Peak District Walks
Date: 14th November 2014
Distance: 6.3 miles
Ascent: 1470 feet
Time: 2 hours 50 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SJ961711
An excellent walk up through Macclesfield Forest to Shutlingsloe, one of the finest summits in the Peak District, before returning via Wildboarclough.
Route Summary: Trentabank Reservoir - Macclesfield Forest - Shutlingsloe - Banktop - Wildboarclough - Greenway Bridge - Oakenclough - Haddon Farm - Hardings - Trentabank Reservoir
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: This was the first walk of a three-day trip to the south-west Peak District. The aim of the trip was to finally bag the last two summits I needed to complete all the Deweys (hills over 500m) in the Peak District. The fact that these two were Shutlingsloe and The Roaches, both of which have a high reputation, meant that I was really looking forward to this trip.
Leaving the longer walk over The Roaches for the Saturday I didn't start this walk until lunchtime on the Friday. This was mainly because there had been little point setting off early from home as the forecast was for heavy rain all morning before brightening up after 12pm. Indeed I had to endure a fairly awful drive in the rain across the M62 and then round the M60, never an enjoyable experience even in good conditions.
Thankfully the forecast was spot on and the rain stopped almost the moment I finally arrived at the parking area at Trentabank Reservoir. Within minutes the sun began to come out and I eagerly set forth on the initial climb up through the plantations of Macclesfield Forest.
In hardly any time at all I'd climbed up to the upper reaches of the tree line to suddenly emerge out of the forest and be treated to sweeping views across High Moor to the mast-topped Sutton Common. As I began to climb higher up the slabbed path the impressive profile of Tegg's Nose could be seen back across Macclesfield Forest and then suddenly the steep summit slopes of Shutlingsloe itself appeared ahead.
The cloud was beginning to break up nicely and I timed my arrival at the summit perfectly. The dappled light caused by the patchy sunlight created some quite beautiful colours especially down in the valley of Wildboarclough. Although I didn't know it at the time I also had a far better view of The Roaches than I would have the next day when I actually walked along that ridge.
After spending over half an hour on the summit soaking up the views and taking far more pictures than I actually needed to I reluctantly decided to continue as there was only a couple of hours of daylight left. While it would have been easy to return the way I'd come I decided to take the more roundabout return route via Wildboarclough.
The descent was short and steep and in no time I'd reached the farm drive of Bank Top. Here I was joined by a pair of Bernese Mountain Dogs who appeared from nowhere and followed me all the way down the farm's long driveway then as far as the Crag Inn. From the pub it was then an easy walk across numerous sheep pastures to the drive for Higher Nabbs. This led me along the bottom of Piggford Moor to eventually reach Greenway Bridge.
After following Oaken Clough up on to the shoulder of High Moor I then took a path leading on to the road by the Hanging Gate Inn. The highlight of this section were the small tarns that provided a nice foreground for a good view back towards Shutlingsloe. Although the last mile or so of the walk was along a minor road there were no cars and the road was lined with hedges and trees displaying a riot of late autumn colour. By this time visibility really was excellent and to the south-west I could make out The Wrekin while away to the west I thought I could discern the outline of the Clwydian Hills in North Wales.
Upon reaching the car I made a quick diversion through the trees to view Trentabank Reservoir. The setting sun lit up the trees on the far shore really quite beautifully. This was a memorable finish to an enjoyable walk. I was blessed with the weather and Shutlingsloe is undoubtedly one of the finest summits in the Peak District.