Group walk report Congleton to Macclesfield 30th January

Walking in a winter wonderland. A typical view as we neared the summit of Bosley Cloud.

I responded to Ralph’s plea to fill a gap in the Long Walks midweek programme and with this being a linear walk and using the train to get to the start I decided to leave the walk as planned despite a good fall of overnight snow. Other ECR walks had been cancelled but at least the trains were running to time and so I walked to Macclesfield Station expecting so see a few familiar faces.
In the end I boarded the 10.18am with not a walker in sight for the short journey to Congleton where I thought I might find one or two hardy walkers. Alighting at Congleton, it was only Sue Thersby who emerged from the rear carriage and so it would be just a very small group of two of us for the walk back to Macclesfield.

From Congleton Station we descended to join the towpath of the Macclesfield Canal. I had decided to wear my micro-spikes on my boots which initially worked well but as the snow was quite wet it rather stuck to my boots. From the towpath we joined the Biddulph Valley Way for a short distance before taking the field path to Overedge and then across more snowy fields to near Timbersbrook. We made good progress but trudging through the wet snow was proving tiresome. Heading uphill we crossed a lane before ascending a long flight of steps and at the top stopped for a late coffee stop. I was in two minds as to whether to walk up to Bosley Cloud as it was in thick fog but there was just that chance we might break out into bright sunshine. We didn’t, as the fog was thicker and the snow much deeper as we followed footprints towards the summit. On the plus side was that we were now walking through a winter wonderland with everything coated in thick snow. The view on top was nil but not quite white out conditions. With no breeze it didn’t feel that cold. We were soon off eastwards before descending steps to join a lane. Turning left along the lane we made the mistake of turning right too soon and so opted to headed down across fields and not on a path but at least at the end there was a gate. It was lane walking now down to the River Dane. The roads were virtually snow free which made walking with micro-spikes less easy.
Just prior to crossing the River Dane, we turned left along a muddy field path towards the Macclesfield Canal. With a thaw beginning to set in, conditions underfoot were proving quite muddy and wet. Reaching the Macclesfield Canal we stopped for lunch as it was now 1pm.
Again we set off in the afternoon gloom and murk with hardly a breath of air blowing. We wandered up through the Bosley Locks where a lone boat owner with his dog was making his way up through the locks. Reaching the A54 we left the towpath to follow Station Road before heading west on the private surfaced track towards North Rode. It appeared that the low cloud and murk was lifting and by the time we reach North Rode, there was the hint of sunshine nearby.

After the gloom, the sun was now beginning to break through as seen here near North Rode.

We now headed north towards Gawsworth across several fields with afternoon sunshine from time to time which made all the difference. At Gawsworth Churchyard I opted to remove my micro-spikes as we now had some road walking. It made the going much easier. A path along a snowy field was followed to the southeast of the village before following Lowes Lane through Mosshouses. A watery field path was next followed around passing Danes Moss Farm. We had no choice afterwards but to follow the busy A536 in towards Macclesfield but then we opted to take the unofficial path across the playing fields and rough ground to gain Moss Lane. We were back in Macclesfield by 4pm having made very good progress and timing it well for Sue’s train. The thirteen miles of walking had taken us just over five hours.

A slight thaw had set in by the time we reached Mosshouses. The roads were now clear of snow and the sun had made an appearance.