Tuesday, 20 September 2011

East face of the Matterhorn.........

 .....well, maybe not THE Matterhorn, just what they call the 'Cheshire Matterhorn', or Shutlingsloe!
We parked up opposite the Cat & Fiddle pub, a really remote place on the top of the moors, looked out across the expanse of Wildboarclough (where the last wild boar in England was reputed to have been killed)........
........and set off into the 'gorgeousness'. 
We were soon leaving the Cat & Fiddle behind as we looked back across the moor.

 As we reached the top of the rise, we saw the huge outline of the Roaches in front of us, like a dragons back on the horizon.

 We also got our first peep at Shutlingsloe. That was our objective today, but we had a fair bit of walking to do before we reached it.
 We dropped steeply into Danethorn hollow to join Cumberland brook.
 At the side of the brook stands this very remote cottage. The grassy track on the left is the only access to it. I don't know if it's still inhabited (it was at one time), or if it is used as a holiday cottage?
 Thar she blows!! The CLASSIC view of Shutlingsloe, and my particular favourite. I've seen this in snow, frost, sun etc, and it always delights me.

 The berries on the hawthorn were now ready for the hungry birds, should winter be a hard one.
 We crossed the bridge at the bottom of Cumberland brook.........

 .......looked back up the brook...........

 ....and made our way though Clough House farm, always one of the neatest farms I've seen.
Their free range hens came to investigate us and see if we had anything for them.

 The last of the swallows could be seen working hard to catch their last meals before heading off for the winter. It wouldn't be long now until they'll be lining up on the telephone wires, readying themselves for the long journey ahead.
I saw this lone ladybird. 'She' was very dormant and didn't want to move at all.

 The meadows, although in their last flush, still looked good. Not as colourful as in recent months, but Summer is now over, so that's to be expected.
 But now the hard slog began. We approached the East flank of Shutlingsloe. As we climbed, so the views got better. This is looking back to Cumberland brook and Wildboarclough.
 In no time, we were at the top, looking over to the Roaches. You can also see the edge of Tittesworth reservoir glinting on the right there.
 SMILE! (click).

 We spent a good while on top. It was quite windy (as is usual up there) but the wind was warm so we were in no hurry to leave. Once we're on top of these high places, we are ALWAYS reticent to leave as we both love it so much. The exhilaration on such a clear day in indescribable. But, leave we must, so we started down towards the Macclesfield forest on the slabbed pathway built to combat the erosion.
 A couple of large bracket fungi, looking like a pair of clogs sticking out of the tree!
 At the bottom, we sat on a handy wooden seat for lunch. It was at this point my camera battery died. No problem, I always carry a spare (but then, I really SHOULD make sure that I re-charged the spare - which, of course, I hadn't), so I was left with only my phone camera. It was a good job I DID have that, because just as we set off after lunch, Sue spotted something in the trees to our right, and 'shushed' me. What was it she had seen?
 YES! Two beautiful deer, what a great spot. Sue has a way with seeing these 'hidden' things. We called in at the Trentabank ranger station when we reached the edge of the forest, and he told us there were very few in the forest, and that some people had been coming for twenty years, and still not seen deer. We were very lucky, thanks to Sue.
We dropped into the valley, crossed Ridgegate reservoir. 
 We JUST missed getting a half in this lovely 'Leathers Smithy' pub. They closed at three, it was ten past when we got there.
This lane leads down to Forest chapel. As you can see, the rain decided to pay us a visit, so Sue is now suitably attired! Truth is, as soon as we'd suited up, the sun came out again, and we were steaming! We only had the wet gear on for about 30 minutes.

 As we made our way back up to the Cat & Fiddle, Sue remarked that somehow I seemed to have written a walk that was upwards for 90% of it. I just told her to stop whinging ;-)
As we climbed, we could see the view of Shutlingsloe that leads to its 'Matterhorn' nickname. The sky here looks lovely, but within ten minutes, it had changed.......

As we reached the road, we could see the storm clouds gathering, and the rain falling on the distant horizon. We had been very lucky today with the weather, and as we reached the car and pulled off our boots, we thought; 'another great day in the bag'.


  1. Thanks very much, Gringo. We're off for a week in the Lakes at the beginning of October, so watch this space!