Hello people. Joe the Cocker here again. Today was Groundhog Day for me and my human dad. Just like yesterday we had been to the park in the morning but when my dad asked if I wanted to go for a walk after lunch I leaped into action. He says that I get overexcited when I know that I am going hiking and I suppose that is true. I do tend to jump up and down howling and barking but that’s just me. He had decided to take us to Delamere Forest again but to hike a completely different route to yesterday’s little jaunt. We had enough time to complete about eight or nine miles before darkness would descend on us.
It was another overcast day but there wasn’t a breath of wind so it was to be another fine hiking day. Rather than follow a waymarked route he decided to do a bit of experimenting and follow his nose. He has got a rather big nose so that wouldn’t be difficult, ha! The only place that he wanted to see for sure was Old Pale Hill. He said that he would play the rest of the hike by ear. So, that’s his nose and his ears that he planned to use. I would have been more confident if he simply used his eyes. We parked in the same spot as yesterday just outside of Hatchmere on Ashton Road. I was getting a feeling of déjà vu until we set off into the forest in the opposite direction to yesterday. We headed south towards Blakemere and I immediately decided to water and fertilise the bracken. It was looking as if it needed some assistance but my dad bagged it up so that he could carry it around the forest. I don’t know why he does this but that’s his choice. He calls it his dog walker’s handbag.
‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters turned out to be the song of the day. I enjoyed listening to my dad singing this. He has such a beautiful singing voice. He knew all the words and he sang it from start to finish for me. I am lying of course! It was so annoying as usual. Wrong words, out of tune and monotone. It’s exactly what I expect of him. I tried to blank it out and concentrated on wildlife hunting and zooming around.
When we reached Blakemere we turned left along a track that skirted the lake. The track we chose took a sharp right and passed in between the eastern shore of the lake and Station Road. We could have followed a path to Delamere Station where there is a nice café with tables outside where dogs like me are welcome but, we took the path that crosses the railway. In the trees we saw evidence that strange creatures dwell here in the darkness. A strange troll house had been built but there was no one at home. I had a cautious sniff around it until my stupid dad shouted ‘Joe!’ to frighten the life out of me. So funny. He really is a clown.
This path passes Go Ape where humans climb trees and complete obstacle courses made of ropes hanging in the trees. Looks like fun but I don’t think that I would like to try it. Anyway, it was closed so I couldn’t have had a go. Phew! We walked through the area and passed over the railway bridge. On turning right onto the forest road we came to the visitor centre and café. There was no coffee and cake for my dad today as we walked on to the track that veered left towards Old Pale Hill.
The path to the top of Old Pale Heights is a bit of a pull but me and my dad took it in our stride. He said that he had got a bit of a sweat on but he was fine. The view from the summit can stretch over seven counties but today it was a wee bit hazy with plenty of low cloud. The top is the highest point on the sandstone ridge in the area and has a trig point with historical information about the site. A ring of standing stones pointing to each of the seven counties visible from this point on a clear day surrounds the trig point. Eddisbury hill fort, or the remains of, is only a short walk from here but that was for another day.
We descended towards the visitor centre via a different path and then chose a track to the left heading in the direction of a pastoral farm. In a gap in the trees we came across a field containing young bullocks having their lunch. Their food looks boring to me. It was dead grass! Would you believe that? I am partial to a chomp on wet green grass but dead grass and no meat or biscuits. No way! Immediately after the farm there was a few righthand turns leaving the track. We chose the third one and after fifty metres or so we turned left again. This lead along a straight and narrow path through very tall and old conifers. Through the mud on the path we could see mountain bike tyres and, after I had walked through it, my paw prints. I was muddy again and loving it.
The track that we followed undulated over a stony and in places brick lined surface. This route was so much more varied than the Whitemoor Trail that we had hiked yesterday. We turned left at the bottom of a hill and then climbed gradually out of the dip. We did some zigging and zagging for the next couple of miles as we crossed the railway bridge and Ashton Road. We followed a new section of track before we zigzagged again along the undulating paths before finding the fenced off edge of the forest. We continued along a virtually straight track until we arrived at a small lake on our left. We soon crossed Ashton Road again at Barns Bridge Gate car park then back into the forest. Doolittle Moss was on our left with it’s black peaty water and sphagnum moss. There were some squelchy muddy sections around this area as we ventured into the trees along narrow footpaths. I managed to get tangled in the dense bracken again which irritated my dad. We continued south until we popped out of the trees at the track that encircled Blakemere Moss.
We had a few minutes rest on a bench that I found for my dad to rest his weary legs on. He had a look over the lake as the ducks, geese and moorhens swam in the water. I had a mooch around the bench looking for moles that had recently left their mounds of sifted soil but, I had no luck with this. I did hear geese over the lake that I would have loved to chase. We left our resting point and on we plodded until we found a left-hand track approximately halfway along the northern shore of the mere. This lead us back to the car which was about ten minutes walk away. So, that was another unexpected 8.5 miles of exercise for me and the old feller with a touch of navigation practice thrown in. That’s all for now. Until next time!