|Day 13 Upper Hulme to Wildboarclough (12.4 miles)
I left Rose suite my overnight garden room at Hen cottage to breakfast in the delightful conservatory looking down the valley and up to the dramatic crag above. Shortly after starting breakfast another guest came in and goodness he would qualify for any competition of 'The most boring man of the 21st century'.I merely made conversation as he entered the conservatory asking if he was on holiday as his dress suggested he wasn't a walker. There followed in the six or seven minutes sitting next to his table that, he was the victim of the alleged psychological abuse of his wife turning his now adult son and daughter against him; neither now speak to him and he is alleged to harass them. I then heard about his negative views about solicitors, county court judges, social workers and basically every professional person who had a different view to him. He moved on to bore me about his battles with the Home Office over visa problems with his Philipine wife of 4 months; then to boot I heard about her heart valve problems, his abuse as a child and his brothers schizoid affected disorder. I was left thinking I just wanted my own company and was being polite asking whether he was on holiday, not a mistake to be repeated. Anyway a happy release was soon upon me although still talking he followed me to my suite and soon after I left Cloud cottage for the relatively short walk to Wildboarclough having arranged transport with Silvertown taxis to my overnight accommodation at the Rose and Crown inn in Allgreave.
The first part of the days journey descended from the B&B to high pastureland rather than moorland of the previous day. The day was fine with a bitterly cold easterly wind that acted as a perfect compass; a cold neck I was heading west, cold face either North or south and if the wind was blowing in my face obviously east. The days features were many lush green valleys that I ascended and descended, with an equal measure of cow people and the wooly folk. Also present again, as previous walks, many tumuli that makes clear how long feet have walked this land. As well as numerous farmyards to pass through there was also a little walking on asphalt through the counties of Staffordshire and Cheshire. As I climbed up to Oldhay top at over 1100 feet I had to face one of my genuine fears COWS!
Now these are unpredictable beasts, and any google search will reveal they are responsible for more deaths and serious injuries in the Uk than any other large animal. If passing through a field of these bovine assassins I can give them a 'wide berth' but having to pass through them in a confined farmyard was most unacceptable and alarming. Soon after I passed an older gentleman who told me he was 'in training'. We walked together for a few minutes and he explained he was going to try and climb Shutingeoe, known as the Cheshire Matterhorn. He pointed it out to me on the horizon.
He explained he damaged an achilles tendon when last attempting it and was determined to try again when he built up his fitness. I had not realised at the time I would be getting up close and personal to the Shutlingsoe on my penultimate days walk. Certainly in the distance it did look like an Alpine peak. As I felt I had plenty of time I took a breather in a wooded section on a wall by a powerful weir to have a cup or two of PG tips before my flask cooled down too much.
While sitting on the wall two ladies walking passed we talked for a while. They were heading for a lunch time drink in a pub in nearby Wincle. It sounded a lovely idea but I had a rendezvous with a taxi at a pub of my own the Crag inn at Wilboarclough at 2.45 pm so after a break I headed up and down valleys over streams and through pretty woodland. I crossed the A54 road at the Wild Boar pub which was closed before heading around Hammerton Knool for the last couple of miles eventually along the picturesque Clough valley to the Crag inn. I arrived with 10 minutes to spare but unfortunately the Crag also was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. By 3pm I was safely in my overnight stay nearby the isolated Rose and Crown at Allgrave.
The lovely pub is run by Ian the chef and his wife Luda who serves in the bar. Although the pub was closed Ian cooked me a superb Rabbit, ham hock and vegetable pie with red cabbage, vegetables and thick cut chips. Absolutely delicious as was the 3 wonderful pints of gold Cumberlahd ale, one of my favourites. So ended a lovely day.