My blog has just turned one year old! On 5th February 2017, I published my first post. It was about our first proper walk of 2017 – a stroll up Shutlingsloe with the help of some jelly babies. We didn’t make it. Arriving at a wall with a step stile covered in ice, we decided to cut our losses and head back to the car. Shutlingsloe would be there for another day. That day arrived a couple of weeks ago.
We had set off late after getting ready in a far too leisurely fashion, so when we arrived, the car park was full. We had spotted a couple of roadside parking spaces on the way up so we turned the car around, found a spot about half a mile down the road then set off back to the car park and the beginning of our walk. We were following the same route as our last visit, which you can read about here. It was however, a much clearer day.
Following the same well-made track led through the forest, Rowan found dinosaur footprints and a strange green dinosaur tooth. Dinosaurs are regularly lurking around somewhere in the forests of our walks, but so far, we’ve managed to avoid being eaten.
Soon, we reached an area of tree felling where the views opened up a little more. Rowan was happy to find that the snake’s log pile house was still in place. The snake and the Gruffalo were still nowhere in sight though, which was just as well, because Rowan’s belly was beginning to rumble.
Rowan had been nagging asking for our picnic, possibly since we left the car, so we found a bench as sat down for our butties. The wind was really strong and I couldn’t wait to get to the open fell side and have a play with my anemometer.
Feeling full of energy after a little rest and a bite to eat, we followed the signpost for Shutlingsloe that led us through a gate and onto the stone pitched path that led to the summit. The views much more expansive than last time and the 20 miles per hour winds (as per my awesome anemometer) were invigorating.
The path snaked its way across the moor until eventually we reached a kissing gate. Passing through, we could see the Matterhorn of Cheshire, its top thrusting up to the sky. The sight of it had Rowan running along the path beside a dry stone wall in eager anticipation of reaching the summit.
The step stile that defeated us last time was easily climbed by all of us, Rowan insisting he go first so he could open the gate. Following closely behind, to make sure he didn’t fall, I relaxed a little when I saw that the drop on the other side was not at all far.
Here, the path steepened significantly but rather than dampen his spirits, it just seemed to spur Rowan on even more as he scrambled his way onwards.
At the last push to the top, we were presented with a couple of options – follow the slightly shallower path round, or scramble up some rocks. Whilst Rick and the mutts took the path, Rowan’s sense of adventure allowed no option except climbing and within a minute or so we had reached the extremely windy top (33 miles per hour according to my favourite new toy).
We admired the 360 degree views, then explored the top a little, finding a plaque commemorating Arthur Smith, a ceaseless campaigner for footpaths and open access, which made me wonder whether he may have been part of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout. We also met a lovely brother and sister, geocaching with their family. They kindly shared their experience of opening the stash with us, and it is certainly something I am going to look into in the future.
Conscious of the time, we decided to make our way back down, returning to the car just as light was starting to fade. We had walked four miles and climbed just under 400 metres. You can find details of our walk here, and more information about Macclesfield Forest here.