This walk marked a major milestone in the life of the walking group, as this was the first time we had managed to lose the expedition leader.
The most familiar route from Lane Ends to Charlesworth would be along the A626 (Glossop Road), so of course we headed off behind Ley Lane, striking the fringes of Mill Brow just above the old chapel. Thence we went cross-country to Cloughend and across Ludworth Moor to Gunn Farm. We turned-off Gunn Lane at Pistol Farm and walked up to Far Slack, from where we dropped down onto the lower path below Coombes Rocks. We took a left turn to drop down further through the jaws of the corrie, then up onto the flank for a walk across to Charlesworth Independent Chapel. It was when we dropped down into the village of interesting buildings and narrow pavements that we lost Roger. We strode out in single file and didn’t hear Roger’s cries directing us to the hidden footpath down to the main road. (We did, however, meet him again on the bus.)
It was a humid, overcast and hazy day, but a good summer walk in varied countryside. Heath Bedstraw dappled the heather with white flowers. Lapwings swooped and curlews burbled over the moorland. Over the ponds and wetter ground, swallows and swifts scythed through the air. Stonechats called in the scrub whilst blackbirds, thrushes and nuthatches sang in the woodland. On the approach to the Independent Chapel, we were greeted by half a dozen wrens darting in and out of a dry stone wall. (Wrens must have their own collective noun. Probably a squadron.)
Mill Brow inshore rescue ready for deployment.
Pictures of Lily (made my life complete).
The property of the day benefits from meadows, landscape gardens and a lake.
(Buildings would benefit from modernisation.)
Some paths were narrower than others.
Roger and John negotiating the fiendish double stile. (This was not the worst stile; that accolade goes to the one with the barbed wire that shredded my trousers.)
The next obstacle was a minor moorland canyon.
We were a bit distant to work out what the figure at the back of the Near Slack stone circle was doing, but blowing-up the picture it was clear that the local druid was mowing it with a scythe.
Sheep with supercilious eyebrows.
Roger contemplates the last train to Charlesworth.
The shearing’s not for ewe (my bonnie lassie o).
Enchanter’s Nightshade (detail)
identified by Mr Barton, the expedition botanist.
The last time we had walked up the arm of Coombes Rocks, we had been able to see all the way to Liverpool. On this occasion, we couldn’t even see Manchester.
By this point, we had lost Roger, so John found someone else to talk to.