Mak­ing best of a rainy day

Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON - ROGER FIELD­ING

THE last Satur­day in Fe­bru­ary was a date out­lined in red on the East Cheshire Ramblers cal­en­dar as the first ex­cur­sion of the year out­side our home area – to the beau­ti­ful Hod­der Val­ley in north Lan­cashire for a var­ied and in­ter­est­ing 12-mile ram­ble from Slaid­burn, led by one of our most sea­soned lead­ers.

The weather fore­cast, how­ever, pre­dicted a day of heavy rain in the Slaid­burn area and flood warn­ings had been is­sued.

With the weather in the Peak Dis­trict fair­ing some­what bet­ter, an al­ter­na­tive was hur­riedly ar­ranged.

A smaller party than usual assem­bled at Earl Stern­dale near Bux­ton ready for an im­promptu 12 miles around some of the Der­byshire Dales, hope­fully avoid­ing the worst of the mud and rain.

It was un­for­tu­nate that two mem­bers in the group had for­got­ten their wa­ter­proofs and ruck­sack so more im­pro­vi­sa­tion was needed.

Spare wa­ter­proofs were lent, food was do­nated and gaffer tape was ap­plied to holes in the spare wa­ter­proofs be­fore set­ting off up the hill be­hind the vil­lage to­wards Black­well into the teeth of a stiff breeze laden with rain, which con­tin­ued for some time.

There wasn’t much shel­ter dur­ing this part of the walk so the group di­verted from the im­promptu route to have a morn­ing break in the porch at Chel­mor­ton Church.

The shel­ter was very wel­come but we then had some fierce mud to con­tend with on the foothills of Chel­mor­ton Low.

Things looked up a bit as the rain stopped and we gained the shel­ter of Wye Dale to get out of the wind. More dales fol­lowed – Deep Dale with its im­pres­sive lime­stone cliffs; of­fi­cially a dry dale but rather wet on this oc­ca­sion, then Horse­shoe Dale be­fore emerg­ing into the wind and rain again for the last cou­ple of miles back.

Given bet­ter weather we could have spent time look­ing at sev­eral his­toric sites along the way but we hur­ried along un­til we reached the top of the de­scent to Earl Stern­dale, with its tremen­dous view of the reef knolls in the up­per Dove Val­ley.

Slaid­burn will have to wait for an­other day but we are lucky to have on our doorstep a walk­ing area that at­tracts peo­ple from a long way off.

We didn’t see many of them on this wet day.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to ramblers eastcheshire.org.uk.

The ramblers pause in Wye Dale

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