Margaret W (Alto) wanted to come on the walk but also wanted to conserve her energy for a game of tennis. Her compromise was to send a substitute in the form of her husband Craig. (I believe that she chose to do this for the walk only, not for the tennis match.) Craig anticipated a good steady walk of seven miles, with a total climb of about 200 feet. Unfortunately, that was a misreading of John’s e-mail, which referenced an OS map with vertical measurements in metres. There were some quite steep hills – but they offered good views over the Derbyshire Peaks and out across the Cheshire plain.
We started at the Shady Oak in Fernilee. (No, that’s wrong. It wasn’t a pub crawl. We started (and continued) from outside the Shady Oak.) From there we dropped down through Folds Lane Farm, crossed the River Goyt some way below Fernilee Reservoir, zig-zagged around Madscar Farm and ascended Taxal Moor. Having passed through the col1, we dropped down to the just-about-road above Clough Farm and followed it to Tunstead Knoll Farm and thence the track to Dunge Farm (which sometimes appears as Dunge Valley Gardens, but anyway, it retains the ridiculous word Dunge). We carried on by field paths (and lunch just beyond Green Stack) to Jenkin Chapel after which a road became a cobbled bridleway, taking us steeply up Cook Hill. We followed (as near as paths permitted) the top of the ridge before dropping down to the Macclesfield Road at Charles Head. At that point, we decided to carry on to get the bus in Kettleshulme. This decision ended with something of a sprint finish along the road (some of us have spouses waiting at home). We all arrived in time for the bus, but the bus didn’t oblige. After around 15 minutes a car pulled up informing the would-be passengers that the bus had broken down outside Macclesfield. By that time we were certain to miss our connection in New Mills, so we repaired to the Swan (so it was a pub crawl after all) to pass the 45 minutes before the next bus.
We proceeded in clumps….
And occasionally in single file.
An ovine welcoming committee awaited John at Madscar Farm…
Just an up-market stove short of Madagascar.
Sarah couldn’t see a horse without stopping to take its picture.
During the walk, Roger couldn’t remember the name eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) so instead I took a picture of a wildflower meadow…
With detail of yellow rattle.
Dunge Valley Gardens came as a surprise (to me at least). An elegant, densely packed formal garden at the end of an obscure farm track.
Near Green Stack, someone had planted a pointing trowel
(presumably in the hope that it would grow into a fine builder’s shovel).
Two-storey property with exposed wooden beams.
Tasting notes: Sarah was the only member of the group to eat lunch with a spoon while Roger (far right) was the only one to eat lunch with a dry bottom.2
When we met the flooded road, we were confronted with three options.
For those wanting a spiritual element in this report, here is the daily llama.
Stuart snuck into the back row for a team photo.
Seen on its second circuit of our table outside The Swan, this energetic monster (with poisonous hairs) is the caterpillar of the vapourer moth.
- The Word spell-checker didn’t know the word Col (meaning the ridge between two peaks, frequently the route of a mountain pass, presumably a descendent of the latin collis – a hill); it offered Cool.
- That literary device is an example (a loosely phrased one, but nevertheless, an example) of zeugma.