Mike’s big 70 birth­day Stafford­shire ram­ble

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS -

LONG-STAND­ING group mem­ber Mike Hard­ing cel­e­brated his 70th birth­day re­cently with a 11-mile walk across the scenic Stafford­shire moor­lands, at­tended by 21 well-wish­ers from East Cheshire Ram­blers.

Set­ting off from the Roaches near Up­per Hulme to the north of Leek, the weather had not looked promis­ing with heavy rain the pre­vi­ous day and more forecast for Mike’s big day.

For­tu­nately, as the route be­gan to as­cend the sum­mit of Hen Cloud, the mist lifted, open­ing up some ex­cel­lent views and mak­ing the ef­fort worth­while. As the day wore on, the weather stayed dry, if mainly over­cast.

The climb up was fol­lowed by a less steep de­scent down the north side of Hen Cloud, af­ter which the group crossed a num­ber of soggy fields to reach Ramshaw Rocks and as­cend the ridge for a well-earned cof­fee break and more fine views.

Af­ter walk­ing the length of the ridge and tak­ing a se­ries of field paths and quiet lanes to reach the south end of Grad­bach Hill, the walk­ers stopped for a pic­nic lunch be­fore de­scend­ing to the Dane Val­ley and cross­ing Black Brook by a foot­bridge near its con­flu­ence with the River Dane. This was fol­lowed by another steep climb through pleas­ant wood­land to pass the turn-off point to Lud’s Church.

Another half mile along a good track through open coun­try­side took the group back to­wards the start via Roach End and the con­clud­ing sec­tion of the walk along what must be one of the best ridge walks in the Peak Dis­trict. It started just east of Hang­ing Stone and fin­ished back at the south­ern end of the Roaches, with more mag­nif­i­cent views all the way. Even the sun came out for a few short pe­ri­ods – mak­ing a fit­ting end to a most en­joy­able day.

Like other sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­ans in the group be­fore him, Mike treated the party to a birth­day tea which was held at Roaches Tea Rooms.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion go to the web­site: ram­blerseastcheshire.org. uk.

●● Mike Hard­ing leads East Cheshire Ram­blers along the Roaches ridge (main pic­ture) and en­joys a cream tea at Roaches Tea RoomS (left)

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