Tuesday: The Greater Manchester “Wayfarer” is excellent value, especially to those of us who qualify for the “concession” fare of £6. A day return from Shrewsbury to Wilmslow isn’t too expensive – from there, the Wayfarer takes over – and we don’t even need to change trains to get to Piccadilly. We’ll have a little while to wait before we join a Sheffield-bound “stopper” for the ride to Edale. Soon we’re heading for the hills, and already the day is very warm in the bright sunshine – it will turn out to be the hottest September day for many years (though it’s not going to be the temperature that makes it memorable). By early afternoon, we’re on the edge of the summit plateau of Kinder Scout, where there’s no shortage of comfortable boulders for a lunch break.
By the time we’re moving again (only minutes), there’s cloud in the west, and the day has changed by the time we reach Kinder downfall. The landscape is murky (and the temperature has dropped) as we head, via Mill Hill and the curiously-named Harry Hut, towards Glossop. A glint of metal catches the eye in the increasingly-drab heather – the remains of a WW2 bomber. (Later research tells an unexpectedly-happy tale – the two-man crew, on delivery duties, were able to walk down to the main road, suffering just cuts, bruises and one broken jaw. The web site doesn’t tell how the latter was sustained)
As our train from Glossop approaches Manchester, the sky over the city looks threatening. We hear the rain – and the thunder – begin while we take refreshments, before boarding the 6.30pm for Shrewsbury. The sky is now so dark (apart from the near-constant lightning) that it could be midnight. “Look at that staircase – it’s a waterfall!”. Our prompt departure is misleading – we crawl from signal to signal most of the way to Wilmslow. Then, with (at last) a glimmer of light in the western sky, we pick up speed and run to Shrewsbury without further delay.
We arrive home perhaps half-an-hour late. Checking the news sites, we realise that we got off lightly – Manchester’s tram network had come to a complete standstill, an international football match had been called off, and chaos reigned (rained?) in the city’s sodden streets. It was a most enjoyable walk and a great day out, but that might not be why we’ll remember this trip.
Greater Manchester Wayfarer
B-24J Liberator 42-52003
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