30th July: Claverly Done
17 of us set off with our intrepid leader who scythed the way to Claverley via Hilton brook and Ludstone hall. We Had 2 young walkers with us which brought down our average age to 45, and Dave from Chelmarsh who was a camera member and very knowledgeable of good local pubs in the area. Claverley is a picturesque village with 2 great pubs plus a gem of a medieval church.after our lunch in Claverley our leader set of back to Worfield through the Morfe valley stopping off at the Red Lion. Great day out and no predicted rain. Claverley done Ken!
27th July: High Wheeldon
Eight of us set off from Earl Sterndale in rain which was certainly heavy enough to put on our waterproof tops. We ascended Hitter Hill and, by the time we had descended to Underhill Farm, the rain had become heavier so we had to don the rest of our waterproofs. We continued along the floor of the Dove Valley passing Pilsbury Castle where we stopped to study the information displays.
We continued following the path and crossed a minor road before we encountered a "crossroads finger post" where we turned left and climbed up the hill to cross the minor road again. On the opposite side of the road we climbed a ladder stile onto the open access land above the valley. There were no clear paths but we managed to find our way navigating via the ladder stiles. By now the breeze had blown the clouds away and we even had some sunny intervals as we were able to take in the views both up and down the valley. We passed through fields of bright yellow ragwort until we reached a wall by the road which climbs out above Crowdecote where we enjoyed our lunch.
After crossing the road we were able to follow a waymarked track to the top of High Wheeldon. From the trig point there were great views up the valley of Chrome and Parkhouse Hills. We then descended High Wheeldon and walked along to Earl Sterndale where we enjoyed a drink in the Quiet Woman.
23rd July: Nesscliffe
Thanks for a great day out, Good pub, pleasant route through the Perry valley with superb views from the top of Nesscliffe hill of Welsh Borders and all the Shropshire hills. On the down side l am still trying to remove all the rape seed from my clothes and other nooks and crannies, still scratching and itching!
16 July: Offa the Dyke and Onto the beach
The journey to Trelawynd was perhaps longer than usual but it turned out to be well worth it. We booted up on the car park in the village and and donned Kagoules as we set off to a drizzling and slightly misty start, as we headed for the hills above Trelawynd.
Eleven of us were out today on a walk which was as pretty as it was varied. Not long after starting a steady hill climb upto Graig Fawr the sun came out to greet us and to escort us for the whole day. At the top we were relieved from heatstroke by a pleasant sea breeze blowing up from the Welsh Channel. Here we had our morning break as we gazed out over the suburbs of Prestatyn and Rhyll. To the west south west was Snowdonia and to the south, Llantysilio Mountain and Moel Famau could be seen . After a short drop and another short climb we traversed the path running through the woods above Prestatyn before dropping down into the bustling town. This then became a trip down memory lane for those of us who had spent our childhood holidays here.
Pub lunch al fresco and then off down to the promenade to meet the beach. Here we turned east along the prom untill it ran it's course and we took to the dunes like the Foreign Legion. The pace started to quicken around this point as we pushed on hard to make an impromtu dinner date arranged by Jan at a local hostelry in Trelawnyd, for the alloted and latest available time of 17.45 hrs. This did not stop us from enjoying an ice cream stop as we passed by a holiday camp shop. Despite the pace the afternoon's walk was still a gem as we rose and fell across several wooded and pastured hillsides on the way back to Trelawnyd. The anticipated climb of Gop Hill, the grande finale, was thwarted by our schedule and also by forestry work, so we hastened on down the track to the village for our dinner date. This turned out to surpass all the expectations we had for an ordinary village pub in an 'off the tourist track location'. In short the meal and the service was as excellent as it was well priced.
Well done Jan for a memorable day out.
Wonderful views from morning tea stop of the western profile of the Snowdonia mountain range plus looking down on the lush vale of Clwyd and the sweeping Kimmel bay. On route to the sea we came upon an amazing metal sculpture of a Roman helmet in which we stood for a photo. Onto the dunes after lunch then a steady climb back to the start with a brief stop to view Liverpool bay and cathedral. Great end to the day with a meal in the Crown Inn, Trelawyndd for £8, thanks Jan for a great day out, nice to tread new ground.
