The Rambling Man Review of 2019: Part 1 – trails

Published 15 December 2019

Foolow village church and duckpond
Foolow’s village church and duckpond, on the White to Dark

If you were to ask me for one word that summed up 2019 I’d say one thing quickly. Brexit.

And then if you were to ask for one other word that had absolutely nothing to do with politics and the state of the nation, I’d quickly come up with “rain”.

Gordon Bennet, has it been wet this year. Floods left right and centre. And a seemingly constant pouring of rain.

And before anyone says anything about rain and the fact I live in Manchester, Manchester isn’t even in the top 10 cities in the UK based on rainfall.

But we have had so much of the stuff. Cast your mind back to the summer and think what was one of the biggest news stories at the time. No, not the ones about politics. No, the one about the town of Whaley Bridge that had to be evacuated as copious amounts of rain led to problems with a dam sitting above the town.

You may remember that one.

Whaley Bridge is only a few miles from where I live. The town is on the River Goyt and the Peak Forest Canal, two waterways that also flow through the town of Marple where I live. Needless to say, many people sat watching with baited breath as the rain continued to pour down.

I did, although I was on the family holiday in Tenby, Pembrokeshire. The weather was lovely there. But that’s another story.

Bluebells in the woods of Woodbank Park
Bluebells in the woods of Woodbank Park

Numerous weekends I’d spot that we had nothing in the diary so there could be – in principle – the chance to go out for a walk. Without fail, the weather on those weekends was absolutely atrocious.

I began to stop bothering to look at the forecast, and just assumed the worst.

Now it wasn’t all bad. But what little good weather we had was often filled with family outings and shorter hikes. I had good intentions of starting one long distance trail I figured I could do in day hikes, but the weather meant I never got close to starting. I managed to do the three days of the White to Dark, and a day doing the Etherow-Goyt Valley Way, and that was it on the trails front. I also did a bit of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path whilst on holiday, although I’ll save writing about that until the day I finally start walking the whole thing. Should that ever happen. And I also got to do a taste test on Bakewell Puddings. And that, let’s face it, is the kind of top notch content you come here for.

I did have more joy bagging Wainwrights. But on that I’ll talk more next week.

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