Head in the Clouds

Into darkest Cheshire for our latest outing. Not an area usually walked by our group and we attracted interest from other local groups, South Manchester and Staffordshire, and a couple of nomads from BBN. Fifteen in total.

This walk had been billed as 'slower pace' and perhaps one or two thought it may also be easy as it is a common misconception that Cheshire is flat. It is in places, just not where we were going. Added pressure was applied as there were strongly worded notices that the car park will shut at 5pm and any cars still there at that time would be there until the following morning. Glad to see we were welcome and the tourism industry is thriving.

Out via the Gritstone Trail straight up Bosley Cloud. A bit hazy so views over the Cheshire plain a bit limited but Shutlingsloe prominent in the opposite direction. The haze lifted a little as the morning developed and by the time we reached Gun Hill (so named apparently after a parliamentarian stronghold in the English Civil War), the sun had come out and we were treated to excellent views of The Roaches and Hen Cloud with Ramshaw Rocks beyond.

Down to Rudyard Lake for lunch with its steam driven minature railway alongside the lake. Several day trippers were out but ample seating available as we watched the boats bobbing on the water. A very relaxing location. Several took advantage of the cafe facilities and thereby contributed to the local economy.

A walk alongside the lake followed before the afternoons entertainment, provided almost exclusively by animals. Firstly some cattle were clearly spooked by us and they developed some aggressive postures although no-one came to any harm. Shortly afterwards, two rather large dogs bounded out of a farm and although they turned out to be friendly, we could have been in trouble if they were having an off day. Thankfully the pot bellied pig we encountered seemed content.

Eventually we link up with the Staffordshire Moorlands Way near Biddulph and follow an old railway track almost back to the start, getting there around 4.30pm. 21.5 miles seemed to be the GPS average with around 3000' of descent in 8 hours


1st climb of the day Afternoon break At the summit of The Cloud Directions? Early Snowdrops John & Dave near summit of Gun Hill Lunch at Rudyard Norman & Helen take a well earned break Rudyard Lake