(more photos below)
Read more: 16 July: Offa the Dyke and Onto the beach
13th July: Coach trip to Malham
The bus trip to Malham started off promptly and was very near full when it left the pick-up in Newcastle. Progress up the M6 was painfully slow, as the supposedly smart motorway was still at a remedial stage. Once we cleared Thelwell viaduct progress picked up until we were just a few miles from our destination. Having turned off into a narrow road, a set of road works and a road closure left us in a very tight corner. The driver Mike, known to many from last year's trip to Tenby, magically managed to turn the bus round in what seemed to be an impossible space. The resulting 18 mile detour meant we were well behind schedule when we arrived at the Visitor Centre, but we split into two groups.
Malcolm Sproston led the larger party past Janet's Fosse to the spectacle of Gordale Scar, where the beck cascades over a 100 ft drop. Ignoring the right of way up the waterfall itself, we retraced our steps a little way and climbed steeply up Cawden Hill. There we stopped for a picnic, basking in the sunshine and marvelling at the views back into the gorge and its waterfall. From there, a very pleasant walk led us first to Malham Tarn, then along the Pennine Way by way of Malham Cove. The limestone pavements at the top were enjoyed by all, with some of us being told the difference between clints and grykes. A long series of steps led to some welcome shade at the foot of the cliffs, then a short walk back into the village gave plenty of time for refreshments. Some chose the pub to slake a thirst while others opted for tea and cakes, but all were able to sit out in the sunshine.
While Malcolm and his followers were toiling in the hot sunshine, Dave Martin and his party took a leisurely stroll. Firstly down the Pennine way to Hanlith then after a short steep ascent followed a green lane then a moorland path to Weets Top at 414 metres. Visibility was about 30 miles and Penyghent was clearly seen. A descent down a lane led to Gordale Scar and a lovely ice cream at the refreshment caravan before continuing to Janet's Foss then back to Malham.
The return trip was not without incident. Avoiding the morning's road closure, after a few miles of narrow country lane the coach was confronted by a tractor with a large excavating shovel at the front, followed by a convoy of cars. They were not giving way, so Mike had to manoeuvre backwards until we could find a wider stretch of road. By then a convoy had built up behind us, and they were reluctant to reverse. One local in particular was rather bloody minded, and would not shift until one of our party went out and told him where to go! That incident held us up a while, but worse was to come. For the last few miles before Lancaster, the dual carriageway was down to a single lane and again our progress was painfully slow for 15 or 20 minutes.
It was well after 9 when we dropped off in Newcastle, but despite all the delays everyone agreed it had been A Grand Day Out!
(see below for photos)
Read more: 13th July: Coach trip to Malham
The Wrong Trousers
Many thanks to Howard for his excellent leadership of a happy band of hardy ramblers on Thursday 28th of June up the Matterhorn (of Cheshire ) in somewhat challenging conditions. Early morning mist give way to early afternoon mist and drizzle but at least the pollen count was low, the risk of sunstroke was low and the jovial camaraderie meant that morale remained high. It was also a great opportunity to try out our waterproof gear which hasn't had an airing for somewhile. Comparison of degrees of wetness were heard "my top is dry, but my bottoms are soaked", "one of my feet is dry" and one lady confessed that she had made a rookie error of 'not buying new waterproof trousers, despite her partner's sage advice two weeks ago'. Her reasoning was ..'because it is summer now !' The mist in Macclefield forest was ethereal and as someone said it reminded them of a filmset, right on cue, Bambi appeared. Howard did a good job of describing the view he had seen from Shutlingsloe on his recce a week earlier, as we shared a much welcomed cup of tea by the roaring fire in the Crag Inn. He has promised to put this walk on again in the next programme. Watch out for Shutlingsloe revisited - not to be Mist!
