An Epic Walk – 6th January 2010

Plodding through the spindrift towards Sponds Hill

A walk that will always stay in my mind and gave me a certain reputation was one that I lead from Adlington Road car park in Bollington on a winter’s day in January 2010.

Bollington, like most of Cheshire at that time was covered in snow, so much so that all other East Cheshire Ramblers’ walks had been cancelled that week. Undeterred, but also living in Bollington at that time and able to walk to the start point, I was keen for my walk to go ahead. I cannot remember everyone who came on this epic walk, although I do remember Roger Fielding, Brian Griffiths, Ruth Harrison and the Eversons came, along with a few others.

Setting off along the Middlewood Way we progressed as far as the North Cheshire Way in order to enter Lyme Park. Going through fields and having to guess largely where the footpaths would have been we encountered snow several inches deep which hampered progress to some degree. With a break for morning coffee by the Macclesfield canal we did eventually reach the courtyard at Lyme Park where we stopped to eat our packed lunches. That was the easy part of the walk, although we didn’t realise it at that point in time.

Following the leader’s footsteps through a snow drift

The planned route back to Bollington was to follow the Gritstone Trail, heading uphill first of all towards the Bowstones. Some in the group questioned the wisdom of heading uphill in a blizzard. However, uphill we went and we all arrived somewhat snow covered by the Bowstones. Here we met a group of walkers coming in the opposite direction, whose advice was to “avoid the footpath” as it was about a foot deep in snow. Keeping as best as we could to the high ground we followed the Gritstone Trail and descended via a snowdrift onto the road above Pott Shrigley. Getting through the snowdrift proved to be tricky, as once in it there was no easy way out. I recall that Ruth Harrison rolled over the top of the snow but poor Georgie Everson was well and truly stuck. Brian and I eventually pulled Georgie out and the group made it back down to Bollington, as the sun shone and we felt that the effort was worth it.

Snowdrifts on the road towards Charles Head

I did repeat this walk early in March 2020 before lockdown. On this later occasion it was a very wet and windy day but somehow this walk failed to capture the magic of the walk in January 2010.

David Gylee, January 2021

Photographs by courtesy of Roger Fielding.