Wednesday 5 October 2016

Mow Cop

Today the intrepid explorers set out to finally visit Mow Cop. "Mow" rhymes with cow, though when the locals say the word it seems, to my southerner's ears, to be somewhere between that and the verb "mow".

The path up the hill is part of the South Cheshire Way, and a long, steep, muddy section led through  the woods to the east of Bridge 85 and the hamlet of Kent Green, finally emerging onto some gentler slopes near the top.

There are some stunning views from up here, looking out over the Cheshire plain, with what I take to be Jodrell Bank observatory standing proud, even on this slightly misty morning.

If that is the observatory, I cannot imagine how it got it's name – doesn't seem to be much of a bank around there. We, on the other hand, continued the tramp up our own, and before getting to the "castle" found ourselves passing the "Old Man of Mow".

From this angle it looks as though the Philae lander should be in a crevice near the top. A local man couldn't tell us why the gritstone quarriers would have left this bit sticking out, and I'm not enough of a geologist to know – perhaps it's not itself gritstone. Meanwhile the "castle" was just around the corner.

The path up was quite steep but the main hazard today was the wind.

At the top it was blowing a gale, but it was worth the effort. It's not a castle, of course, just Randle Wilbraham's summer house, built (in 1754) when such follies were fashionable. Mind you, I'm not sure that from within the "keep" you'd actually get much of a view of what you had presumably come up here to enjoy.

The site is also notable for being the birthplace of the Primitive Methodists – it's hard to imagine anyone giving a new movement a name like that these days! No matter how back-to-basics you thought you wanted to get.

Well, after all this exercise it was back to basics for us. Having done our internet research we'd planned to have lunch in one of the two pubs in Mow Cop, but finding them was more complicated than expected. On asking directions we found that one had closed permanently and the other was only open at weekends – information their websites had neglected to provide. We were given directions to another pub in "the lower village", which had "very good food" and set off down-hill. After a mile we found the Crown, but that was only open in the evenings. Our last hope was the convenience store and Post Office just along the road. An inquiry about the chance of getting a coffee somewhere in the village (non-existent!) led to an offer from a customer in the shop to drive us down to the canal, which we accepted. She dropped us off at Bridge 85 again.

Marion, you're a star! What a result! Not sure my best beloved's knees could have coped with much more downhill walking, especially given the detour that the map later showed us we had taken. The pub lunch will have to wait for another day.


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