‘The Clink’ a Talk for Members and Friends

RAMBLERS EAST CHESHIRE GROUP

A Talk for Members and Friends

THE CLINK

“…serving thyme reduces reoffending…” 

The Clink Restaurant Styal (voted charity of the year in North East Cheshire), will talk about how the restaurant reduces reoffending rates with training and support, changing attitudes, transforming lives and creating second chances

FRIDAY 21ST FEBRUARY 7PM FOR 7-30PM

 Macclesfield Tennis Club SK11 8LF

Please support this event and maybe bring along a few friends?

Tickets £6, which includes a light supper, a licensed pay bar is available.

Tickets can be bought from

Jane Gay, Colin Finlayson, Sue Munslow, Kathryn Carty, Keith Anderson

Maggie Swindells 16, Castle Hill Court, Prestbury, SK10 4UT

maggieswindells@gmail.com  07729327940

PAYMENT

Cheques made payable to RA East Cheshire Group

Online Payment     Event Ref: CLK

Bank: Unity Trust      Account Code: 20129929     Sort Code: 60-83-01

TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR COLLECTION ON THE DOOR

Ten years on

The ECR at the White Nancy Monument above Bollington

We haven’t seen much snow this winter if any, but ten years ago today the weather was quite different. I have gone back and shifted out some photographs of the weekend of January 30th and 31st 2010.
I led a walk on the Saturday from Bollington for the group with a healthy attendance. We had bright blue winter skies but I recall it was quite icy underfoot. See if you are on the first or third photographs.
We woke up the following day to a winter wonderland with a good covering of snow. A good day to get out on a local hike from Macclesfield which included a trek up to the icy heights of Shutlingsloe and Wildboarclough.

View towards Shining Tor – A sunny winter day but a biting icy wind.
ECR by Harrop Fold Farm.
Not quite the Antartic but this is the ice coated rocks at the summit of Shutlingsloe on January 31st 2010.
A snowy path at Wildboarclough. (31st January 2010)
Tongue Sharp Wood at Wildboarclough (31st January 2010).

Group walk 22nd January

Sandbach Market Place and the Olde Black Beare Inn

(all photographs were taken on the reconnoitre)

The Market Square was the starting point for this eight mile walk from the historic and fascinating town of Sandbach. Being such a miserable and foggy day the minutes ticked away towards 10am, so I was expecting a nil turn out. But almost on the stroke of ten, three EC ramblers emerged from the morning gloom. We started off with a brief historical tour of this interesting town centre starting with the Saxon Crosses. The two crosses are believed to date from the 9th century and are said to be among the finest Saxon crosses in the country. The carvings depict scenes from the Bible. The crosses were destroyed and broken up during Puritan times and the stone ended up in different parts of Cheshire but were brought together and re-erected in 1816.

Many buildings around the Market Square are grade 2 listed and most striking is the “Ye Olde Black Beare Inn” which was formerly owned by Lord Crewe, and is a timbered black and white building and the only building still to boast a thatched roof in the town. The date of its construction over the door is 1634 AD. It is conjectured that Dick Turpin stayed here on more than one occasion, and it was certainly here that bear-baiting took place.
We next made a short diversion to the Town Hall which is a fine steep-roofed building with a bell tower. Over the main entrance are two statues: one is of Bigot, the first Norman to hold the Manor of Sandbach and nephew of William the Conqueror, and the other is of Sir Randolph Crewe who was ancestor of the Right Honourable Hungerford, Lord Crewe, whose coat of arms also appears over the door.

Returning back along the High Street we passed the George Hotel, one of Sandbach’s original coaching inns. It is certainly over 300 years old and was the calling point for stage coaches plying the route between London and Manchester.
One of the most fascinating buildings in Sandbach is the Old Hall, which is now a hotel and was built in 1656 and is Grade 1 listed. The oak for the timber frame is thought to have come from the Saxe-mondron forest near Nantwich. Inside are some original fireplaces and oak panelling and there also a priest hole.
Crossing over the road we paused to visit St Mary’s Church. There has been a church on the site since around 1200AD and the original building was probably timber framed. Various restorations and changes have been made over the centuries but a major restoration took place between 1847 and 1849 under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott. We took a quick look inside to admire the nave and side aisles which have roofs of Cheshire oak richly carved in 1661. Just outside there are several fragments of the Ancient Crosses are under the archway of the tower, these only being found after the crosses were re-erected in 1816. Just behind the church our last building to look at was the Lower Chequer Public House which is claimed to be the oldest building in Sandbach, and dates from 1570.

