Sunday, 8th September 2013

Walk: Hanging Stone, Lud's Church, The Roaches, Ramshaw Rocks
Start Point: Car Park, Gradbach Grid Reference: SJ 998 662
Distance: 13.5 miles Ascent: 2,500 feet
Time: 7 hours    
Weather: Dry, sunny spells, light breeze
Comments:

A bit more of a drive today, down into  East Cheshire and despite the wet of yesterday, we were greeted with blue skies and perfect morning conditions for rambling. The route today passed through the Gradbach Youth hostel where a barbeque was cooking fresh bacon in preparation for a sponsored walk which was due to pass this way.  With nothing on offer we followed the path along the course of the River Dane through Back Forest on to Danebridge. We then headed back eastward and on to the first highlight of today the 'Hanging Stone' aptly named.. a massive outcrop of rock onto which has been fixed a memorial plaque to commemorate  a local soldier killed in action in Burma during WWII. After a quick tea break we continued, following the well signposted paths to Lud's Church, a deep cleft in the gritstone mass 60ft deep and 100 yard long. Atmospheric and probably a bit spooky when dusk approaches. The feature is linked with Arthurian legends [Sir Gawain and the Green Knight] and tales from the past of religious ceremonies. Having found the way out we then head onto the ridge leading to the Roaches. The conditions were excellent and views were abound across the Cheshire plain and the Welsh mountains in the far distance. The weathered gritstone rocks had been sculpted by frost, rain and winds and  created imaginary shapes and features as we stuck out along the footpath. Descending from the ridge we passed a multitude of climbers 'Crag-Rats' as Mike Harding described them, scaling the gritstone faces to the high ridge above, we stood in awe and admiration of their skills. We took lunch and then onward joining the Churnet Way which took us over Ramshaw Rocks and back down to the road and onto the footpath along the side of Dane Valley. A steady descent back to car park

 

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

Guess where we are going today!

 

BBQ at Gradbach Youth Hostel - for participants in the Charity walk only!

 

Woodland walking . . .

 

beside the River Dane

 

Natural dam building in progress

 

John tempts the goats with a handful of grass

 

The 'Hanging Stone'

 

Kath - on the rocks

 

Leading ladies enter Lud's Church

 

John seeks a way out

 

Phil follows through the chasm . . .

 

and the group inspects the high rock walls

 

An alternative way out - with a helping hand from John

 

Top of The Roaches . . .

 

where there are great views over the surrounding countryside . . .

 

and lots of natural sculptures

 

Looking along the ridge to Hen's Cloud

 

Where's my next hand-hold?

 

Is this a step too far . . .

 

I think I'll go for this one instead

 

Phil heads through the heather - not the best terrain for shorts . . .

 

and John inspects the next rock sculpture

 

What today's Rambler is wearing

 

Ramshaw Rocks ahead

 

The end - and still smiling

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