21st June: A sunny walk from Cresswell
I would like to thank the 20 walkers who joined Susan and me on a sunny day at the Izaak Walton Inn. Sadly the Inn had ceased trading a few days previously, but were we disheartened? Yes, naturally, but our spirits were raised by the pleasant chatter amongst both older and newer members and the gentle breeze at the start. A mixture of footpaths and lanes took us eventually to a coffee stop and the opportunity to admire the stained glass of Draycott Church. Afterwards, the walk involved communing, always amicably, with cattle, horses and large fields of sweet corn. The dry weather meant that, for once, our boots seemed cleaner at the end of the walk compared to when we donned them.
At the end of the walk we all retired for refreshments, tea in my case, to the Draycott Arms where the whole experience was considerably enhanced by the sight of David’s knotted hanky headgear. A photograph was taken and a blackmail letter may be issued in due course.
15th June: Croxton and Ollington Hamlet
Due to an accident on the A50 Brian arrived at the starting point 45 minutes late.To our amazement there were 25 eager ramblers awaiting our arrival. After donning our boots we set of on our way for a 8 mile walk across green pastues and views towards Weaver Hills.
The weather at times was very warm and at lunch time a few of us enjoyed a cool drink at the Raddle near Hollington. After lunch we went over numerous stiles with many of them in poor condition (future jobs for the working party).
From a dodgy start, the day turned out to be a success.Thanks Brian.
7th June: Get the Abbey Habit!
The inaugural 4 mile leisurely walk introduced in this summer’s programme took place on Wednesday in a window of good weather within a week of torrential rains and dropping temperatures. The original route for the walk had had to be changed due to the closure of the canal towpath but Anne, our leader, had devised an imaginative way around this. We embarked on a route which included urban, rural and woodland walking. We began at the ancient historical site of Hulton Abbey which was founded in 1219. Many members of the group were very knowledgeable about its history and significance. Anne had done a lot of research and one of the most interesting facts was about the origin of the ‘Monks Way’. Monks were forced to pay tithes to Leek church and any who did not comply had to travel on foot to the gates of the rival abbey to be punished. The historical theme continued – albeit a bit more recent - with us walking past 3 of the walkers’ primary schools with much fond or not so fond reminiscing!
Our coffee stop was overlooking the valley of the Trent and Cauldon canal and we mused about how the hard industrial scenery of coal mines and pot banks has now been softened by the gentle greening of the landscape. A lunch stop at the end, amongst the ruins of the abbey, concluded this enjoyable and interesting walk.
Photos by Anne
Stoke/Newcastle Footpath Team with their 'stile-ish' new high-vis vests
Photo by Alan Bell
21st May: Double Sunset and Double Scoop! in Dovedale.
Precision timing, good weather, an astro-geographical phenomenon (!) and historical footnotes were some of the themes of Sunday’s full day walk. On arrival we were told that we would be meeting some other ramblers at the lunch time pub stop at 12.31pm. Impressive reconnaissance must have led to such a confident prediction. The walk began with a short but steep ascent of Thorpe Cloud which, for a relatively small pull up, rewarded us with spectacular views of the Dove Valley and a dizzying view of the stepping stones. It was here that the leader informed us of the double sunset viewed from Lin Dale around the summer solstice, discovered by the writer Jeff Kent in 1997.
After our descent we obediently avoided the red flag area where a shooting club were practising. The walk then took us across the varied countryside and landscape of this lovely part of the Peak District with an answer as to why some farmer’s fields have rows of ridges. We were told that these are lynchets – left over from medieval ploughing. Medieval ploughs only had one blade and so would turn over the soil to make a ridge for the seeds to be planted and the furrow would be left for drainage.
On to a coffee stop in the beautiful village of Tissington with some curious ducks, a shoal of copper coloured fish in the village pond and talk of a very good pie shop. We duly arrived at the lunchtime pub stop – sort of at the time predicted - and were joined by two regular Sunday ramblers and their grandchildren. Having young people to accompany us on the afternoon walk was a delight – their energy and questions about the countryside and life in general was refreshing. On to Dove Dale itself and a stop for a delicious ice cream – I have only been on two full day walks but was assured that this happens all the time! A great walk, ably led by some Welsh chap, who I sort of know.
Good luck to Dora on her 100 mile challenge walk in the North York Moors next weekend.