Leaving Sandbach centre we paused briefly alongside Scotch Common Car Park. It was here that in 1579, Sir John Radclyffe of Ordsall secured the right to hold fairs and markets in Sandbach from Queen Elizabeth I. The Royal Charter also allowed for a fair to be held on the last weekend in September but on the 3rd September 1651, during the Civil War, a skirmish occurred on the town’s Common whilst the September fair was in full swing. Nearly 1000 Scottish troops were retreating from the Battle of Worcester where they had served under David Leslie. They paused to rest but were set upon by locals and market stallholders, who killed or took the soldiers prisoner. The Common is known locally as the “Scotch Common”.

It was now time to get walking and we left the town through Sandbach Park and on through new housing to gain the countryside. At Kingfisher Pool we stopped for a short morning break and beyond we continued on field paths which were now becoming almost impassable due to copious amounts of mud and water logging. We pressed on via farm tracks and minor lanes but the path after crossing Wood Lane was really a nightmare to cross and was so churned up with mud and water filled ruts. After sliding about we did reach Elworth without incident and crossed the A533. We next followed Mill Lane for a short distance before crossing a broken stile (since reported to the council). At least the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal provided some good firm walking and we pressed on via Hall Lane and Moston Road then taking an estate path through to join the Wheelock Rail Trail. Along this trail we found a good picnic site in the grounds of Sandbach United FC which was just off the path. We stayed with the trail a little further afterwards then took another muddy path along the valley to reach the former Sandbach Corn Mill. A series of paths between houses and residential roads were followed back into the town. An interesting walk with plenty of history but marred somewhat by some extremely muddy field paths.

St Mary’s Church in Sandbach.
The Trent & Mersey Canal just north of Elton Moss Bridge.

Group walk 23rd January

The flood gate structure has been artistically decorated by local school children at Fletcher Moss.

Exploring Mersey water parks and flood basins by Ann Thompson

Nine East Cheshire ramblers parked near the Golden Days Garden centre in Cheadle and set off along the bank of the River Mersey and up to the Didsbury tram stop. A new experience for some on the tram brought us to Sale Water Park. After coffee at the Tree Tops we set off to explore the Mersey floodplain.
One of the most interesting features of the walk was the variety of uses of the floodplain. The first half of the walk was varied with paths alongside lakes, the Mersey and through nature reserves, visiting both Sale and Chorlton Water Parks. These former gravel pits are now excellent recreation areas, one with water sports and the both with fishing. Sale Water Park was created in the 1970’s when gravel was needed for the M60 embankments. Another extensive use of the land is for golf and we saw parts of five courses although only walked across Withington.
The water parks and golf courses are all part of a food alleviation scheme. If water rises dangerously, weirs or flood gates can be opened with water stored until the floodwaters have passed. A large scheme was seen near Fletcher Moss, Didsbury where the flood gate structure has been artistically decorated by local school children. Fletcher Moss is an interesting garden and wild life area created by Robert Williamson whose wife was instrumental in the formation of the RSPB. It was given to the city by Cllr. Fletcher Moss who bought the property and garden from Williamson.
There was then only a short section of river bank before reaching the road and the garden centre after 9.5miles of flat and not too muddy walking.

Group walk from Nelson Pit 21st January

Morning coffe break just off the Gritstone Trail.

