Day 28

Macclesfield to Hyde – 17.8 miles (451.2 total)

Macclesfield had a surprisingly pretty town centre, part-pedestrianised, sitting on a hill above our hotel and the railway station. After yesterday’s developments we thought it prudent to have some breakfast before leaving. Last night we spotted a Costa Coffee shop in town so that was our first destination this morning. Coincidentally we both had a cappuccino and almond croissant. Pete’s croissant was interesting in so far as the almond filling was completely invisible. And their dishwasher was broken so we drank out of paper cups. It’s nice to treat yourself occasionally. That huge breakfast really set us up for the day’s walk.

Our planned walk today was originally planned to follow the Macclesfield Canal to Marple Junction, where it ends, then pick up the Peak Forest Canal to Hyde. In the event the whole plan got turned inside out. To start with, Pete decided to book us in to a motorway motel in Denton, a long way off my route. Then I noticed a shorter, straighter walk going from Macclesfield to Marple, the Middlewood Way, which, yet again follows the course of an old railway. This was a good choice for us because it shortened the morning’s walk.

Middlewood Way
Start of the Middlewood Way

Now that we are in Cheshire, the morning local weather forecast had changed from Midlands to North West. The prediction was still the same as yesterday, showers. Today the forecast proved to be more accurate. Once again we set off in shirt sleeves and once again, bang on 11am, the rain started. When the showers started they were heavy, continuing like that all day long. Pete was suffering a bit after yesterday’s long walk, his feet prone to blisters. His intention from the start was to stop at Marple and either take a train or taxi to the hotel. The Middlewood Way ended, after 11 miles, at Marple, which is where I left him.

The Bollington Labyrinth
Pete cheating

I was now completely off route because my printed maps covered the intended route to Hyde, not the altered one to the M6 at Denton. Luckily my GPS is state-of-the-art, because I had to find a path which took me over the River Goyt. As it happens, I did join the Peak Forest Canal for a short distance, long enough to encounter my first canal tunnel of the walk, the 176 yard long Woodley Tunnel.

The Woodley Tunnel

After that I had a mixture of urban woodland and housing scheme walking, concluding with an interesting trip through an industrial estate to reach the side of the M6 motorway… literally! I was on a public right of way but the path was non-existent. After a quarter of a mile, sandwiched between the motorway and the railway I reached the rear of the hotel. A scramble up a grassy slope brought me to my destination, wet, dirty and grateful. Laundry had to be done before my shower.

My path along the M6 motorway

Tomorrow is a very short day to Manchester Old Trafford.