Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Monday, 19 November 2018

Monday 19 November 2018 – Yet Another Bike Ride to Bury


Richard, Paul and I last did this 71 km ride on 8 October – report here.

Today Richard was replaced by Jeanette, so we went a bit faster. Except where there were cobbles.

Previous reports describe the route, so today I’ll just offer a few photos. Above is the view from the bridge at Waters Meeting. This is where the original canal, from Worsley to Manchester (1761) was extended to Stretford, Sale, and onwards to Runcorn, over a period of several years following Royal assent in 1762.

Below – the view from Throstle Nest Bridge towards Pomona and the new Metrolink line being constructed to the Trafford Centre. I’m not sure where the original Bridgewater Canal ends and the Rochdale Canal link – built after the construction of the Rochdale Canal in 1804, starts. Perhaps at the locks in Castlefield.


We joined Sustrans Bike Route number 6 in Salford and followed it (more or less) all the way to Bury.

Here’s one of the iconic buildings of Salford that’s nearly on the route.


After a section of woodland in Prestwich Forest Park, we were granted a view of what Monday mornings of our comparative youth looked like should we have been trying to visit clients. The M60 was as busy as ever.


There’s a fair amount of woodland on the ride up to Bury, and the autumn colours are persisting nicely.


At the ‘Irwell Sculpture’ at the junction below, we took a left turn to join the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal towpath by paths, rather than by the more tarmaced route of number 6.


There was a 10% chance of rain. It rained. Coffee and cookies in the Dynamite Raw Café in Bury went down rather well. As did Jeanette’s scrambled eggs with spinach.

Mainly roads, with an interlude on a muddy path, took us to Middleton. The sun came out near Birch Motorway Services. (We could use the picnic benches there, and talk in loud voices about our experiences with the heavy and fast traffic.)


Eventually the Rochdale Canal was reached. Whilst there were no barges in evidence, the area that was drained last time we were here (in the Miles Platting/Ancoats area) seems to have been sorted, though some of the water levels are still very low.


A pair of herons seemed to be fishing from the top of a fence, and further on a Canada Goose was standing on a submerged shopping trolley – one of many seen in the canal today. We also saw staff fishing out rubbish from the canal. A thankless task, I suspect.


There’s a footbridge in Ancoats where I waited for a while as it was preceded by some cobbles. Here’s the view towards Piccadilly.


Looking back, you can see Paul and Jeanette approaching along the towpath.


We split up briefly while I followed the canal – there were no towpath closures today, and the others took an alternative road route due to an excess of cobbles. Here’s the view from Castlefield, where I obliged some tourists from County Fermanagh by taking a group photo of them. This is probably where the original Bridgewater Canal from Worsley to Manchester terminated.


After that we soon picked up our outward route to return home. This final picture was taken in the Pomona area on the approach to Throstle Nest Bridge, near the point at which the second of today’s pictures was taken.


An excellent ride, as is normal, of 71 km, with about 300 metres ascent, taking just under 6 hours, of which 4.5 were recorded as ‘moving’.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Sunday 18 November 2018 – Rogues Gallery (aka A Family Day Out)


We had the pleasure of congregating with Great Grandma Dot, who as usual insisted on paying, for an excellent carvery meal with various family members. The Hollybush at Seighford, a fine establishment that was taken over by the community to avoid closure, did the honours as usual. Note that Dot has a full plate this time, having been sent last to fill her plate.

Whilst some went home after the meal, four of us adjourned to Eccleshall for a game of cards. But not before we had pushed Dot around the village and bumped into old friends Roger and Wendy, and Ray and Pat. We always bump into someone she knows when we do this. It’s a great shame that she can’t get out of her own accord any more.


Meanwhile, certain other family members were unable to attend the carvery lunch due to ‘Tapathon 2018’ – two hours of tap dancing in aid of some worthy charities. Well done, everyone.


And thanks again to Dot for buying us all lunch. It’s much appreciated and we will see you again soon.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Saturday 17 November 2018 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 365


Another Saturday, another parkrun. Quite routine today, with chief Run Director Andy skilfully acting as MC, and some 278 runners taking part on a lovely autumn morning.

Lots of familiar people can be seen below, including ‘Nobby No-Show’, who graced us with a rare appearance and helped to eat the cake and sort out the tokens afterwards.


I pottered round the course today, with Sue not far behind. It was a very sociable occasion. There’s much encouragement given at the point shown below, which is approaching the final corner before a 30 metre sprint to the finish.


It was such a nice morning that I decided to do another 2+ km lap, catching up Syd and Zoe for a chat on their final kilometre. On the way, I took this picture of the entry to Muddy Passage’, which isn’t at all muddy. Yet.


Full results are here, and thanks go to Zoe for the tasty cup cakes.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Friday 16 November 2018 – Raw Head


On our way home from Porthmadog we decided to recce another of Jen Darling’s routes, to provide feedback for the text of her new edition of ‘Pub Walks in Cheshire’.