By Sue Thersby

Nelson Pit Visitor Centre was built on the site of a former colliery with the assistance of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and opened in spring 1999. It is a popular place to start a walk, as it provides information and toilet facilities for visitors to the Middlewood Way, the Macclesfield Canal, and the surrounding countryside. 13 ECR members left here for our walk today. The weather was dull but dry. We accessed the Macclesfield Canal directly from the car park and walked in a northerly direction before leaving after the second bridge to do a complete U-Turn and walk via Middlecale Farm, Platt Woods Farms and Elmerhurst Cottage and entering Lyme Park. Our stay here would be brief. The estate is managed by the National Trust and consists of a mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, in a deer park in the Peak District National Park. The house is the largest in Cheshire, and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building. From here we caught our first view of the Cage, which stands on a small hill with exceptional views over the surrounding countryside. Leaving the park, we continued along Red Lane and then picked up the Gritstone Trail, as we walked along a green lane, before crossing the Disley – Whaley Bridge Road and beginning our climb of Black Rocks, where we had our morning break. After coffee, we descended past the former Moorside Hotel, which is now a school for vulnerable children, on our way to Cornfield Farm and Sweet Hill. At the top of Sweet Hill, we could see Bowstonegate nearby. The Bowstones are a pair of Anglican cross shafts, situated beside the old ridge way between Disley and Macclesfield and are a scheduled monument. Leaving the Bowstones to the North, we continued via Dale Top and Blakestone Moor, passing a trig-point-like monument to the coal industry that was so prevalent here, to Keepers Cottage. At this point we had lost what views we had earlier, as the mist had descended. From here, we went via a small Methodist Chapel to Westpark Gate and then on, via a memorial plaque to Joyce Blanchard (a former ECR member, who died some 8 years ago) to re-join the Macclesfield Canal and made our way back to the cars. Some of the group were able to enjoy tea and cake at the Trading Post near to the car park.

The climb to Black Rocks.
The view from Black Rocks.
The monument to the coal industry on Blakestone Moor.

Fly & walk (2)

Our flight to Alderney was on this Trislander Plane.

For this second of three walks where I have taken a flight to the start of a walk I am headed south. Rather than setting out with little planning, this flight and walk was pre-planned some time in advance. Taking a week long holiday with my son in Guernsey, we planned to visit the neighbouring island of Alderney but being a bit out of the main tourist season there was no ferry service. The only way we were going to get there was to fly and to make the most of the day we planned to get the first flight out from Guernsey and the last back.

This was going to be an action packed day which would rely heavily on public transport running to time and good weather. Our guest house kindly supplied an early light breakfast left at our room on the previous night and so it was up early to catch the first bus from a deserted St Peter Port to the airport at 06.30am. The flight was on time, if a little early and in no time our small group of six passengers were whisked across the ten miles of sea in our little Trislander plane to arrive slightly early on Alderney.

Early morning on the High Street, Alderney.

We were walking before 8am from the airport down to the sleepy village of St Anne. First of all we had to fine a shop selling drinks for the day and were surprised to find a well stocked small supermarket. We wandered down through the largely empty cobbled streets towards the harbour where a vessel was being unloaded. The harbour area as such was an untidy place and we had time to venture out to the breakwater but not along it. Occasional waves were sending spray over the breakwater so it wasn’t a good idea to get wet at the start of the day. I spotted a trig point on Fort Grosnez which towers above the harbour but there was no access to it.

Alderney – The Inner Harbour with Fort Grosnez. The trig point on top of the fort looks inaccessible.

We set out anti-clockwise along the coast to Fort Doyle, the first of many forts we would pass today on this fifteen mile long walk then along the sands of Saline Bay where you were warned of a strong tidal undertow. German fortifications were everywhere much to the delight of my son who had a big grin on his face all day. Below Fort Tourgis, my son took the shore road whilst I walked uphill to visit Druid’s Altar Burial Chamber passing on the way the extensive shell of Fort Tourgis. I then took a track down to the shore to meet up with my son again. It had now clouded up for awhile as we wandered along towards the tidal causeway to Fort Clonque. This rocky outpost is now a holiday let and is only accessible at low tide. For now, waves were crashing across the causeway and hence no access. An engineered zigzagged path now led uphill but we missed our intended path to stay with the coast and ended up on the plateau area. The area around Giffoine was honeycombed with German defences but much of the area was covered in gorse.

