With Anca. We drove from Sayang House, the rather lovely B&B in Hope Bowlder to the NT car park just below the tea room in the Carding Mill Valley. . If all you want to do is bag the Marilyn you can park a car virtually at the top of Pole Bank but that would be little short of a crime. As we set off the rain really felt rather torrential and I wasn’t sure of the wisdom of torturing Anca by dragging her up a hill in this. So we went for a brew in the (very friendly, welcoming) tearoom to think it over. By the time we were done the rain had let off a bit so up we went. The right decision. It steadily improved and ended up pretty nice. We followed the good path which climbs easily up the valley going right at the fork on what the map calls the Jack Mytton Way. Left at the top and a short walk had us on Pole Bank. The viewfinder on the summit suggests that in a good day you can see cadair Idris from here. We couldn’t but a pretty lovely view took in Stiperstones, Caer Caradoc, the Wreckin and Brown Clee Hill. We finished off our short, delightful hillwalk down the Townbrook Valley path and back to where we parked in time to grab a late bar lunch at the Green Dragon in Little Stretton where the beer looked very tempting but, with a long drive up the motorway ahead of me, I had to resist drinking it. It’s lovely down here and I really hope I can do a longer visit soon.
With Helen and Gavin. Helen and Gavin were bussing out from Macclesfield to meet me at the Cat and Fiddle at 9.50. So I arrived a bit early and treated myself to a pub breakfast there. Once they arrived we jumped into my car and headed round the corner to the small car park at the northwest end of Lamaload Reservoir. From here an attractive track, sometimes just a field path, leads past the woods and the Works and on to hit the B5470 just outside Rainow. A fair number of cows in the fields above the Works but they were placid beasts and left us alone. On we went through Rainow and up Sugar Lane, past Hough-hole Farm and on north to pick up the Gritstone Trail which we followed round to the top of White Nancy where the pillar (not exactly a pillar but I can’t think of an apter word) had been painted to commemorate the Waterloo bicentennial. (It was originally made in 1817 to commemorate that same battle.) Then it was south past the trig point on Kerridge Hill and down to Kerridge End. My nose was feeling a bit irritated by this point and it was with some shock that I realised that this was caused by sunburn. It was 1st November but the weather was quite improbably glorious, like a summer day. The news later announced that mid-Wales the same day had enjoyed the UK’s highest ever November temperature – 22.4C. It didn’t feel far off that in Cheshire.
From here we crossed a field to pick up Bull-hill Lane and followed this south. From its end we picked up the Gritstone Trail again and followed it couth across fields (a few more placid cows hereabouts) to the café at Tegg’s Nose Country Park. We wanted to stop here for ice cream but they had stopped stocking it for the winter but some cold lemonade went down very nicely. From here it was an easy walk up Tegg’s Nose and then steeply down to Teggsnose Reservoir. It was busy now. The whole of Macclesfield seemed to have come out to walk their dogs and children. We followed the road into Macclesfield Forest where something must have been going on somewhere round the Leather’s Smithy at Ridgegate Reservoir where hundreds of parked cars were lining the roadside. At Trentabank Reservoir we stopped by the kiosk where they were selling ice cream, and, in the improbable weather, selling rather a lot of it I imagine. We bought some and some more fizzy pop before setting back off down the road till we reached the three way junction at the west end of the forest. From here we had planned to return to Lamalaod over Shining Tor but our short supply of daylight was running low and we were feeling to tired to finish the full walk with the serious burst of speed the limited remaining daylight would have allowed. So we decided to head straight back up Ankers Lane. We stopped again for a quick drink at the Stanley Arms. The section of road between there and the A537 was a bit busy but the rest was on pleasant very quiet roads with wonderful views over Shining Tor and Shutlingsloe in the failing light. I ran Helen and Gavin back to Macclesfield were we finished the day with a final little drink in the Puss in Boots, their local. This was a lovely walk. With more time, at another time of year or with an earlier start, completing the full circuit over Shining Tor would make a splendid, quite tough long walk.