Monday, 21 June 2010

Cannock Chase

Walking on Cannock Chase
June 2010

Following our day of theory we embarked on a 15 km hike over Cannock Chase, traversing the featureless sections to test our navigation skills.

Beaudesert Campsite

Walkers and Mountain Bikers vie for space.

I now have renewed respect for the Chase, both for its beauty and its complexity of terrain. The rolling landscape is heavily forested with sharp little valleys here and there containing threads of lakes which sit like little strings of pearls around a lady's neck, each lake in a rolling ocean of green - all very pretty.

Lake near Beaudesert

Our route took us towards Slitting Mill, but sadly our rapid progress meant that the pub wasn't open, and the party were not inclined to wait. We pressed on beside Rising Brook passing a row of terraced houses with gardens backing right onto the stream, one including a quite surreal statue.

Inhabitant of Slitting Mill

Then is was deep into the park passing yet more lakes which are heavily used by fishermen, before rising up to the Visitor Centre for a well earned break. This was the site of the old Army base, all long since demolished but still the outline remains on the ground and was playing host to an MG rally at the time of our visit.

The return to Beaudesert was rather more direct and shorter than the outward leg - following Marquis's Drive most of the way. The puzzling thing was that our group set off 30 mins before the others, we walked very fast with few stops but by some miracle were the last back - in one case being beaten by a group that came in a full 2 hours before us. A little bit of cheating was going on I suspect.

Self portrait

No matter, it was the first time I have really had a chance to explore the Chase and my dedicated camera carrying was rewarded with a number of interesting photos.

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