Fort Clonque lies on a island and is connected to Alderney by a tidal casueway. In the far distance (middle left) can be seen The Casquets Lighthouse.

 

The rocky islets of Les Etacs at the western end of Alderney is a gannet colony.

Back down on the coast we came across large German gun encampments with bunkers, one of which must have taken a direct war time strike. It was overwhelming how much this area was defended during the war. Offshore were the impressive sea stacks of Les Etacs, a gannet colony. We had to walk inland to avoid Vallee des Trois Vaux before returning to the impressive coast above Telegraph Bay. In bright sunshine we headed east before we were forced inland. A track ran to the south of the airport above the coast but there were few spots to access the coast due to gorse and brambles. We rested awhile on a seat before joining a path. We were now aiming towards Essex Castle and we had a couple of miles of pleasant coastal walking on a good path. The centre of the island was dominated by large pasture fields. Apparently the Germans had ripped out the old small field boundaries. My son often went off to view fortifications whilst I took my time on the path. The only downside in this area was the islands’ rubbish dump, situated in full view of an otherwise attractive section of coast. A little further on at Essex Hill we came across a trig point before joining a road down on the seaward side of Essex Castle. At a sheltered spot above Longis Bay we stopped for lunch out of the cool breeze.

This is typical scenery along the southern coast of Alderney. This photograph is at Les Quatte Vents.

 

On the path approaching Longis Bay on the south eastern end of the island.

 

The German ani-tank wall which backs sandy Longis Bay. A nice little suntrap today.

 

 

The German Fire Direction Fort – one of several concrete structures on the island.

Setting off we continued along the deserted sandy beach below the German anti-tank wall. Beyond, we joined the road briefly before making a diversion to view the large German structure above Mannez Quarry. Despite it being locked, my son managed to get in through a slit so meanwhile I took a rest for awhile to admire the view. It was then back down to the road before crossing some rough ground and heading down to the shore path. At this point we were the closest people to the French coast and still on British soil. Fort Houmet Herbe on a rocky island offshore was in a ruinous state and in any case by now we were keeping an eye on the time and so didn’t venture out there. Next came Fort Quesnard which was in private hands and Fort les Homeaux Florains beyond, which looked inaccessible on a rocky islet. One place I wanted to look at was the Mannez Lighthouse, standing proud near on the headland with its black and white strips. We headed on around Corblets Bay passing Chateau a L’Etac and down onto the deserted sandy beach at Saye Bay. Bibette Head had more than its fair share of German defences. My son explored these whilst I made my way slowly up to Fort Albert, another prominent fort. By now we wanted to visit the island museum before it closed as so exploring further forts was out of the question. At White Gates we came across the Alderney Railway and after a briefly look, we headed towards Braye Bay before cutting up into St Anne. We found the main shopping street before heading off to visit the island museum. Being out of season we were only the second visitors of the day. After around three quarters of an hour and a brief chat with the curator we spent the rest of the late afternoon exploring St Anne. A detour was made to view the German Water Tower before wandering down to St Anne’s Church, often described as the Cathedral of the Channel Islands. For awhile we sat in the churchyard in the cool spring afternoon sunshine with crows calling in the trees but no other noise. It seemed hard to believe that we had actually made this trip to one of the last places in the British Isles for me to visit. Allowing a bit of time, my son and I wandered back to the airport. There was little or no traffic about despite a large number of vehicles on the island. The flight on time for the short flight back to Guernsey and again we were rewarded by good views. High cloud was filtering in from the west. Back at Guernsey we were just in time to catch a bus back to St Peter Port before the walk back to the guest house. It was quite an achievement to have been on Alderney soil and now back in our guest house in Guernsey in just fifty three minutes!

Mannez Lighthouse which dominates the eastern end of the island.

 

The Alderney Railway which was built to quarry stone to build the breakwater.

 

St Anne’s Parish Church has been described as the Cathedral of the Channel Islands.

