“What’s that up there?” said Tim, pointing up towards a rocky outcrop as we joined the Macclesfield Canal. “It must be Mow Cop” I replied trying to sound knowledgeable, even though I’d just glanced at the map. It continued to be visible as we cruised through Scholar Green and as it was coming up to 4pm we moored up by Ramsdell hall.
I wouldn’t mind living there, with a view like that, looking west towards the Cheshire Plain. And that’s what the owners in 1827 thought when the canal was being built. As is the want of some wealthy land owners, they weren’t entirely happy at the thought of an 19th century super highway spoiling their view and negotiated with the company to have decorative railings erected along their section. The Ramsdell Railings have since been replaced by replicas but remain a pleasant feature,
and the view is still worth looking at.
But we all agreed it would be far better from the top of Mow Cop. So refreshed after a good nights sleep, we set off up various steep footpaths up 600feet to reach the summit. Stopping to say hello to the Old Man of Mow
No, not that one. The rocky outcrop, that is a 65 foot gritstone pillar. It’s formation isn’t certain. Some accounts say there used to be a demarcation cairn on the top showing the boundaries between the Little Morton and Rode Hall Estates. Or perhaps the Cheshire, Staffordhire borders. The Cairn has long since been lost but the pillar remains, possibly because it was of poorer quality gritstone, or that it was used as a lifting aid within the quarry. Regardless, which ever angle it is viewed from it remains impressive.
Another 5 minute along the trail is the Mow Cop folly.
Built in 1794 as a summer house for the lord of the manor. I expect he had “help” to carry the picnic.
There are divided opinions about it’s pronunciation but Mow, as in Cow is the way it’s spoken locally
It’s owned by the National Trust now, but although the structure is railed off, thankfully we were still able to scramble over the rocks.
And just as we expected, the views are outstanding. When conditions are right, it is possible to see Liverpool cathedral over 30 miles away. We could easily see the huge satellite dish at Jodrell Bank 10 miles away
High viewpoints like this always inspire people and 1807 the first meeting of Primitive Methodist movement was held here. Contrary to what its name implies these weren’t the earliest Methodists but a breakaway group, who felt that the organisation was drifting away from its original Wesleyan roots (circa 1738). They wanted to retain more focus on lay people rather than a hierarchy of leadership that was becoming the practice, and more focus on the rural communities and remain accessible the poorer members of society. A century later the two bodies realised they had more in common and in 1932 joined together as the modern day Methodist Church.