minor road taking us to Ridgegate Reservoir and into Macclesfield Forest for our first stop of the day. Cups of tea from the excellent visitor's centre were quaffed before we started the climb that would eventually take us to the first summit of the day, Shutlingsloe.

As we ascended the wind strengthened, the temperature dropped and it got cold too. Although the rain hadn't been too bad up until this point it really was the quiet before the storm. A five minute stop to imagine the excellent views from the top was all we could stand, it was just too cold and windy to hang around. We set-off, heading west at first, before slipping and sliding down towards Wildboarclough. A dry stone wall didn't provide much shelter for our next stop on the lower slopes of the hill, but at least the rain had stopped.

For a minute.

Continuing our descent towards Wildboarclough it became a problem to keep Norman on the correct route....he kept veering off in the direction of the very excellent Crag Inn whilst the rest of the expedition obediently followed the walk leaders, Steve & Viv. Another climb followed, this time on tarmac. We passed the very grand Crag Hall, once the local sub-post office. If that was the sub-post office, the main post office must have been huge!

Before long we left the tarmac at a watery track and then onto waterlogged ground to eventually arrive at the pack-horse bridge over the infant River Dane at Three Shires Heads where the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet. On a nicer day this would be a picturesque lunch stop, but not today – it was just too wet. En-route to the Cat & Fiddle a suitable stopping place was found where butties were demolished and flasks (almost) emptied. On crossing the road to the Cat & Fiddle it once again became a problem to keep Norman on the right route....he was eventually forcible dragged away from the entrance to the pub only after convincing him that Jelly-Babies would be distributed at the next stop at Forest Chapel.

A pleasant (but muddily slippy) deviation from the original route took us away from tarmac and down to the chapel, our final stop before the end.

Heavy rain at this point tested the waterproof qualities of our clothing.....and the spirits of the expedition members. The porch of the church provided shelter for some whilst others enjoyed (endured?) their last drink of the day whilst sat on the bench seats in the church yard.

A lovely path led us through Macclesfield Forest once again, taking us to the stiff pull up to Tegg's Nose and the welcome sight of our cars – and warm, dry clothing.

I don't care what anyone else may say...I enjoyed the day AND the excellent company.

John Jocys.

Salford Trail Part 2. Weds February 23rd. 12 ml from Clifton to Worsley Old Hall

On what was to be a wet and muddy day some 23 brave souls and Maude(Hilary’s dog)turned out to walk the second leg of the Salford Trail.

We were priviledged to have Roy Bullock and his friend John (a Manchester Rambler)walking with us. Roy,who is a local Historian, together with John has described the Trail, set up the website and included a great deal of local Salford History. For those of you yet to visit the Salford Trail website I would strongly recommend this. Not least Roy has now described the last section from Cadishead to Salford Quays which we will add to the The Plodders Walking Programme in May or June. Roy says we are the first group to walk the Trail which is still in its infancy.

For the first two hours the roar of the motorway was present. Although something we would seldom do as a walk it has a certain fascination as to how public paths can run so close to the motorway and makes one wonder what it was like before the motorway! From Moss Colliery Road we briefly walked through Clifton Common and then crossed over the M60 to walk alongside it down via Wardley Grange Farm to the A6.From here we walked down Wardley Hall Road to the entrance to Wardley Hall, the Residency of the Bishop of Salford. The Hall which dates back to the 1600’s has the relics of Saint Ambrose Barker who was hung,drawn and quartered in 1641. Moving on to the very large cemetery we came across the grave of Joe Gladwin a well known Salford actor who was in The Last of the Summer Wine and other comedy series of the time.

Walking alongside the cemetery we then crossed over the East Lancs Road,and down via Wardley Woods to Roe Green, passing beneath the M60 en route. After a brief stop we noted that Michael Vaughan,former English Cricket Captain responsible for winning the Ashes back in 2006, was christened at the Methodist Church on the Green. Passing on we crossed the East Lancs Road again and walked up alongside the Golf Course at Ellesmere and alongside the spur road leading to the M61. This section was exceptionally muddy. Crossing the railway we followed the path alongside the railway, passing the local fishing club pool and over the A6 to reach Linnyshaw Garden Centre. This section of the Trail is also part of the Bolton Boundry Walk (Rotary Way).

From here via the old railway track we reached Blackleach Country Park and the Visitors Centre. Here the Rangers had very kindly organised a large table for us to have our lunch. They also laid on copious amounts of tea and coffee. The Centre does much credit to them with displays of local flora,birds and history. The area was honeycombed with mines and mineral railway lines.

After a relaxed lunch we walked back to the extension of the railway track and continued our journey along the track which was sadly littered with household debris. Bill found an Asda Trolley which was sufficiently intact to give Ann a ride along the track and distract us from the surroundings. Passing on into a recently landscaped area and then onto a large open area of football pitches we reached the Loop Line which was to take us on to Walkden.

On commencing this section Reg asked that we cast our minds back to the Halycon days of steam engines and imagine we were the engine driver coasting along the the line down to Monton. The track has been converted into a very good path and local school children have made displays to demonstrate the various mineral lines that joined the original line.

We passed beneath the pipes of the Thirlmere Aqueduct,under a further bridge with a plaque to say it was made by an Engineering firm in Miles Platting. Futher on we passed the site of the Little Hulton Railway Station (1875-1954) and eventually crossed over to the former Leigh to Monton railway track. From here we passed beneath the East Lancs Road and Reg asked if this was a bridge or tunnel?

After a further 10 minutes we crossed the East Lancs Road yet again and via the golf course and Marriott Hotel we reached Worsley Old Hall where some of us enjoyed liquid refreshment and the comfort of the armchairs in the bar. The walk ended at 3.45 pm some 30 minutes ahead of time! Vi guessed correctly the number of times we had crossed or passed under the East Lancs Road…6 times. Reg owes her £1. We are still debating whether it was a bridge or tunnel! Suggestions welcome.

Unfortunately David Hudson is not at present able to help the Plodders Walking programme so if any of you are so inclined Reg would welcome support to reccy and help lead future walks. Please ring 01257 474319.
Five star dining facilities Heading towards Walkden Near Clifton in the rain The trek back on old railway line Under the Thirlmere Aquaduct Wardley Cemetery in the rain