So summing up, there is so much to say about this island, but we both decided that one day was not enough to explore the island in depth. For those of us interested in military history, World War 2 and forts, it is a paradise. For me, I was fascinated in this fiercely independent island with few connections with the outside world. I think an ‘Island Kingdom’ sums it up and despite the high price to get there and back, the day was certainly worth it. Furthermore, we had been lucky to get there as the following day the flights had been grounded due to rough weather.

Group walk 18th January

Descending from Clarke’s Lane to the Middlewood Way. Many of the group are captured in this photograph.

This medium walk started locally in Macclesfield and attracted 22 walkers and with no long on offer walk today, a large group of walkers had assembled on this fine sunny but frosty morning to be led by Michael Murphy. Setting off from Whalley Hayes Car Park we first headed through West Park where we tried to avoid the worse of the slippery conditions underfoot and pausing briefly at the large 30 ton erratic (boulder) which was brought to this area during the last ice age. Its original location has been traced to near Ravenglass in Cumbria. Our walk then passed through Macclesfield Crematorium before following a short section of path through the Riverside Park then making our way across to the Middlewood Way which was followed north to the wooden footbridge over the Silk Road. A little beyond the far side we stopped for our morning break at Woods Bridge over the Macclesfield Canal before following the muddy towpath north to Clarke Lane Bridge and here we diverted to follow a short section of the Middlewood Way and later descending via Tinker’s Clough to rejoin the Macclesfield Canal Towpath at Greens Bridge.

In the bright sunshine we continued north passing the Adelphi Mill then over the Grimshaw Lane Aqueduct and leaving the towpath to follow a short section of Hawthorn Road to get back onto the Middlewood Way via the Bollington Viaduct which once carried the Macclesfield, Bollington & Marple Railway. It was opened to passenger traffic in 1870 but was a casualty of the Beeching cuts. With the former railway lying dormant it was eventually bought by Macclesfield Borough Council and a program of works over the following years developed it into a recreational trail called the Middlewood Way. There were even plans to demolish the Bollington Viaduct but there was much local opposition.

Our walk headed east now through the Recreation Area then along Water Street and High Street in Bollington before making the biggest ascent of the day up to White Nancy. The majority of the group took the more gradual but longer ascent to the summit via the Millennium Steps whilst a smaller group took the hill direct up the muddy and slippery slopes. White Nancy was our lunch stop by which time a cool breeze had sprung up and there was more cloud around now and the deep blue skies of earlier in the day had turned hazy.

We set off along the Kerridge Ridge where in places a better path surface had been implemented but part of the path was a sea of mud due to heavy footfall. The descent at the southern end was muddy and very slippery and so progress was slow. We joined the B5470 briefly before joining Carlofold Lane then taking a muddy path over the shoulder of Cliff Hill. At the end of this path we turned left uphill on Cliff Lane then along another very muddy path down to the B5470 once more. Heading towards Macclesfield we soon struck out along the Macclesfield Canal towpath to the Buxton Road before heading into the town via Victoria Park.

Ramblers reflected in the waters of the Macclesfield Canal north of the Adelphi Mill at Bollington.
Some of the group at lunch stop by White Nancy. A cool breeze had sprung up and so many more had taken shelter behind White Nancy.

Group walk 11th Janaury

Win Hill as seen from Bradwell Moor before the weather closed in.

By Sue Thersby.

