First weekend after the New Year celebrations in Grasmere did not have a promising weather forecast either. The three of us had a traffic ridden exit to the Stockport area, but the rest of the journey was fine apart from the constant drizzle and low-lying cloud spoiling the views.
There was a good crowd at the hostel. In addition to our group with the London contingent, there were two families and a group who were doing the Duke of Edinburgh navigation skills.
The open fires in the main lounge and hall were a welcome sight. After supper, some brave souls headed down the valley to the Anglers Rest to enjoy the local beers, while others split into the “fireside in the hall” chat and the noisy lounge chat with lots of laughs.
Saturday morning was quite fair and the group split in three, with 2 of the 3 groups starting off on the main 9.5 mile walk aiming to head for the Church Inn at Chelmorton and back via the Monsal Trail. There was a pretty tough ascent out of Miller’s Dale, with very high steps (they never think of those with short legs!) and what seemed a never ending rise. Near Priestcliff, Campbell, Pam and Joan diverted to a less up and down route to the Church Inn at Chelmorton.
There was a pleasant coffee stop in the churchyard at Taddington, followed by an ascent which gave lovely views before a level path with many stiles by Sough Top and the descent to Chelmorton with views of the locust weather-vane on the church.
Pam, Joan and Campbell were ensconced in the stone floored area of the bar and those who were loath to remove their boots decamped to the picnic tables after the landlord said he did not mind us having our own lunch there. The third group joined us here to enjoy the local ales (Ken, Robbo & Martin).
Unfortunately the second part of the walk was somewhat marred by a big storm with thunder, lightning plus horizontal hail and rain and a part of the path where it looked as if the farmer had tried to block off the right of way. Eventually we descended to the Monsal trail where the rain eased off and after a tea break at the old Miller’s Dale Station, we headed up the hill to the hostel. It turned out to be a nearly 12 mile walk, so no wonder some of us were feeling it! It was then down to eating rocky road and drinking mugs of tea before the meal. Big thank you to Jack and Peter for leading the walk at the last minute.
A larger group went down to the pub on Saturday night and reported that the usually taciturn landlord was very forthcoming and helpful.
Sunday dawned wet. A core group headed out to do an approximate 7mile circuit in the other direction on the Monsal Trail, while others high-tailed it for home, as boots and clothes had not really dried out properly. Brownie points to Chris Hughes who turned up promptly at 9.30 am to join the walkers.