|Strolling up to Lantern Pike|
This walk followed go4awalk's route D112.
1. Start out along the Sett Valley Trail from Hayfield
We walked into the village from the CCC camp site at Hayfield in the mid afternoon to find the car park at Hayfield Station was packed, with walkers and cyclists everywhere. But as soon as we struck out westwards along the trail the numbers of fellow travellers diminished rapidly. The trail, being an old railway track bed, is level and easy going, with only the occasional cyclist to avoid. When we turned north east at Birch Vale, up a steep and gloomy lane between high, beautifully-constructed stone walls, we were alone. The narrow lane, at first cobbled, becomes tarmac-covered, and here we met a car the driver of which was determined not to give way to us or even slow down and had us scrambling up the grassy bank to avoid being hit. Grrr.
2.Through clouds of flies up to Lantern Pike
The climb continued up to the eastern edge of Lantern Pike, where I persuaded Lenore to make the diversion up the final few hundred metres to the peak (373m) to see the view (there's a toposcope). Here we met a billion big black clumsy flies mating and dying amongst the heather. They were more interested in having sex than having anything to do with us, but they were still annoying! The view was stunning. The track led onwards in a gentle curve down to Bullshaw farm and a veritable Clapham Junction of footpaths! We though followed the lane running eastwards to and around Blackshaw Farm and then steeply downwards. Keep going, even though it feels as though you are going too far, and eventually you come to a footpath sign pointing south.
3. Back down to Hayfield along ancient paths
Well, they felt ancient anyway! We began amongst sheep and trees, and then wandered through woodland before the path joined another narrow lane at some cottages. Don't be tempted to go over the stile that is opposite you...it leads down to Little Hayfield. Instead we kept to the lane, and this eventually enters Hayfield by a back door.
We met a couple of walkers near Lamntern Pike, but otherwise we were the only people out on a great afternoon.