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24th February 1962 - Buxton to Millers Dale

For this expedition a completely new route (for us) was planned from Buxton to Millers Dale, via Wye Dale and Chee Dale. Eighteen members (listed in the record book), including Mr and Mrs Mason, Mrs Richardson and Gerald Boardman as leaders, boarded the 8.55am train from Marple and arrived in Buxton at about 10.15am. Here we met three members who'd come via Newton to Buxton.

The party was guided through the town by GB on to the A6 road, and then headed along this road for about ¾ mile when it was decided that a break from the road must be made. Mrs Richardson explored a path up the side of the gorge, and the remainder soon followed.

A faint path was followed through the trees, along the left hand edge of the gorge, to the large quarry workings about 2½ miles from Buxton. Some fine views of the dale were obtained on this stretch. In many places the sides dropped away sheer for 100ft or more.

WW1962-007 Cheedale, April 1962
WW1962-007 Cheedale, April 1962

Blasting was in progress at the quarry; we skirted this into Cunning Dale, where we scrambled around for a while, before eating sandwiches by the side of a track leading to the quarry workings. The lunch stop was not very long owing to the biting cold wind blowing, which made inactivity uncomfortable, despite the sunshine being enjoyed at that time,

After lunch the group scrambled up the side of Cunning Dale and headed onwards towards Chee Dale. Shortly after this Mrs Mason noticed that Julie Lanyon and Lyn Hadfield were no longer with us. GB dashed to the edge of the Dale and observed them heading in the wrong direction - up Cunning Dale. Fortunately Gerald was able to attract their attention and soon they rejoined us. The pair had not observed the party turn right off the track and clamber up the side of the dale.

During this time the bulk of the party had moved ahead with Mrs Richardson and were out of sight. The remaining small group kept to the path through the woods along the edge of Wye Dale, and in sight of road and railway. After a mile or so of pleasant walking we reached the gate of Picton Hall and were joined by Mrs R, who had halted her party while she made a search for us. We skirted Picton Hall garden and rejoined the rest of the group.

WW1962-010 Cheedale, April 1962
WW1962-010 Cheedale, April 1962

From this point we walked down the drive, then alongside the river (near the road) for about a mile before joining the road for about half a mile. At the road junction we left the road again to follow the footpath to Chee Dale and Millers Dale. From this point the beauty of the dale increased as we progressed and the path deteriorated. In many places great limestone cliffs towered several hundreds of feet from the river, their strange distorted shapes showing the effects of scouring water over many thousands of years.

Although not in flood, water was fairly high in the stream and in two places progress was made over stepping stones beneath over-hanging cliffs. These bits were great fun and enjoyed by all. Many fine trees were down as a result of recent gales, and in places had damaged the path, adding a little extra excitement to the walk. On our first visit to Chee Dale it was generally agreed that this is the most beautiful of the dales we have visited.

WW1961-011 Millers Dale
WW1961-011 Millers Dale

Despite our very leisurely progress and much playing around on the way, Millers Dale was reached by all by about 4.0pm. The head of the group had arrived some half hour earlier - this was due to the shortness of the route; only about 8 miles.

As the train for Marple was not due out until 5.33pm we had some time to kill around Millers Dale. Some drank tea in the small café, others climbed on rocks and on the higher hills, while a few watched trains. Finally we all congregated round a good fire in the station waiting room.

The three High Lane boys caused a little concern by departing on a Buxton train without informing the leaders of their intentions. A ‘phone call to Denis Bower's home on return to Marple at 6.15pm soon removed this little worry.

A very pleasant and successful day.

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