It was a dismal, grey, drizzly morning, but at least the heaviest rain had passed through during the night. 11 stalwarts assembled at White Lodge car park, and set off up the narrow, muddy dale that leads to Taddington Field. Some surprise was expressed at the above-head-height nettles, but at least this section was sheltered from the rather boisterous wind and intermittent drizzle.
Once up on the limestone plateau, conditions became less pleasant. Wheal Lane was followed down into the upper reaches of Deep Dale, where a sheltered “coffee break” was taken behind a wall. We then continued across fields to Sheldon, where the bus shelter was deemed too small for a lunch stop. Instead, we continued to Magpie Mine, where a sheltered, tiered lunch spot drew comparisons to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, and ran a close second to Marian’s lunch spot on last week’s walk.
During lunch, we learnt a lot about the history of Magpie Mine, as several people read out extracts from a booklet published by the Peak District Mining Museum. The death of 3 miners in 1833, was possibly not an accident, and led to the Widows’ Curse, which apparently still stands.
Lunch over, a different path was followed to the east end of Sheldon, and thus we succesfully circumnavigated The Cock & Pullet without being tempted in. We took the track past the church, and north into Great Shacklow Wood. A narrow path descended gradually through this, above a steep drop, and this required concentration because of slippery tree roots, mud, and damp limestone. A tree fallen across the path also provided some limbo-dancing practice. Everyone survived, and we made it back to the car park after an enjoyable walk of about 6 miles.
So Pat and Martin’s first attempt at leading a walk ended with no navigational errors, but a failure to provide nice weather.