Thursday 25th March 2021
It still wasn't appropriate to drive (travel) beyond immediate countryside for outdoor exercise and recreation on this date, although those freedoms were less than one week away. As such, I decided to walk from home to Shining Tor summit.
I set off from my home QTH on the Weston Estate, Macclesfield and walked into the town centre. I then walked up to Hurdsfield, and took the public footpath on the right up to Cliffe Farm on Cliff Lane. I was pleased to see that the honesty box stall was fully stocked, and I added two Mars & Malteaser tiffins to my rucksack.
Over the road, I went to say hello to the pig and the goat. The pig came to say hello back! At the top of Cliff Lane I crossed the main Macclesfield-to-Buxton A537 road and walked via Brink Farm to Walker Barn.
After passing the former Setter Dog pub at Walker Barn, and the Peak District National Park boundary stone, I turned left onto a public footpath.
I followed the pleasant paths through to Lamaload Reservoir.
The path emerged onto a road at the south end of Lamaload Reservoir. I turned left down the road, still with the reservoir on my left. At the corner, I turned right onto a well-signed public footpath.
The path climbed, weaved and undulated until eventually topping out on Shining Tor.
On the summit I made eleven QSOs on 2m, mostly FM but with a couple of C4FM (Fusion). It was nice to catch a couple of new activators on Cracoe Fell G/NP-032. They had also walked from home to their summit.
I commenced the descent the standard way towards the Cat & Fiddle. However, I veered right onto the path to drop to the main road at Peak View Tearooms. Opposite that establishment, is a permissive path that weaves its way down to Bottom of the Oven.
There was then a climb up a stony track to Forest Chapel and a continuation into the Macclesfield Forest. This section of the walk was beautiful, and excellent walking.
As Tegg's Nose came into view, Marianne called to say she was out on a shopping trip, and did I want picking up from anywhere? I replied "Yes please, meet me at Teggy". That relieved me of an extra three miles uninspiring walking back through town to home.
There remained just the climb up to the car park and tearoom at Tegg's Nose Country Park to complete the walk.
Tuesday 30th March 2021 - Shining Tor G/SP-004, Gun G/SP-013 & The Cloud G/SP-015
The get-up time today was now 1am. The plan was to be in bed asleep by 6pm later that day, ahead of a long overnight walk with a midnight start.
I drove up to the usual parking spot, just short of the Cat & Fiddle, on the A537 Macclesfield-to-Buxton road. The walk to the summit was pleasant and seemed to fly by.
To my surprise and relief, four stations were worked despite it being just after 3am local time. I descended and went over to Gun G/SP-013.
Saturday 3rd April 2021
This activation report from Jimmy M0HGY:
"Happy Easter to everyone involved in SOTA. On Easter Saturday evening I did my first 2021 SOTA activation which was Shining Tor G/SP-004. The reason for this being my first SOTA activation of 2021 is because until recently it has not been acceptable to drive the to parking spot of your local SOTA summit, due to Covid-19 restrictions in England. The reason for doing this activation in the dark is because due to social distancing, I prefer to walk past less people, so walking in the dark means you are less likely to see anyone else on the walk.
When me and my dad Tom M1EYP arrived at the parking spot, we saw two groups of people arrive there who were descending, and then another two groups of people while on the ascent, but no problems with social distancing. After this we saw no one.
My dad Tom M1EYP activated this summit on 20m CW where he got five contacts - including DX from Puerto Rico and Curacao - and then 2m FM where he got four contacts. I activated the summit on 2m FM where the band was very busy proving that those who say 2m FM is dead are wrong. I worked a total of 25 contacts. I now had a week off work booked so was planning night-time activations of Gun G/SP-013 and The Cloud G/SP-015 for later in the week."
Easter Sunday 4th April 2021
"I want to go out on a walk on my birthday" declared my wife Marianne. Her birthday this year coincided with Easter Sunday. That morning, I prepared some salami, Edam and piccalilli sandwiches for us to take out on our walk.
I decided that Lockdown Walk 42 from my Lockdown Walks project would be a great walk to do on this lovely sunny Easter Sunday. We parked up at Tegg's Nose Country Park car park, and joined the socially-distanced queue for the pay-and-display parking ticket machine! Parking for the whole day was a pretty reasonable £3, and I was happier to pay that amount than leave my car on one of the nearby country lanes, after a brief 'debate' with Marianne!
The walk took us along the Gritstone Trail over Brink (hill) and down to Brink Farm. We turned right along the walled tracks through the farm to head up to Walker Barn.
At Walker Barn, we walked past the former Setter Dog pub and then the Peak National Park boundary stone.
Behind the big millstone, we crossed a stile to head onto the long public footpath through farmland towards Lamaload Reservoir.
Shortly, we dropped into a pleasant hollow by a babbling brook. Marianne thought this was a nice spot for our coffee and sandwiches, so we rested here for our lunch, relatively early in our walk.
We continued on the path towards Lamaload, turning left off the track to cut the corner with the optional "Reservoir Circuit" path (not mapped).
After turning left onto Hooleyhey Lane, we walked slightly downhill in the direction of Lamaload Reservoir. Bit by bit, the full extent of the large dam at the other side of the water came into view. Soon we reached the sharp road corner from where the "Burbage via Shining Tor" path leads off.
A couple of sections of stiff steeper ascent were broken up by a long curving flattish section with great views out to the south. Halfway up one of the climbs, we rested and indulged in custard pies to complete our lunch.
Shining Tor summit was reached after cutting across from the main path along a trodden but unmapped line. It was extremely windy on the summit and difficult to find a comfortably sheltered spot. We elected for the flat patch of grass a little down from the trig point, and just above the rock outcrop. It was actually almost the same position that Jimmy and I had taken up for our activation the previous evening! I made four contacts on 2m, all on C4FM digital voice mode.
From the summit we initially took the usual descent route towards the Cat & Fiddle, but branched off on the right to follow the footpath down to the tearoom at Peak View. This was open and serving takeaways, but we pressed on and directly over the road and into another public footpath. This path lead down into a steep sided mini valley called Chest Hollow, containing a brook. The path swung around to contour the banks of Chest Hollow in a westerly direction.
We worked our way down to Bottom of the Oven, between the Stanley Arms pub, and the Forest Distillery. Here we turned left onto the road, then almost immediately right, and very quickly right again to climb the stony track up to Forest Chapel. The Easter Sunday service (outdoors) was just concluding at St Stephen church. We then turned right up Charity Lane (not driveable at this end) and climbed up towards the forest. When we reached the trees, Marianne was pleased to learn that we wouldn't need to continue right up to the top of Warrilow Head, but would divert left into the forest path, which would maintain a mainly level contour for the next half mile or so before descending.
There would be a final climb required though. After emerging from the forest and dropping down along Hacked Way Lane to the Saddlers Way route, we then needed to climb the cobbled path back up to the car park at Tegg's Nose Country Park. A little "sting in the tail" you could say! Marianne complained that the walk was somewhat lengthier and more strenuous than what she'd hoped for on her birthday, but at least we could enjoy a guilt-free birthday tea - a banquet for four from the fantastic Weston Balti Raj, Macclesfield.