Looking up at a stone arch bridge. There is a rutted track underneath with bare trees in the background
Cheshire Challenge, Walk

Cheshire Challenge walk 16 – Eddisbury Way

The first walk of the Cheshire Challenge I didn’t complete as planned.  It was a bright, warm sunny day with the promise of spring in the air, as I set out I was keen for a good walk; I knew I could walk 20km, the navigation would need some care as I know the Eddisbury Way is not well waymarked but everything was within my comfort zone.  Any maybe that was the problem: it was all a bit, well, easy.

I set out through the forest, the sun had brought quite a few people out despite the lockdown but it wasn’t crowds and I would be soon away from the busier areas.  The first sign that perhaps my heart was not fully in it was when I couldn’t see how to join the Eddisbury Way at Manley.  I’d walked a short section of the Sandstone trail, too short to count this time as I know I will be back later, and was stood, map in one hand and phone with the OS app in the other pacing up and down for a stile that wasn’t there.  After grumbling a bit I realised the basic error I had made and that the path I was looking for ran parallel to the one I was on, but on the other side of the hedge.

Once I had gotten over kicking myself, the walk to Kelsall was past familiar landmarks I would usually drive or cycle past.  I like seeing these places from a totally different perspective. There is more detail to be seen with a slower pace and it doesn’t always show them in a better light: somethings are better for a glimpse at speed but others turn out to be more fascinating than I could have imagined.  Around here, the fields are surrounded by huge, thick Leylandii hedges, I think there were once many orchards with the hedges there to protect the fruit trees from wind and create warm micro-climates for them.  

There is only one really grim bit of this walk which is crossing the dual carriageway to get to Kelsall.  It’s a very fast stretch of road and extreme care is needed to cross it.  For me, Kelsall is the place where the nearest Co-op is so it was nice to walk through the village an see just how lovely it is.  The experience was slightly spoilt by the huge crowds that were in the park I had to walk through, I hadn’t been near that many people since the summer and it felt pretty uncomfortable: though I suspect my underlying mardy mood had more to do with that than I’d admit at the time.

My pace had been slow and as I walked through the orchards around Weetwood thoughts of stopping arose.  I only needed to walk the Eddisbury Way section, I have plans to walk the length of the Sandstone Trail over a weekend with a friend sometime so the short section I’d walk today would be repeated.  But that would mean I’d given up.  Let myself down.  Failed.  I chose to stop and sulked all the way home in the car after being picked up.

Hindsight being the leveller it often is, I know I didn’t fail.  But I have reflected on why this walk just ‘didn’t do it for me’.  It’s no one thing, but I think walks like this where there is nothing that really pushes me outside the comfort zone I much prefer to do with friends.  And I’ve done a lot of comfort zone walking solo, I set this challenge because I couldn’t get to the wilder moors and mountains I love; I enjoy discovering these routes closer to home and not having to drive an hour to walk and its great training for Svalbard.  But its not the same.  I think lockdown 3 has finally gotten to me and I just need to be kind to myself.  I’ve walked 320km over 16 walks since I started this challenge, missing a tad over 7km is hardly failing.

Onward.

Video of the walk HERE

The route is available on the Ordnance Survey website HERE

Cheshire Challenge distance8km
Paths walkedEddisbury Way
Total distance14.6km
Total ascent~ 300m
OS mapOS Explorer 267
Date walkedFebruary 2021
Time taken5.5 hours
CakeCarrot cake
Dance poseBallet barre
Total Cheshire Challenge distance completed320km
the stats

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