On 2 October (which you may spot was just four weeks ago), we were out for a walk on Cannock Chase and found it to be busier than we had ever seen it. The car parks were full and, at the Visitor Centre, not only was the over-flow car park full but there were cars lining the nearby roads. More cars than we’ve seen even on a sunny summer weekend. This is a photo I took of the area outside of the Visitor Centre that weekend:
There were people picnicking all over the big grassy area, and hoards of children enjoying the play area. The reason for so many people being out was apparent. On a sunny summer’s day there will be lots of people around, but there will always be the expectation of more good weather so there’s not the imperative to get out. However, when the thermometer hits the high twenties in October you know that it’s almost certainly not going to be repeated in a week’s time, hence everyone was making the most of it. I was certainly enjoying being out in shorts and t-shirt in October!
Today was the contrast. I don’t think we’ve ever encountered so few people on the Chase! (No photos of that fact because it’s difficult to demonstrate a general lack of people in a photo (and because we didn’t take a camera).)
That it is a weekday doesn’t explain the notable lack of people. The general greyness and the forecast for a day of heavy rain is more likely the explanation. We were five miles into our walk before we passed anyone and only passed two sets of people in the whole 8 miles we walked. There were other people in the tea room at Springslade Lodge, but it was obvious that we were the only people who had walked there (we walked in and waddled out; in between times many chips were eaten).
The people who stayed at home missed out. The weather was nowhere near as bad as forecast. We did get rained on, but not heavily, and it must have been dry as much as it was wet. Moreover, it was all incredibly pretty with the autumnal colours, not just on the trees but on the heathland too.
As darkness fell this evening such was the persistence of the greyness that it’s difficult to believe that tomorrow’s going to be a nice day. Hopefully the forecast will prove to be reasonably accurate for both tomorrow and Saturday, as we’re off out for another quick backpack .