Making best of a rainy day
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