17th January:

It all started with some confusion. I had been looking at the wrong programme and Tony had lost his. We got all the information out in a last minute panic, then only to find the Club web site was out of action. However all came through in the end. Sunday morning saw even further excitement due to a fresh fall of snow, however almost everyone got out to Tideswell on time.

At 9.30 we left Tideswell walking down Stancote Lane, then through fields to join the Limestone Way. This then took us into Millersdale and the path down the side of the River Wye. With the fresh snow on the trees and the sun shining, it all seemed very pretty and a slight haze gave a soft light that added to the effect. Plenty of mud and water underfoot kept a bit of reality for us. Further up the Wye, Martin Pierces dog jumped into the river after a thrown stick, and we saw its head in the rapids as he went round the corner and out of sight. However, the dog must have enjoyed itself, because it jumped in again! Pressing on over the stepping stones, both sets in very good order and well clear of the water, we walked into Wye Dale.

At this point the path leaves the riverside and climbs high up the hill side. We followed the ridge for about ¾ mile before crossing the valley and onto King Sterndale. We had lunch in the village square before heading onto join the Mid Shires Way. This crosses Deep Dale and onto Chelmorton. Up the road and past the pub and church and then across Taddington Moor. Once in Taddington, we visited the Sampson home. Pip gave us a biscuit and a drink. I don’t know what the drink was but it came out of a gin bottle and it was very good! George now joined us giving us the benefit of a local guide. This wasn’t full proof but he did show us some good short cuts. On the route down into Monsal Dale then finally back up to Tideswell just as it was getting dark.

Back at the hut all was cosy with fires well lit and the cavers joined us for a tea fit for a king. What a first class day we had.