East Cheshire Ramblers contributed 6 walks to the Festival, ranging from 10 to 19 miles. On the first weekend Steve Hull led a 14 mile walk to Teggs Nose, Nessit Hill, Forest Chapel and back via Rainow. The following day Chris Brear’s 10 mile walk took walkers up the Harrop Valley to the new permissive path where Brian Griffiths explained how the Ramblers had developed the path and we admired the work of the footpath team in improving a notorious muddy section. We continued via Jenkin Chapel and back to Bollington. On the Tuesday our luck ran out with the weather. 13 hardy souls turned out for David Gylee’s ‘Trail to the Chapel and Back’ in strong wind and driving rain. By the Thursday the weather had improved again and 28 people to enjoyed Sandra Edwards’ 11 mile walk taking in Macclesfield Forest and the reservoirs. Ken Edwards’ led his long walk on the final Saturday, 19 miles and 4000 ft of ascent to Eccles Pike and back. 26 people completed the walk, ending with a welcome pint in the Vale. Some of them were out again the following day to join the 29 walkers on Mike Bull’s route to Teggs Nose and back. We were delighted to welcome walkers from other parts of the country as far afield as Sussex and Wiltshire who spent a few days in Bollington. A number of local walkers expressed an interest in becoming members of ECR, at least two have already joined and we hope to see them again soon.
The Bridgend Centre acted as a hub for the week and provided the ‘Walkers Cafe’ where welcome refreshments and home made cakes were served to hungry walkers. A welcome innovation for this year was the inclusion of 3 walks led by Marple Ramblers. Other highlights during the Festival included an early morning wildlife spotting walk, a stargazing night walk led by a local astronomer, an evening celebrating the Kinder Trespass, orienteering and geocaching walks. New for this year, the Ghost Walk was enjoyed by 67 people young and old. The Bollington Belles sang beautifully eerily and a ghostly apparition was seen at an upstairs window. They returned to the Bridgend Centre for a warm welcome with hot dogs and hot chocolate provided by Walkers are Welcome.
The Walking Festival organisers would like to thank all the walk leaders and back markers for their help during the Festival. We appreciate the work involved in developing new routes and being prepared to lead larger than usual groups. Planning for 2015 has already started. Offers of help to lead a walk or help with the organisation of the festival would be very welcome. We are a friendly group who meet every few weeks between February and August to put the programme together and plan publicity. Please contact Chris Brear, email@example.com if you are interested.