Sun 8th Jan, 2012
Staffordshire Moorlands Walk
Members: Bob Kelly, Brian Taylor, Dave Wylie, Julia Partington, Allan (Hyde) Jones plus Skippy, Iain McCallum, Jim Gregson, Sandy Gregson.
Guests: Kate Graham, Simon Robertshaw, Dave Oakley.
The company assembled at the appointed time and place near Gradbach. Mild and damp but not raining, and at this stage there was reasonable visibility.
After setting off along the road towards the youth hostel we turned east to Greensitch Farm and then passing over fields and moorland to Adder’s Green and Morridge top. Down from there - and the first complaints about the ablutions of cattle - to High Ash farm.
I do grant that it was difficult to find a spot to sit down for a brew around the eleven o’clock mark, but we did. Jim thought that this would be a good time to raise with the “IT crowd” the problems with his wireless printer. I am very proud to say we dealt with this in the proper manner – Dave Wylie would not answer at all and I pretended to be from Vilnius, Lithuania.
On from there, with a damp behind, south through fields and some excellent mud of which I am quite proud to have found, to join the road that lead up to the moor at Boarsgrove. It now started to rain and by the time we got to Boarsgrove it was both raining and misty – so the views I hoped for did not materialise.
The next bit of the walk was best. We now crossed over the moor itself, with the path marked on the map not happening on the ground. But navigation was just fine and we emerged up onto the Morridge Ridge at the right spot.
This was where I planned lunch – but it was sufficiently cold, windy and wet for us to head off to the Winking Man. Lunch was had in a bit of a sheltered area behind the pub. Skippy provided the entertainment with his barking setting off about a dozen local dogs.
There was nothing more to do but drop out of the clag and into the valley behind the Roaches – negotiating some more excellent mud back to Gradbach as the late winter afternoon gloom descended.
Thanks to all who came and special thanks to Julia Partington who ran me over to Buxton to collect some engine oil at the end of the meet.
Morridge Top, Oakenclough and Middle Hills from Gradbach.
Start Time: 0930 Hrs for 0945 Hrs Start.
Start Point: Gradbach Car Park SJ999662.
Maps: OS Landranger 118 and 119 or OL24.
Distance: 11.5 miles.
Estimated Time: 6hrs 15mins.
The start point has been chosen as it is the closest spot to Manchester to get onto this part of the Staffordshire moorlands.
The route will take us eastwards through Bradley Howel, Sniddles, Adders Green to Morridge Top and then Smallshaw Farm.
Now we turn south east past Bradshaw and Oakenclough Hall Farm emerging on to a minor road near Holly Grove Farm After follwing the road for a short while we head west over the moors to the Winking Man pub. Westward ho down the Black Brook valley- onwards back to Gradbach.
I can offer one pub en route - hopefully it will be open. I quote "The Winking Man is a traditional Free House country pub which offers quality beers from Coors alongside superb guest beers". It also offers Zumba - eh?
Because of the short days it would be wise to bring a head torch.