Leek to Cheadle Hulme: 39km
Today was a fairly relaxed blend of peaceful cycle paths, busy main roads and suburban streets. After peering into the Leek Oatcake Shop, where traditional (Staffordshire) oatcakes were being made on a large griddle (pancakes made with oat flour), we headed off on an old railway track which leads to and travels along Rudyard Lake. Kipling’s parents named their son after the body of water, a reservoir which feeds the Caldon Canal (opened 1779). There is a small steam train that runs part way up the lake.
We then joined the A543 which led us to Macclesfield. This town was once home to no less than 71 silk mills. It now has at least one very good bakery and coffee shop. (The toasted Bath buns were delicious!) The Middlewood Way follows another old railway line north from the town. It passes through Bollington, which used to be home to mills producing the “finest cotton in the world”.
We left the Way and followed google maps back to the A543. At one point we were led to a very narrow foot bridge where we had to remove our panniers to cross over! At this point, we stopped for a roadside lunch of Peakland Blue and Lincolnshire Poacher cheeses and Derbyshire oatcakes. Luckily, the rest of the journey to the home of our niece Catherine, Jem and Nathaniel was more straightforward.
Our arrival was early enough for us to go to Bruntwood Park with Catherine and Nathaniel for tea and a visit to the playground.