This was the walk I needed to rekindle my enthusiasm for the Cheshire Challenge. After walking solo since November, the lovely Sarah Williams joined me for the day. We spent the day putting the world to rights; walking and talking was the tonic I needed, from deep and meaningful discussion to silliness and laughter.
We started in Frodsham. I try and plan walks so if there is an unpleasant trudge along a busy road its at the beginning when my legs are fresh and the conversation lively rather than at the end of the day when I’m weary. So this first stretch was along the busy A56 before squeezing down the tightest passage way I’ve encountered on the whole challenge. Of all the Cheshire Challenge paths I have walked so far, the Eddisbury Way seems to be the least valued; here is no signage to say this is the Eddisbury Way, let alone the start of the route. Things start looking up for the path as it passes into woodlands, along fields and into a small gorge full of wild garlic. The waymarking is really poor so I made a few navigation errors as I was concentrating far too much on chatting with Sarah to spot the right paths to take.
There are some lovely ancient byways on this walk, worn sandstone under foot always makes me wonder who has walked these paths before and what the countryside surrounding it was like. Today the fields are a mixture of arable and livestock, the oilseed rape was starting to bloom brilliant yellow, the grass was lush and shooting up in the warm April sunshine and the sandy soil ploughed into deep furrows and planted with seed potatoes. The Eddisbury Way pulled up onto the sandstone ridge with long views behind us across towards North Wales, the rural countryside contrasted with the heavy industry of Runcorn.
We stopped for an early lunch in a grassy field protected from the wind by a sunlit hedge. Lunch was made all the better by the amazing flapjacks that Sarah had made and the subsequent sugar rush powered us up the hill.
More navigation conundrums occurred when I thought I had missed the public right of way, but closer inspection showed that the waymarked route, with the yellow arrows that indicate a public right of way was not where it was shown on the map. Here a brilliant navigation tip from Aaron Mitchell was put to use: high voltage pylons are marked on OS Explorer maps and if the insulators are hanging vertically then the cables are running in a straight line, if they are vertical then the cables are changing direction. With hedges removed and the waymarked route being further along the byway than shown on the map it was the pylons that confirmed I was stood where I thought I was, it was the path that was not where it was shown. The trodden path across the potato furrows meant we adopted a tigger-like walk bounding from the furrow-tops to cross the field.
The Eddisbury Way and Delamere Way form a crossroads on the edge Delamere Forest and it was here that we switched paths and headed north on the Delamere Way. There is a little more road walking but they are quiet back roads linking the byways and footpaths. The highest point of the walk is shortly before the end and the air was so clear that the Liverpool landmarks twenty miles away, the cathedrals and radio tower, were easy to spot. In honour of the pylon navigation aid we created the pylon dance and much hilarity ensued making the video before a group of walkers appeared. The walk descends steeply into Frodsham, sharing the path with the far better known Sandstone Trail. The start/finish of the Delamere Way is at the curiously named Bears Paw pub and we made it just in time for the weather to take a major turn from the blue skies to snow and sleet.
I’m getting close to the 20% complete with just 30km to walk before I hit the milestone. I have found my enthusiasm for the Cheshire Challenge again, with an aim to get some big miles under my feet over the next month.
Video of the walk HERE
The route is available on the Ordnance Survey website HERE
|Cheshire Challenge distance||12.5 km|
|Paths walked||Eddisbury Way & Delamere Way|
|Total distance||14 km|
|OS map||OS Explorer 267|
|Date walked||April 2021|
|Time taken||5 hours|
|Cake||Flapjack AND Beetroot & Chocolate cake|
|Dance pose||The Pylon Dance|
|Total Cheshire Challenge distance completed||268 km|