| Sunday July 24th2011.
ANTLERS and AQUEDUCTS.
20 miles from Marple.
We departed from Marple station on time to make our way to the Peak Forest canal and the highest section of the Marple flight of locks. These were passed before joining the Macclesfield canal at the intersection, shortly making our way past some stunning waterside properties with decking to the waters edge. One even included a ramp for the ducks to make easy access out of the water.
Good views were seen to the right over towards Greater Manchester and beyond, before stopping for a coffee break at a very pleasant marina with canal side cafe. The Peak District hills coming into view ahead before eventually leaving the canal to make our way to the summit of Sponds Hill and the trig point( the 3rd highest point in Cheshire.)
From here we picked up the Gritstone trail to the bowstones and the descent into Lyme park for our lunch break on the lawns in front of the lake. (ALAS for the ladies NO Colin Firth did appear from the water!)
Encouragement was needed to move the group from this point, passing the magnificent house on the way out of the park and going up the hill past the "Cage" built apparently so the Ladies could watch their menfolk hunting in bygone days.
We then made our way to the Peak Forest canal taking a detour from this to the Goyt valley and the Roman lake for refreshment; before returning to the canal and the intersection with the Macclesfield canal.
Retracing the top section of the flight of locks, we then took in the splendour of the whole series of locks descending down to the Aqueduct and Viaduct. A more splended section of canal would be difficult to find anywhere in the country.
A fitting end to a perfect days walking.
Wednesday July 27th.
Werneth Low and Etherow.
Leader: Mike Burton.
Our select little group of 5 did an interesting figure of eight. We started by going down through Brabyns Park to Marple then up to Mellor Church to enjoy the views and a well-earned coffee break.
After heading northwards once again to Mill Brow and Ernocroft, we crossed the Glossop Road and dropped down into the Etherow Country Park to have our lunch at the picnic site near Weir Cottage.
After lunch one member of the group took the planned option of returning to the car park, before the rest of us did the loop around to Werneth Low; we arrived back at the Car Park at about 3.30, having enjoyed a nice gentle 12 mile walk with superb views, lots of interesting corners, and plenty of interesting conversation.
Tuesday July 26th.
The Shoe Trail, Cribden Hill and the Panoptican.
5 mile evening stroll from Rawtenstall. 22 walkers and 5 dogs.
Leader: Chris Green.
Another lovely evening both weather and walk wise. There was a warning that this stroll was a little hilly and Chris was true to his word. From the railway station in the bottom of the valley there was only one way - up! We walked through Whitaker Park up to the base of the now closed Ski slope. Along the way were several signs that we were on the Shoe Trail, a reminder of the past industry of this valley. Unfortunately many had evidence of vandalism.
Contouring round we climbed to the top of the ski slope and then encountered a field of very frisky cattle. It took some manouvering to get the dogs and people across safely.
The path levelled out for a while before another push up to the Panoptican called 'Halo'. Here we had a break for sweets and took in the magnificent views of the surrounding scenery. There was a final climb up to the base of Cribden Hill and most went up the extra steep slope to reach the very top. A few wimps (including me) waited and had a nice chat.
From here it was downhill all the way. Past an unfriendly farm, back to the top of the ski slope and then down a side path to reach the park and so to the cars. Some went on to a pub for a drink. Another excellent walk in an area we have not visited for a while.