Walk Diary Sunday 19 March 2017. Weather, 10°C. Windy then wet.
Derbyshire Bridge Depart 10 a.m. 10 ½ miles Leader: Sue R.
No. on walk 8
For those of us who ignored the weather forecasts and made the sixty mile round trip, whether out of loyalty, friendship or just a desire of a walking experience, were for once, perhaps the fool hardy ones. Whilst, back home in the same county, the sun was shining and not a spot of moisture fell from the skies. It seemed from the wet to dry part was around the Pikehall area, this is where on our return we noticed dry road surfaces.
Fully girded, we set off westwards on a good track leading up over Raven's Low Flat, which it wasn't, walking against an ever increasing wind. In fact, just near to the summit, it felt as if we could almost lay against the wind without falling to the ground. Just over the top we turned to the south walking across well defined paths to cross the A537 and enter onto Axe Edge Moor and here, near to the source of the Dane, we picked up the Dane Valley Way, following this until we stopped for lunch at the Three Shires Head.
We stopped near to Orchard Farm for our first break and probably from this point on it became gradually wetter. Some of the best points of this morning's walk, was the appearance of a Curlew, it's uniquely shrill cry reaching us before we could pinpoint it in the leaden skies. Once we had our heads up and alert to our surroundings we noticed many more creatures of flight. We startled and vice versa many Black Grouse rising from their Heather bowers, several Lapwings were also seen and heard. Pairs of Canada Geese, their recognisable black and white heads held aloft keeping a wary eye on us as we passed them by.
We walked through the remains of Reeve's Head Quarries and here whilst crossing into Cheshire via the still small River Dane, we met a small group of off road cyclists, their brakes shrieking loudly as they miraculously controlled their machines down the very steep rock strewn embankment, though the river and up the other side. One, unfortunately, had his chain come off mid stream, leaving him not so high and dry! Not to be out done and whilst we waited, he replaced his chain, pushed his bike back up the steep gradient, once more returning brakes screaming again, this time doing that which his mates had already completed.
We now kept to the path which runs along the very edge of the River Dane, muddy in parts but also handy board walks and stone slabs helped us along our way to our lunchtime destination, Three Shires Head. On arriving we crossed the small bridge, leaving Cheshire at this point and turning to sit by Panniers Pool, in Staffordshire. There was some discussion as to which county we were in, as it was not at all clear. On studying the map in a drier place later and for those who were with us, standing on the bridge with Cheshire behind us, the Derbyshire border was ahead and to the left of the other small stream running into the Dane.
We took a shortened lunch break, the rain beginning to increase in intensity and continued southwards along an old coach track, then a stiff climb up and over to Knotbury. Many twists and turns followed and eventually we had scaled the heights up along Dry Stone Edge. We followed the line of this path, rejoining our outward track for the return, into Derbyshire across Axe Edge Moor, which was by now was considerably wetter. One wag was heard to say that this was the closest to walking on water that we would ever get, I could only grin and agree. On reaching the A537 once more, we crossed and followed the path parallel to it until reaching a short but marshy path back to the car park, everything dampened except our spirits.