The Surly Gent and myself have been pondering the possibility of walking the Sandstone Trail for a couple of years now, and today we decided to make a start with one of the circular walks detailed in Circular Walks along the Sandstone Trail - not, I might add, a book I would rely on without an OS map as backup.
We started off from The Sandstone (previously The Coppermine) at Brown Knowl, where we left the car, and headed across the A534 towards Park Wood.
|The view up to Park Wood|
|View from Park Wood.|
|The gorse was out and looking lovely|
As part of our adventuring TheSurlyGent and myself are issuing each other with challenges - mine for today was to make pine needle tea. Park Wood supplied ample pines and larches, but discretion was the better part of valour and it was decided that it would be more sensible to find out exactly WHICH pines were safe to use for tea before devouring the first tree that came to hand.
...which eventually lead us up the side of Hale Superbole Mountain Boarding, and into some open beech woodland.
It was not long after this that things must have gone awry. We were trying to pick up the path to Raw Head, the highest point on the mid-Cheshire range. Somehow we missed the path and ended up in woodland, much of which was given over to pheasant production...but it was worth it.
A great prow of sandstone reared out of the woodland, and as we followed the path around it something amazing hove into view.....A CAVE!
|TheSurlyGent models the cave we found on the way to Raw Head|
|The view from Raw Head|
|Making coffee on Raw Head|
|The Gent prepares to do a headstand for his own blog.|
After a cup of coffee, some gymnastic hijinks and a bit of a rest we left Raw Head and continued what should have been a well defined and straighforward path back towards The Sandstone.
|The Gent in thoughtful mood|
|Across the Cheshire countryside|
|More outcrops - it IS the Sandstone Trail after all|
|Kitty's Stone on Bickerton Hill|
The path took us up Bickerton Hill, past Kitty's Stone and Maiden Castle. Again, at this point something went wrong.
|View back towards Maiden Castle|
|The correct path...|
Eventually we found our way back to the road, and it was only a matter of time till we got back to The Sandstone pub.
|Spring is well under way, and sights like this makes it all worthwhile.|
|And thank goodness The Sandstone was still serving - a big, juicy burger and hand made chips really did make it all worthwhile - even more than the tree blossom|
For more information about the Sandstone Way have a look at this very nice PDF guide