Manchester Pedestrian Club
Saturday Walking Around Greater Manchester
Given are the walk number and date, the name of the walk, its location in relation to Manchester, and the grade of the A walk. The B and C walks are shorter (usually 8-9, 5-6 miles), and less strenuous.
|Walk||Date||Name||Location / Leader||Details|
|January - March 2021|
Sadly, the Covid-19 Lockdown continued from 2020 into 2021, |
and MPC walks did not begin again until the Government allowed
up to six persons to congregate outside, from the 2nd of April.
So our first walk was the 3rd April.
During April, our walks were ad-hoc, organised shortly beforehand.
From the Secretary:
"We are intending to walk again as a club and in company this coming Saturday, 3rd. April. John Grieve has sent me details of his plan to conduct a leisurely walk around the lanes and pathways of Cheshire in the neighbourhood of Dunham, which I quote in full below. I hope that as many members as possible will be tempted by this exciting invitation to turn up at 10.30 am at the given meeting place and I am assured that if the gathering exceeds six in number, then some way fair to everyone will be found of dividing up the assembled party into separate groups, one following another at an innocuous and respectful distance. Please try to help make our return to walking as a club a successful one by joining the party on Saturday."
|3 Apr||Dunham Circular||John Grieve||8 miles.|
"... meeting at 10.30 at the Swan with Two Nicks, Park Lane, Little Bollington. The route is from the pub, through Dunham Park to the Axe & Cleaver in Dunham village where we will join the Bridgewater Canal and from there the Trans Pennine way, pick up a path along here back to Dunham Woodhouses then pick up a track to the Swan.
As the pubs won't be open everybody is welcome to come to my house for a beer or two after the walk."
|10 Apr||Styal||Amanda Timpany||8 miles|
|"I am leading the walk this Saturday 10 April from the Ship Inn, Altrincham Road, Styal 10.30 am. Styal Woods and Bollin Valley, 8 miles, moderate with two long flights of steps. Drinks after the walk in John Grieve's garden. Best wishes Amanda."|
|17 Apr||Geoff Orsler||7 miles|
"On Saturday 17th April we continue our theme of River Valleys of the North West with another visit to "the rolling green hills of Diggle" (see grandpagreenes.co.uk) and the valley of the River Tame, like the Bollin a tributary of the mighty Mersey.
Distance: circa 7 miles Start time: 10.30 am.
Meeting Place: Car park on right, Sam Road End, Diggle, just before the railway forces the road to the left. (The Diggle Hotel is a couple of hundred yards farther on over the railway bridge, postcode OL3 5JZ, but please do not park at the pub, instead use this small car park adjacent to the railway and the canal tunnel entrance.)
Walk Description: Canal towpath to Ward Lane, via Saddleworth Church towards Dovestones reservoir; then Bradbury Lane towards Friezland and back to Greenfield; Huddersfield Narrow Canal via Uppermill to Diggle. Some hills on the outward half of the walk but flat on the return half."
|24 Apr||Whaley Bridge at Fernilee||David Pocklington||8 miles|
An Account of the Whaley Bridge Walk
Thus the fine, dry weather continued into another weekend for the latest MPC reunion, at a lay-by on the A5004 above Whaley Bridge. The expected eight of us eventually assembled at the place where we had started our walks on many previous occasions, but it seemed touch-and-go at the time whether we would all be there before eleven. Notable among the arrivals were Eric, who had not been seen throughout the time of enforced abstinence and was intent on making a test of his powers of recovery by accompanying us as far as he felt comfortable; and, just before the hour, Harry, with Sam his faithful, canine friend, in his silver Mercedes - a classic and classy entrance (though the soft top only came down later for the drive home). It was gratifying to see our two friends again after so long.
Being eager to get going, after waiting longer than patience allowed, we set off almost on the hour [presumably as two groups of less than 6; Ed.]. Very soon after, we had already dropped out of sight of the road down through the trees to a footbridge across the river and to the stiff climb on the other side. It was a beautiful morning, cool and refreshing, bright though promising of more brightness later, as we climbed steadily and slowly up the edge of lush green fields past a hillside cemetery to the church at Taxal.
