On Friday morning I decided that we would head out for an early walk. The sun is too hot for me during the afternoon, let alone the children, so I wanted to get out first thing and do a long walk, hopefully giving Daniel and Emma plenty of time to run around and get some fresh air.
We are really luck to live a short car ride from Etherow Country Park. It is in a small village called Compstall in Stockport and it one of my most favourite places. The walk around the lake is just under 1.5 miles and is all flat so it is a place I enjoy running too.
On Friday morning we got there just before 9am. I planned that Daniel would walk one full loop and then, if he wanted, he would go in the Tula carrier and I would do another four loops. Emma would get in and out of the pushchair as she wanted if she wanted to feed the ducks.
The lake was so peaceful at that time of day. I expected it to be busier given the good weather but it was really really quiet. We fed the ducks and geese and it struck me just how beautiful and peaceful the park is and how it is teeming with wildlife.
We don’t do zoos and the such as I think they are ethically dodgy and I don’t want the children to experience animals as captives. I want them to embrace the nature on their doorstep and to experience that thrill as you spot an animal in it’s natural habitat. One of my most vivid memories are from our time in Australia when we saw kangaroos bounding across the landscape. It was breathtaking, awesome and just the most amazing and thrilling thing ever. I spotted a deer the week before last as I was coming back over the M62 and that thrill as you spot an animal in the wild was there. It’s not a thrill you get staring at a caged animal.
I want Daniel and Emma to understand the wildlife on our doorstep. Daniel is still very much into snail spotting and he also loves seeing the ducks. He doesn’t yet understand the differences between the breeds of ducks and the geese but I certainly enjoyed seeing them all and spotting the different chicks. It was lovely seeing the chicks all at different stages, those that are just so so tiny and others that are much bigger and others that are almost fully grown.
We also saw plenty of squirrels – more than I can ever recall seeing there in any one visit. They were busy running around and didn’t seem to be too bothered by our presence. We paused for a few minutes to watch them scurry around.
I’ve been running around Etherow again today and the weather was in stark contrast to Friday – heavy rain which meant that, other than two fishermen, I was the only person I saw for a good while. On my second loop of the lake I saw a man out walking who told me that I must be mad as even the ducks had given up – when I looked across the lake there wasn’t a single duck to be seen – I wish I had had my camera with me as it was such a difference to just a few days earlier.
I absolutely adore Etherow and I’m sure I still have many, many years of walking, cycling and running around the lake.