Walk Report: Thurs 22 Oct

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    John BarnardJohn Barnard

    We met outside JB’s house in Stannington and divided ourselves into clockwise (five of us) and anticlockwise (four of us) groups and headed off in different directions. My group (the anticlockwise one) headed up the hill to a ginnel just past “Top ‘Ouse” (the Crown and Glove) and a high-level path with good views over the Loxley Valley and up to Bradfield, but also a brisk headwind which slowed progress. After dropping down to “Catty Lane” we crossed over to the Rivelin valley side to find that the clockwise group had already got past the meeting point of the figure-eight route and had headed down into the valley. We turned right and encountered a further obstruction in the substantial shape of a large and well-endowed bull, which was standing (with a calf and cows) right beside the stile that led into the next field (which was occupied by heifers). Some “slight hesitation” occurred before we concluded that the bull was much more interested in the heifers than in us, and managed to sidle past him and over the stile one at a time.
    After that things were pretty much plain sailing along to Ronksley Hall Farm and down the missing-R Onksley Lane to the A57 road. A short section along the road, and then a pleasant walk beside the upper river Rivelin before we climbed up to spy the clockwise group who just beat us to the Headstone. We told (socially-distanced) tales of our escape from the fearsome beast and warned the President to remove his red hat. Both groups decided it was too windy to use the Headstone as a lunch stop, but we found a sheltered area in the woods leading down to Wyming Brook Drive. The drive led us back round the reservoirs to Rivelin Dam, and a gentle climb up below the Edge, with the sun now filtering through the birch and oak trees.
    On returning to the figure-eight meeting point there was again no sign of the clockwisers, but no evidence that they had been gored either. However, we were now faced by a cow suckling her calf, right in the middle of the gateway we needed to use, but again we managed to get round unmolested, and completed the “Twenty Fields” (actually anything between 13 and 22, depending on how you count) back to Stannington. As we crossed the road we were nearly run over by one of the clockwisers, on her way home, who reassured us that the bull had been on the other side of the field when they passed, and had shown no interest in them – their avoidance of bovine obstruction had allowed them to complete the route ten minutes faster than us. GPSs recorded various figures between 8.3 and 8.6 miles. Many thanks to all who came, especially to Mike who led the clockwisers. Probably just as well there were no dogs in the party.

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