This walk is entitled ‘Rawhead’ and it starts from the Pheasant Inn in Burwardsley, pictured above. There’s an interesting history of the pub on its website.

After coffee and cake at the nearby Cheshire Workshops, we started outside the pub and headed off down the hill, past a small Methodist chapel.


Two estate cottages are named Meshach and Shadrach. I’ll leave the reader to contemplate the reason for this (to be explained in Jen’s book in due course).


The road is soon deserted in favour of a steep path up Willow Hill.


After we had met a couple of people with clacking sticks, and Sue had scrumped some apples which we later enjoyed for our dessert, we walked briefly along Sarra Lane and found the booty that resulted from the clacking and the distant gunshots.


The route now turned SSE across a field and past an electricity pole, before heading up fields to join the Sandstone Trail.


This is one of my favourite sections of the Sandstone Trail, as it heads along the top of the escarpment towards Raw Head.


En route, beside a rampant holly tree, a spring is encountered at the Dropping Stone.


A little further on, the summit of Raw Head has a trig point and a bench conveniently placed nearby. We enjoyed our lunch there.


Normally there are good views from the escarpment over the Cheshire plain to Liverpool, and to the hills of North Wales. I think the Shropshire hills can also be seen. However, today it was misty. At least it wasn’t raining, and the autumn colours were still pleasing to the eye.


Soon after leaving the trig point, Musket’s Hole is traversed. Looking back at the deep gully you can admire the eroded sandstone, before heading onwards to Chiflik Farm.


After passing Chiflik Farm, signs to Coppermine Lane are followed. The sole remnant of the copper mine, apart from some mineshafts, is a lone chimney which appears to be dated 1856.


Once we were on Coppermine Lane, Jen’s description said ‘turn right between two gates’. We thought she meant here:


She didn’t. We soon found the gates, and in gathering gloom, although it was only mid afternoon, we continued – now back on the Sandstone Trail – over Bulkeley Hill and back to the Pheasant Inn.


This was another very pleasant ‘Pub Walk’ in a lovely area. Here’s the route, which without any diversions is about 9.2 km (5.75 miles), with about 250 metres of ascent. It took us 2.5 hours plus stops.


Thursday, 15 November 2018

Thursday 15 November 2018 - Around Harlech

The 'lovely sunny day' continued apace after lunch. We drove down to Harlech and parked in the centre, just above the castle.

Harlech seemed dead to the outside world. I suppose it was lunchtime. In the town's favour are its magnificent castle and its superb beach. Otherwise it seems to be a town of tumbledown hotels and green caravans. Rather an ugly place.

A clockwise circuit above the town soon brought us fine views into Snowdonia (top picture) and along the Lleyn peninsula. Care was needed navigation wise as whilst there were no problems with access, the footpath  signposting could be described as "tired". Once at our high point, by the ancient hut circles of Muriau Gwddelod, we enjoyed a fine view of the Rhinog summits (second picture).

Soon after that, and a bit of 'Martin's meandering', we found another grassy bank on which to empty the remaining contents of our flask down our necks (third picture).

After 6-7 km we found ourselves back in town and heading off past Harlech''s picture postcard viewpoint (fourth picture) on another clockwise circuit, this time based upon the beach, which was bathed in late afternoon sunshine (bottom picture). As with the other beaches we've been on this week, the sand was firm and clean, with no evidence of rubbish being washed up.

By the time we'd walked along the beach, walked through the dunes and the golf course, and struggled up a steep hill to reach the car, we'd walked 10 km. A very pleasant afternoon stroll. 

The Thai restaurant that we like was shut despite enticing signs proclaiming that it was open on Thursdays, so tonight's dinner was sourced from the Creel chippie.

Thursday 15 November 2018 - Ceunant Cynfal and Ffestiniog

On a lovely sunny day, but with buffeting winds forecast on the tops, we decided to stay low again and spend the morning enjoying a short walk from Ffestiniog, featuring the deep ravine and resultant waterfalls cut by the River Cynfal. 

We started near the church and its massive graveyard, with fine views of the Moelwyns. A ginger tom cat dashed in front of us, obviously in search of some unfortunate victim. He was easily distracted from that occupation in favour of a good rub down from Sue.

Soon we were on our way. Jays and jets only briefly interrupted the calm of the day with a background of the sound of tumbling water.

Unlike some of the places we've visited recently, the deciduous trees around here have mostly shed their leaves. It must have been windy. 

Buttercups were on display today, as were the following wild flowers seen around here in mid November, as well as those listed yesterday:
Herb Robert
Lesser Stitchwort

Several waterfalls graced the ravine, in an area that we learnt comprises the ancient oak woodland of a temperate rainforest where the habitat is amenable to 154 different moss and liverwort species.

Lunch was enjoyed on a grassy bank in the sunshine near Ffestiniog, with good views into Snowdonia, and in particular towards the Moelwyns, and the company of swooping birds, probably woodpeckers.

By then we were nearly back at the car, after this very pleasant 8 km saunter on lovely woodland paths.

I'll  post the route in due course, but it's pretty much self explanatory from this text.