There were more field paths, not as steep, where a woman and young boy eased past us, before we reached a lane by way of a stile or, for Sam, by means of a broken-down part of the wall. Instead of continuing upwards to the ridge above, as some faint memory urged us to do, we turned left along the lane which followed the course of the ridge at a respectfully lower height. All the way along that sunny lane only one small car disturbed our calm progress, making one think that drivers in this part of the world had not yet woken up to the efficiencies to be gained from avoiding suspected delays along the main roads by taking to quiet lanes.
Some way along that lane - I think I would remember where, if I went back - we turned downhill, on concrete farm roads at first, then later on gravel surfaces. We stopped a few minutes to enjoy the view at a bench which accommodated half the team, then carried on down to the valley bottom, approaching, as was gradually revealed, the headwall and road across the dam of a large reservoir. Two benches here gave space enough for a sociable lunch-break.
Afterwards, Eric decided that he had gone far enough for his first outing and announced that he would return from there to the car-park. Noel quickly made up his mind to keep him company. It seems he was under the impression that their route back would cover the same ground in reverse as the way out, or would take roughly the same time. That assumption turned out to be false, as he found out considerably sooner than the rest of us did.
The plan ahead was a simple one: to follow paths through the forest on one side of the reservoir and return by way of the main 'waterworks' track on the other. Before leaving I noticed a sign warning about the dangers to the flora in that area of a disease called Phytophthora, which apparently was prevalent thereabouts. It was left unclear what one was supposed to do to counter or avoid this disease, though I saw no one reach for his face-mask or re-assess his social distancing. Painted black as it was, the sign was not very noticeable and failed as a deterrent.
The scene of what had until recently been a mature forest was one of widespread devastation. Very few trees along the lake had been left standing. Great swathes of the hillside above and below us had been reduced to brushwood, fallen trees left where they fell, tangled branches everywhere, the stumps of what had been substantial trees. The trunks of the largest trees had gone, so that one could not ascribe the clearances to disease alone. Whether it was in any way the indirect result of the tree blight mentioned above, we could only guess, but it seemed a drastic policy, whatever had decided it.
The effect it had upon us, the remaining six (seven including Sam, now coming into his doggy own), was to expose us to a stronger Sun than we had seen and felt in the morning. Also, the lake below us was in full view for its whole length when it would otherwise have been concealed by the mass of forest so recently standing. No one was complaining about the sunshine, but the element of uncertainty and anticipation that often attends a shaded woodland walk was no longer present. Soon we could see our turning-point at the end of the lake, where the steep grassy terraces of another dam provided an ideal picnic ground for a family having fun. The final descent to the turnaround was a hazardous one, not because of smooth and slippery clay, the usual cause, but by a surface hard-baked by many days of dry weather and a powdering of sliding particles.
It seemed a longer stretch on the flat road back to the other end of the reservoir and our eating place than it had on the way out, but I shall pass over it quickly now that I can. From there, the stony track eventually gave way to a soft, grassy descent to the river via the fiercely named Madscar Farm, which hardly stirred from its afternoon siesta as we crossed. There was still some way to go through water meadows and woods before the short ascent to the car-park, where Noel waited to greet us and tell the tale. We repaired up the road to The Shady Oak, which in spite of Phytophthora, or Covid-19, was still standing and even flourishing in the post-lockdown sunshine.
