First in Series: http: GC42B39 Walked on 05/05/2013
Refreshed from a good nights sleep and a fish and chip supper back at base camp, today Pip and I took on the challenge of the much larger northern loop of Grandad John’s Home Challenge. Today we started at number 1, parking on the wide verge opposite the church on the outskirts of Mobberly and began the walk at 9:30am to the sound of the church bells chiming.
From the church, we headed north westerly towards Broad Oak Farm. The start of the walk is on the Manchester Airport flight path. As we searched for the early caches in the series, several low flying aircraft went overhead as they took off. We passed through small holding, where some friendly piglets which ran up to the fence as we walked past.
At Broad Oak Farm, we began heading southwards, crossing a railway line and skirting the edge of Knutsford, where got our fish and chips last night incidentally. There was a reasonably long section on the road known as Pavement Lane, but it only really lead to a few houses so the traffic was minimal. At Springfield farm we crossed a small river, which provide Pip with the opportunity for a paddle and a drink.
From Springfield farm, we walked through several very lush green fields and pastures as we made our way to the busy Chelford Road. As we arrived at cache #25, several cows suddenly appeared on the other side of the fence, in the field that we had to cross next. As I had Pip with me, who by the way doesn’t like cows much, I knew it would be an interesting walk across the field to reach the stile on the far side. The cows were very inquisitive and excitable. The trouble with cows is that once one starts following you, they all join in and it wasn’t very long before the whole herd where gathering behind me. I find the trick is to to remain calm and not run because they will also run to keep up with you. I stopped every now and again as I felt they were too close and waved my stick and shouted loudly to get them to back off and thankfully we made it across with out incident.
By the time we reached the Chelford Road we had covered approx 5 miles, about a quarter of the way. A short section along the busy road before heading back into the country in a north easterly direction towards the village of Alderley Edge. At one point we got caught up in a stream of traffic leaving a huge car boot sale and had to leave one of the caches here. There are a number of “odd” detours on the northern route, with caches being located off the track the first was #102. We crossed through a golf course at one stage and then just after stopped for lunch at the approximate half way stage.
The next long leg of the trail, took us around Alderley Edge and up to Manchester Airport. There were 2 or 3 more small detours for more “odd” cache here and there, including one into Saltersley Moss Nature Reserve, a lowland raised peat bog. This section was mainly footpaths and bridleways and crossing a few minor roads. At #132 we encountered some more cattle as crossed through a couple of fields. I deployed the same tactics from earlier and made it across them safely. I also saw one of the largest displays of toadstools that I’ve come across.
The final leg of the walk, took us up close to Manchester Airport on the North Cheshire Way which runs parallel to the main runway. It was very noisy with the lots of aircraft taking off every few minutes, but it was a great view and an interesting end to the walk. Overall the walk took about 10 hours to do, I was exhausted by the end but the challenge was very rewarding. The caches have been placed to be found so apart from a couple it only took a few seconds at each one to locate and sign the log sheet, perfect for a large power trail. Now back to the campsite to rest and recover.
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