With a free day in prospect my mind quickly turned to Uniques. However, as these are all rather a long way away from my QTH I felt that the ratio of enjoyment to driving-time was not adequate so I started to think of something a little closer to home. I tend to activate my local hills (there are only four) early in the year but, with the MG behind me, I was not bothered about points anyway. In the end I decided on an environmentally-friendly assault on Shining Tor. It’s an approach that I have done several times before and it is a great expedition.
I wandered into Macclesfield at 0900, pausing for a coffee at our new Caffe (sic) Nero. I then made my way to our new bus station (what Civic Pride!). This was cunningly designed to have just one bay too few so I walked to the outdoor bus stop and awaited the bus to Buxton. This turned up bang on time. I paid my £2 and enjoyed the view as we travelled across the Peak. Most of my planned route was visible from the lefthand side of the bus. A previous expedition had alerted me to the folly of getting off the bus too soon (SK040720) so I waited until just before Macclesfield Old Road to alight (SK043727). At that point I was surprised to see that the bus turned into Macclesfield Old Road went round the estate an emerged at the top - just where I was heading (SK037724). I made a mental note to stay on the bus even longer next time.
From the top of Macclesfield Old Road the path heads across Burbage Edge, eventually picking up Berry Clough and into the Goyt Valley. From there I followed signs for Stakeside (SK000729) and thence to the top of Shining Tor. quickly deployed the RSA propping it against the finger-post to keep it upright in the strong breeze. First in the log was Fritz on his summit followed by a host of others, even GW0DSP - presumably on groundwave? I munched my sandwiches while operating and continued until a couple of CQs went unanswered - time to go. From this point I was a little uncertain about the best route. I have never found a really satisfactory way back into Macclesfield from here so instead I headed WNW towards Lamaload Reservoir. By this stage I was looking at my watch as I had promised to pick up my daughter from school (3:20pm). I dropped down to the reservoir admiring the patterns made by the clouds on the sunny hillside as they scudded by. At Lamaload I picked up the reservoir road talking a shortcut through woods at SJ952752 and out onto the main road in the village of Rainow at SJ946752. From there I planned to walk along the road into Macc. I would have to shift to get back on time. Where I picked up the road, there was a bus shelter. I paused to glance at the timetable, it was 1335. I could hardly believe my eyes when I noted that a bus was due at 1337. As I turned around the bus pulled up - there’s lucky!
£1.20 paid and I was soon back in Macclesfield. As I walked down the main street my mobile rang. It was my wife checking to see how I was doing. In passing she mentioned that she was also in town - in Caffe Nero with a friend. As this was less than 20m from where I was standing, I joined them for a second coffee. It was hard to believe that I had done so much and it was not even 2pm! …and I didn’t have to rush either as a friend rang to say that she would pick up our daughter anyway.
Pretty much a perfect day on the hills - environmentally friendly, fine weather, super walking, some radio and two visits to a cafe.
This walk could be done from much further afield - Macclesfield is on the West Coast mainline (railway) and is regularly served by trains from London, Manchester and Birmingham. The bus station is a 5 minute walk from the railway station. Bus times can be found here:
In my experience children especially love “multi-modal” transport trips…
Next time I plan a to do SP-001 by public transport.