The forecast was not good, however 16 brave ECR ramblers set out from Mam Nick, the break in the ridge walk from the bottom of Rushup Edge to Win Hill. Unusually, we did not go along the ridge but started off in a southerly direction to cross the aptly named Windy Knoll. On reaching the junction of the Limestone Way and another footpath our route took us along the footpath over the western edge of Bradwell Moor. Continuing in the same direction, we crossed Batham Gate which is the site of a Roman road. It is believed that it ran south-west from Templeborough on the River Don in South Yorkshire to Brough-on Noe and the spa town of Buxton. The name means “the road to the bath town”. On reaching Pittlesmere Lane, we changed direction to go along this lane in a roughly easterly direction, before reaching our next footpath sign to take us northwards, through field paths across Tideswell Moor to cross Batham Gate again. The area is well known for its lead mining history and the OS map shows remnants of old mines across both Bradwell and Tideswell Moor. Crossing the Limestone way by a farm marked on the map as The Cop, we went via north-westerly paths to Oxlow Rake. Workings on this rake have been documented from at least 1709 when it is recorded that `John Bradley’s Grove on Oxlow was in production’. However, another branch of Oxlow Rake, known as Daisy or Deasy Rake was recorded on the Castleton enclosure map of 1691 suggesting that lead working in this area started before this date. At the end of the rake, we arrived at a small settlement called Old Dam and then picked up the Pennine Bridleway as far as our second rake – Gautries Rake. This was our lunch spot before we climbed up and through the rake. It is said to be an extremely well-preserved example of a linear sequence of lead mine workings. From here, we passed through Sparrowpit, another small settlement, and continued uphill to take a route above the valley to reach the lay by at the western end of Rushup Edge. We finished our walk by climbing gradually along the edge with views of the Edale Valley to our north and some of our route to the south, passing the highest point of the ridge Lord’s Seat at 550 m (1,804 ft) on our way.

Additional notes from Colin Park
Did you know how Sparrowpit got its name? It is not an earth pit where you might find some of our featured friends so I decided to look it up and the name derives from ‘spar row pit’ from the fluorspar mines nearby. My search for information led me on to another unusual name in the village. The local public house is called ‘The Wanted Inn’ but why? Again I decided to research the origins of the name and the explanation is as follows;-
The public house started out its history as a farm house over four hundred years ago and in 1700 was converted to a pub and named The Three Tuns. In 1839 it was renamed as The Devonshire Arms and was then part of the Chatsworth Estate. A decision was made in 1950 to sell the pub to raise money for death duties but during the auction there was no one interested in the property so it remained empty for some years until it was eventually sold to new owners who decided to re-christen the unwanted pub to the Wanted Inn.
On Sue’s walk did anyone notice the water trough as we walked through Sparrowpit? This is called Bennet’s Well as is unusual as it lies on the watershed of England. Water from the well runs west via a series of streams and eventually enters the River Mersey which in turn flows into the Irish Sea whilst rain falling on the eastern side of the village street eventually makes its way via the River Wye and River Derwent to reach the River Trent then into the River Humber and finally into the North Sea.

Squeezing through a stile on Bradwell Moor.
Morning coffee stop out of the brisk wind just off Pittlesmere Lane.
A dragonfly at Cop Farm.
‘Expedition team’ at base camp before tackling Gautries Rake.
A straggler on Gautries Rake.
Afternoon tea stop in a shelter of a wall on a murky Rushup Edge.

Fly and walk (1)

Circling over North Ronaldsay with a view down to Linklet Bay which I would visit later.

We probably don’t think twice on the mode of transport we use to get to the start of a walk. More often than not we usually get there by car, or we may use a train or bus, especially if we are doing a linear walk but there are other forms of transport to get to the start of a walk. I have on occasions arrived by tram and rarer still used the hovercraft from Portsmouth to Ryde to do a walk on the Isle of Wight, but how many of us have gone on a walk by using a plane to get to the start?

In a series of three forthcoming articles, my mode of transport will be a plane to reach the starting point for my walk and for this I am not even leaving the British Isles.
Two of my three walks using a plane to get to the start were planned at very short notice and my first time I tried this was when I was in the Orkney Islands many years ago. Now there was no long term advance planning for this but the opportunity arose where I could fly out to one of the outer islands, but which one. I decided to go for the remotest and with the promise of good weather the following day booked a flight out to the tiny island of North Ronaldsay.

It was just a short drive from Kirkwall, my base, to the airport on this fine sunny morning and I had plenty of time to spare. Whilst waiting in the departure lounge the weather had changed from sunny skies to misty grey conditions so that was not a good start. The Islander plane duly arrived, and a little late and under a grey sky we boarded and soon we were off flying out and passing to the east of the island of Shapinsay and soon we were back into the sunny skies. The flight had been altered and would now include a stop off on the island of Sanday before off again for the short hop to North Ronaldsay.

