Thus is was today as only for the second time I led a Ramblers excursion. Having checked out the route twice, confidence was high as 28 of us set off from opposite Bamford Station, along Mytham Bridge Lane turning right on Hope Road (A6187) then left along Shatton Lane and first right down Nidd Lane. Entering a field we got our first view of Hope Valley to the right (with its ever familiar cement works) and the towering Shatton Moor to the left. It’s always pleasant having grass underfoot. The direction now west to reach Townfield Lane, where the OS map shows the path parallel to the road – for a sort stretch anyway, but then continues to a fork where we turned left heading at a gentle incline towards farm buildings. Our pace usually averages at two mph but once hills are involved this quickly drops as the group begins to spread out. This is when the back markers comes into their own not to hurry the slower along, but to make sure none are left behind.
Having negotiated the farmyard’s two heavy gates successfully, the route continued southwest across undulating fields, some quite steep where care is needed especially in wet weather. Thankfully today way dry, but still the going was tricky. Everyone reached Bradwell in one piece, where we had our “elevensies” at 11.30am in the children’s playground.
No time for ice cream, continuing our ramble we headed briefly south on the B6049 then turned left into Church Street, skipping up steps onto The Hills and onwards along New Road and finally Edge Lane, which if sign posted would be a 1 in 3 incline! The OS map shows two routes from here, strait up Robin Hoods Cross (for which ropes, crampons, and Karabiners are required) or left along the slightly more gentle Bradwell Edge, heading upwards towards Brough Lane, where we turning right to head south. As the name suggests we are now on a metalised farm track which sweeps gently left, allowing us to pick up the pace.
At a T junction we turned right along the lower edge of Abney Moor, which sweeps away left. We continued on for about two thirds of a mile until reaching a path crossing (signposted) and turned left for a yomp across Offerton Moor. This is rambling at its best, with open country on all sides, and a spring in everyone’s step.
On reaching Offerton Hall it’s right along the road for a couple of hundred yards then through a gate on the left, and downhill towards Callow Farm. Continuing downhill and into Callow Woods the path now more or less east turns right on reaching a metal clad road. At this point, having seemingly lost our backmarker and a phone signal, a search party was sent to backtrack. A call of nature and a wrong turn can lead to disaster for even the most experienced walker.
At Mount Pleasant Farm the route continues left towards the edge of woods and on towards the B6001. To the right is the Plough Inn, where we spent a very pleasant hour eating our lunch, in their beer garden. It’s always a joy when landlords allow us to eat our snap on the premises, after all it’s not every day they get a horde of thirsty ramblers along, but you’ll be surprised how few do.
Having completed two thirds of the planned route, it was a more gentle and less complex march back to Bamford. And a big thank you to everyone who took part and Neil for back marking.