|15th May||Frodsham||Andrew Basden||Frodsham railway station car-park.|
|22nd May||Pule Hill & Marsden Moor||Steve Tetlow||Standedge Cutting car-park, A62, Diggle. OL3 5LT|
|29th May||Ripponden||Alan Gibson||Ripponden recreational gardens car-park, ref. SE041197|
|5th June||Little Leigh, Trent & Mersey Canal||Harry Kennedy||Ash House Lane, Little Leigh, Cheshire|
|12th June||Shatton (Hope Valley)||John Grieve||Travellers Rest, Brough, S33 9HG|
|19th June||Macclesfield Forest||David Pocklington||Trentabank Forest HQ car-park (pay&display) or roadside. SK11 0NS|
|26th June||Chinley||John Grieve||Chinley station car-park, SK23 6AZ|
|3rd July||Snake Path & Kinder North Edge||Steve Tetlow||Birchen Clough Bridge car-park on Snake Pass, Map ref. SK109914|
|10th July||Three Rivers||David Pocklington||Bakewell Bridge car-park, Map ref. SK221685|
|17th July||Darwen Moor||Amanda Timpany||Royal Arms car-park, Tockholes Rd., Ryal Fold, Darwen BB3 0PA|
|24th July||Disley area (not Lyme Park)||John Grieve||Disley station car-park|
|31st July||Trawden Forest, Colne||Steve Tetlow||Trawden Community Centre BB8 8RU|
|21 Aug||Killers Dale||Steve Tetlow||8 miles. Millers Dale Station car park - Long Lane - Lydgate Farm - Broadway Lane, then Bulltor Lane - High Dale - Brushfield - Monsal Dale - Monsal Trail - station car park.|
|4 Sep||in Menorca|
|18 Sep||Saddleworth||John grieve||7 m, Brun Clough - Millstone Edge - Broadhead Noddle - Castleshaw reservoirs - Harrap Edge - Brun Clough.|
|25 Sep||Hayfield||(a) John Grieve, (b) John Procte||7,4 m.|
|2 Oct||Roaches||Ron Cooper||Sadly, cancelled by bad weather.|
|9 Oct||Whaley Bridge||(a) John Grieve, (b) John Procter||m|
|30 Oct||Holme valley||Steve Tetlow||8 m|
Report on the Holme Valley Walk
When it was all over we drank pints of Boondoggle bitter at the Fleece Inn, Holme, a beer which according to Google, with or without a Dongle, refers in its name to "an unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent project". I daresay none of us knew what we were drinking at the time, otherwise someone might have referred to the walk which we had just completed as 'a right old boondoggle'.
Wasteful hardly, except in terms of expenditure of energy, but certainly unnecessary as we could have each stayed at home, gazing out of the window and feeling relieved that we hadn't gone ahead with a wet, windy and very muddy wander around the moors and reservoirs of Yorkshire.
But what about fraudulent? Well, no one was fleeced, except in the pub at the end, but in his communication inviting members to join the Saturday walk, the leader had strongly implied that the probability of climbing the steep hill to Holme Moss was lower than the cloud base enveloping the TV mast itself that very morning. So how did we find ourselves queuing up at a gate in a fence next to the viewing point car park, queuing to wade through a Stygian pool of ankle-deep black liquid mud in order to reach the dry salvation of the main road crossing the moor at the top and leading back down to the valley at the bottom? One member of the team asked this very question, not in such terms, but certainly implying that five members had been duped into believing that no such ascent would be made that day.
What argument did the sixth member adduce in rebuttal of this charge? It was hardly clear and coherent, but went along the lines of how they had actually reached Holme Moss, not by direct ascent of the steep and forbidding hill, carrying the apt soubriquet 'Black', upon which the TV mast is located, the hill which any reasonable person would have had in mind when considering the thought of ascending to Holme Moss, but by an oblique and sideways approach to that same place which may have involved some hill-climbing but nothing so steep, direct and intimidating as the one avoided.
But apart from the very questionable logic being employed, this argument makes the assumption that the climb up to the squelching top of a more distant 'Herbage Hill', followed by the precarious and exhausting traverse of a mile and a half of slippery black peat bog purporting to be a path, would be in some way preferable, less exhausting, perhaps more interesting, even somehow enjoyable, than the one originally implied and deliberately ignored.
In fact, that same questioning sceptic had posed another question while we slumped in the sodden heather by that noisome path to eat our wretched sandwiches: what elevation were we at now and how did it compare to the height of the soggy plateau we were evidently aiming for? The answer to the first was 524 metres approx. and to the second - not very much difference! The deception, the dupe, the fraudulence even, had been exposed. It was after all a boondoggle of a walk.
Photos (c) Geoff Orsler
See other photos of walk.
|6 Nov||Cown Edge||(a) Geoff Orsler, (b) John Procter||9.5 m|
|13 Nov||Mam Tor||(a) David Pocklington, (b) Eric Rogers||m|
|20 Nov||Tatton Park||Amanda Timperley||5 m|
|27 Nov||Saddletworth||Geoff Orsler||7 m|
|4 Dec||(No walk)||m|
|11 Dec||Manchester Canals and Lunch||John Grieve||4.5 m|
Full list of MPC walks is available on separate page.
Created: 2 May 2021, Last updated 2 December 2021.
Hosted on Clook by Knowledge Server on the Net.