Get Outside Day is an idea coined by Ordnance Survey to encourage more people to get outside. A simple concept, which is promoted by the Get Outside Champions. Usually, I will spend time with Zoe (Splodz) and Katy (Katyish) doing as many outdoor activities as we can. We have done it for the first year in 2018 and again in 2019, but last year and this didn’t come off – for obvious reasons! So this year, fortuitously, I had friends staying so got to get outside with them instead. Time outdoors with friends is always time well spent.
Since moving to the south of Manchester, we have started to realise that some of our favourite ‘far away’ walks are actually closer, which is quite exciting. Once a forty-minute drive to Macclesfield, it is now a mere twenty minutes, which is great! The suggestion for a walk at Macclesfield Forest came from our friends’ friend.
Jonathan and Dan are in the middle of travelling across the UK visiting friends before they move back to Australia. We were one of the stops for the North and, the suggestion for Macclesfield Forest (well, Shuttlingsloe) came from the friend before us. It was a great idea. It has been a while since we ventured that way.
Sunday morning sunshine
After a week of rainy forecasts, we were pleased to see that the weather would be fine and dry for our adventure to Macclesfield Forest. Twenty-one degrees was the expected high temperature for the day. Off we set with our sun lotion on and hats at the ready.
After the lovely winding journey to the Macclesfield Forest car park, the sun had hidden behind some clouds and the temperature was nowhere near that climate prediction! Thankfully, we had fleeces to keep us toasty, but even more so once we started to scale the hill!
We arrived in the morning which meant that there were few people walking the paths. Before we knew it, the sun had popped out again and our fleeces were doing their job. It was pretty warm!
The Red Route
Because of our early start, we had plenty of time to walk the red route – which is the longest of the Macclesfield Forest routes at around 9km. It is a nice walk with mostly well-laid forest paths, some rooty stairs and stony sections. There are some amazingly varied forest experiences too, which was something we chatted about on the walk. Oh, and there are views. Hence the nice long hill winding the way up to the top.
We were all quite pleased to be greeted with some sunshine as we reached the top of the incline. The views over the forest and surrounding hills of Teggs Nose and Shuttlingsloe made the view even more spectacular.
A nod to the Get Outside Day activities
Every time Zoe and I meet for the start of the Get Outside Day weekend, we pick blackberries on our way to Zoe’s house. They were in abundance around Macclesfield Forest, so I made sure to pick (and eat!) a few in honour of one of the first activities we do.
Down the hill
The nice thing about the routes in Macclesfield Forest is that they are pretty well signposted. Yes, we had to hunt out a few of the marking points because of some enthusiastic hedgerow growth, but it never took too long with Dan’s keen eyes to guide us. The way down the hill took us through a more shady part of the woods. Rather than the lush green ferns of the first part, there was brown bracken and dark tree canopies. It made for a cooler walk than we had with the sun beating on us (although, it still wasn’t the promised 21C!)
Of course, no walk with me and Jit would be complete without a tea and cake stop. Inevitably, there were no benches for miles (erm, not miles, but a long way!) when we decided it was time. We almost missed the one we ended up with because of the stunning views behind us.
Thankfully, Dan spotted it and we got to top up on tea, banana bread and delicious nuts.
The clouds rolled in
During the short refuelling break, the clouds rolled in again. Not bringing the rain, but a bit more cool air. It was nice to see the sunbeams breaking through the clouds in the distance and highlighting the odd field on the horizon.
The walking route had taken us around the back of the forest and we were now on the final leg back towards the reservoir and car park. We passed the reservoir on the way in, so knew that we weren’t far from the finishing line.
By this point, the cake and nuts were wearing off and we were all ready for some lunch, so the end was a welcome sight.
Being close to Macclesfield town centre, we made our way there for some lunch. Despite the clouds and the cool wind, we found a perfect seat on the high street to enjoy our vegan lunch and treats. In my hunger, I didn’t take any photos, but I can assure you that it was delicious!
It was lovely to get outside with our friends on Get Outside Day and to also be reminded of how close we now live to the Peak District for easy access to walking. I am sure that this is the first of many and I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks while I absorb all the wonderful autumn views that I can.