Mike’s big 70 birthday Staffordshire ramble
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)