Fortunately the met office was slightly adrift on the forecast rain for Sunday 16th September when 12 of us set off to do a circular in the Longnor and Chrome Hill area.
There was a bit of an autumn chill in the breeze as we set off due west from Longnor market place along Gauledge Lane. As ever, the Denise variety of walk took in a variety of muddy spots, including the boggy meadows below Fawside, where Hawkeye Steve H spotted a heron taking off from the bridge over the budding River Manifold and later a buzzard was spotted swooping over the next valley.
On the Barrow Moor road, the leader was slightly led astray and we walked further up the hill past the intended turning. Only a matter of two or three hundred yards detour, which would have meant missing the carefully chosen snap spot with great views over the Manifold valley towards Longnor.
We received an atomiser spray of drizzle through the partially sunny skies, which stopped almost as soon as we set forth once more and for the rest of the walk the rain held off.
The path followed a steep descent to cross a handy little bridge over the Manifold, followed by a steep climb over cow-infested meadows to Ball Bank Farm. The ascent was more gentle at the back of the farm, through dying bracken and birch trees to the summit with wonderful views all around.
After several meadows on the flat, with fine views of rocky Chrome Hill the descent to Hollinsclough village for lunch was along an amazingly rock strewn lane and even Chris H said he had never set foot on it despite his years of plodding the Peak District.
Lunch in picturesque Hollinsclough had the luxury of bench seating and even a table outside the local church hall.
After the break we walked down to the foot of Chrome hill, taking a track which crossed a footbridge over the Swallow Brook bubbling on the way to join the Dove and past Packhorse Hill.
A gentle ascent across meadows took us towards Glutton Dale and a slightly steep ascent rose over the brow to take us to Earl Sterndale and the Quiet Woman. (How did Denise escape having her head cut off there!)
In the field at the back of the pub there were several little donkeys, including one who looked just like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh stories and on top of the hill there were magnificent views over the Dove valley where a stony path with harebells, purple scabious, coltsfoot and other flowers grew on either side.
Yet one more boggy bit to cross before the final slow ascent to the top of the hill behind Longnor village and just as some of us were entering the tea room, the rain started.
Steve H reckoned it was a “good” 8.5 miles considering all the ups and downs of the walk.