Sunday, 25 September 2011

Lakeland sojourn.

We're off to the Lake District for a week (30 Sept to 7th Oct), so watch this space for the pictures in a couple of weeks time. For pics of our last visit, please click on this link

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

East face of the Matterhorn.........

 .....well, maybe not THE Matterhorn, just what they call the 'Cheshire Matterhorn', or Shutlingsloe!
We parked up opposite the Cat & Fiddle pub, a really remote place on the top of the moors, looked out across the expanse of Wildboarclough (where the last wild boar in England was reputed to have been killed)........
........and set off into the 'gorgeousness'. 
We were soon leaving the Cat & Fiddle behind as we looked back across the moor.

 As we reached the top of the rise, we saw the huge outline of the Roaches in front of us, like a dragons back on the horizon.

 We also got our first peep at Shutlingsloe. That was our objective today, but we had a fair bit of walking to do before we reached it.
 We dropped steeply into Danethorn hollow to join Cumberland brook.
 At the side of the brook stands this very remote cottage. The grassy track on the left is the only access to it. I don't know if it's still inhabited (it was at one time), or if it is used as a holiday cottage?
 Thar she blows!! The CLASSIC view of Shutlingsloe, and my particular favourite. I've seen this in snow, frost, sun etc, and it always delights me.

 The berries on the hawthorn were now ready for the hungry birds, should winter be a hard one.
 We crossed the bridge at the bottom of Cumberland brook.........

 .......looked back up the brook...........

 ....and made our way though Clough House farm, always one of the neatest farms I've seen.
Their free range hens came to investigate us and see if we had anything for them.

 The last of the swallows could be seen working hard to catch their last meals before heading off for the winter. It wouldn't be long now until they'll be lining up on the telephone wires, readying themselves for the long journey ahead.
I saw this lone ladybird. 'She' was very dormant and didn't want to move at all.

 The meadows, although in their last flush, still looked good. Not as colourful as in recent months, but Summer is now over, so that's to be expected.
 But now the hard slog began. We approached the East flank of Shutlingsloe. As we climbed, so the views got better. This is looking back to Cumberland brook and Wildboarclough.
 In no time, we were at the top, looking over to the Roaches. You can also see the edge of Tittesworth reservoir glinting on the right there.
 SMILE! (click).

 We spent a good while on top. It was quite windy (as is usual up there) but the wind was warm so we were in no hurry to leave. Once we're on top of these high places, we are ALWAYS reticent to leave as we both love it so much. The exhilaration on such a clear day in indescribable. But, leave we must, so we started down towards the Macclesfield forest on the slabbed pathway built to combat the erosion.
 A couple of large bracket fungi, looking like a pair of clogs sticking out of the tree!
 At the bottom, we sat on a handy wooden seat for lunch. It was at this point my camera battery died. No problem, I always carry a spare (but then, I really SHOULD make sure that I re-charged the spare - which, of course, I hadn't), so I was left with only my phone camera. It was a good job I DID have that, because just as we set off after lunch, Sue spotted something in the trees to our right, and 'shushed' me. What was it she had seen?
 YES! Two beautiful deer, what a great spot. Sue has a way with seeing these 'hidden' things. We called in at the Trentabank ranger station when we reached the edge of the forest, and he told us there were very few in the forest, and that some people had been coming for twenty years, and still not seen deer. We were very lucky, thanks to Sue.
We dropped into the valley, crossed Ridgegate reservoir. 
 We JUST missed getting a half in this lovely 'Leathers Smithy' pub. They closed at three, it was ten past when we got there.
This lane leads down to Forest chapel. As you can see, the rain decided to pay us a visit, so Sue is now suitably attired! Truth is, as soon as we'd suited up, the sun came out again, and we were steaming! We only had the wet gear on for about 30 minutes.

 As we made our way back up to the Cat & Fiddle, Sue remarked that somehow I seemed to have written a walk that was upwards for 90% of it. I just told her to stop whinging ;-)
As we climbed, we could see the view of Shutlingsloe that leads to its 'Matterhorn' nickname. The sky here looks lovely, but within ten minutes, it had changed.......

As we reached the road, we could see the storm clouds gathering, and the rain falling on the distant horizon. We had been very lucky today with the weather, and as we reached the car and pulled off our boots, we thought; 'another great day in the bag'.

Friday, 9 September 2011

A bit of wind!

Again, we went two weeks without a day off, so we were more than ready to blow away the cobwebs. Thing was, the weather forecast was AWFUL. Heavy rain and high winds, they said. We pottered about in the morning, and when we finally got out and drove to Upper Burbage bridge and parked up, the rain was really beating against the windscreen. It was at this point that Sue realised that her waterproof trousers were in her other sack. What to do? We sat for about 15 minutes, and amazingly, it stopped! I made a decision, we booted up, and we were off. The idea was, with it being late(ish), we'd walk along Stanage edge as far as we could in the time we'd got, and come back.
Please remember, you can view a larger version of any of these pictures by clicking on it. Click on the 'back' button to return to the blog.
This was the dreary view along Burbage rocks, we wanted a nice, sunny day!

 Oh well, our spirits were soon lifted as we got the air in our lungs, and the breeze in our hair. It was GOOD to be out again :-) We could see the start of the edge ahead, and our pace quickened.
The heather was just past its best now, but it still looking lovely, even though the light wasn't very good.
 Once up on the edge, we could see the whole thing in front of us. WHAT a draw! The sky didn't look that promising, but I hadn't forgotten MY waterproof trousers, so it was ok :-)
In no time at all, we were at the trig point. Super views from here today. 
 The mighty Stanage edge, with the run of Win hill and the Lose hill to Mam tor ridge behind.
 We could hear a very pronounced whistling on the edge, so we walked over to investigate - we soon found out it was a VERY high wind, I estimated gusts of around 50MPH. This is Sue, 'discovering' it for the first time.
 Really loving it now - and enjoying it too.
 Until a REALLY hard gust blew her over (and I almost joined her).
Of course, once we'd started, we couldn't stop and spent about an hour 'playing' in various hot spots along the edge. You can see us by clicking here;
A lot of women fuss if they get a hair out of place - Sue likes NOTHING BETTER than having hers blown by the wind (and me too). When did you last see a happier face?

 The sweep of Stanage, always a moving sight.

 Looking down towards Hathersage (which you can't see, it's just over the ridge).
 We even got a little bit of blue sky, which we NEVER expected today. "Enough to make a sailor a pair of trousers", my Mum used to say.

 However, looking over Castleton, we could see the rain falling.
The 'great ridge' of Win hill, lose hill and Mam tor.

 Some of the gargantuan rocks on Stanage edge.
 Weathered and wind-cut, these rocks have been here for millions of years, facing whatever is thrown at them. They show the scars of time.
 They are also good for millstones, or were. The 'industry' died suddenly, and many stones were abandoned, even seemingly finished ones.

 These remnants of a bygone industry litter these gritstone edges.
Tired, windblown but happy, it was time to go, but today would be remembered for a LONG time to come.