In bright sunshine we landed, and having watched the plane take off again from the short grassy and uneven runway I set off north along the straight lane running up the spine of this small and flat island. After about a mile I branched left on another lane to reach the few scattered crofts at Ancumtoun before crossing a couple of fields to reach the coast. Turning east I now followed the shore with the aim of reaching the tall brick lighthouse in the distance. The going underfoot was slow as the shore was rocky and pebbly with a few stretches of good sand to walk on. Later as I headed closer to the lighthouse there were far more birds about, in fact there were thousands of them. The lighthouse is a fine building consisting of a slender brick tower painted with white bands. Built in 1854, this 139 foot high structure is the tallest land based lighthouse in the British Isles and cost just over £6,000 for its construction. In 1889 it was repainted with two white bands so it could be better seen. The climb to the top is via 176 steps but it was closed today.

The Islander plane at North Ronaldsay. Along with the pilot, this plane can carry seven passengers.

Setting out along the straight and open lane towards the northern end of the island under big skies.The lighthouse can be picked out towards the right of the photograph.

The lighthouse on North Ronaldsay is the tallest land base lighthouse on the British Isles.

The original lighthouse at Dennis Head was first lit in 1789.

The white and empty sands at Linklet Bay were not exactly crowded.

I headed next to Dennis Head which is dominated by the Old Beacon, a crude stone tower which stood amidst a jumble of ruined buildings. This earlier lighthouse was first lit on the 10th October 1789 and was in use until 1809.
I paused awhile before rounding Dennis Loch and decided to take the road westwards rather than stay on the rocky foreshore. Later at Snash Ness I decided to regain the coast which meant climbing over a fence. Soon I was on the fine white sands of Linklet Bay which provided a mile of easy walking. I stopped and chatted with an islander gathering seaweed which would be sold to an American company as seaweed had a number of uses in the chemical industry. I now lost the sunshine as thicker cloud rolled in from the south and I continued at a leisurely pace around Bride’s Ness and here there were many seals offshore. The going again became slow to reach Strom Ness and at the same time it was turning misty. I still had plenty of time to spare as I followed the shore to South Bay which had another fine stretch of sand. What I hadn’t bargained on was that it had now turned very foggy with a visibility of only around fifty metres. At the pier at Nouster I got chatting with another islander who said that the plane wouldn’t be back if the fog stayed like this. This was all I needed, and so on a dull and very foggy afternoon I took the lane north to Hollandstoun thinking about at my options. I paused to visit the church and afterwards took a longer route back toward the airfield. With time still to spare I headed west out to Doo Geo and sat on the rocks looking out on a very foggy North Atlantic before returning to the airfield waiting room. The staff there were uncertain as to whether the plane would return and there had been no phone call from Kirkwall to say that the plane wasn’t coming. Time slipped by in the silent waiting room. Was I going to be marooned on a remote island I thought? Where would I stay? Did I have enough money? All these thoughts went through my mind. As time dragged by, the sound of an aircraft approaching was music to my ears and I was soon aboard and being whisked back to Kirkwall Airport and back into the sunshine.

Returning to Kirkwall Airport. The final approach after an exciting day.

Free Leadership Training

RAMBLERS ASSOCIATION NEW LEADERSHIP TRAINING

Walk Leadership Essentials is a full-day FREE course for volunteer walk leaders – helping you to develop the skills and confidence you need to plan and lead inspiring group walks. 

The course covers the roles and responsibilities of a walk leader, the practicalities of planning and leading a walk, and some of the scenarios you may encounter when out leading group walks. We will run through everything you need to know about insurance and safeguarding to ensure that your walks are safe and enjoyable for all.  And there will be plenty of time to ask questions, and share experiences and ideas with your fellow walk leaders!

Both new and existing walk leaders are welcome to attend – no prior knowledge or experience is necessary.

For further information click Leadership Training Ramblers Association

There are two training sessions in Manchester this January. To book click this link BOOKING