Shutlingsloe, The Cheshire Matterhorn
Welcome to my world (with apologies to Jim Reeves). I currently live in a bubble composed of birdsong, wild flowers and mountains. Well, not quite mountains because such edifices have to be over 2,000′ high. Shutlingsloe is the mountain you never heard of. In part, that’s because it is really a hill at just 1,660′ high. Its status is raised because some people refer to it as the Cheshire Matterhorn. However, some people need to get a life! That said, maybe it can be elevated by making it just a little harder to reach the top. How about running it!
Having read a few runner reports, I had Shut on the list of potential runs. However, Shining Tor towered above it, so to speak, and that was where we headed. The county council had other intentions. The road to the Cat & Fiddle Inn was shut off for roadworks. The diversion sent us deeper into the Cheshire side of the Peak District. We dropped into Wildboarclough! Could you ever read a more iconic word? It conjures up pictures of a truly wild, prehistoric world. In truth, it is a gorgeous green valley full of beech trees and a romantic gritstone stream. What was the point of going further because Shutlingsloe loomed over the valley, calling us. We parked by the tumbling stream.
Shutlingsloe, the Cheshire Matterhorn
A short jog up the valley, past the closed Crag Inn, and the climb starts. It is 1.5 miles of uphill, always steep. A lane leads up through bluebell woods, then turns left on a grassy path which just gets ever steeper. The gorgeous yellow tormentil blooms everywhere and shouts out that this is an acid environment. The path is only just runnable and suddenly you flick out onto the top. The descent is via a gritstone slabbed path heading west. We pass a marsh swathed in cotton grass, then turn back to the valley. There were perhaps a dozen people on the entire route. We climbed 800′ overall and it felt so good, just like the old days. Consequently, the endorphins flowed and, days later, we feel like we did run over the Matterhorn!