Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bridgewater Canal Flowers


Spear Thistle

This entry was intended as a test of ‘Bloggeroid’ software, which I hoped would enable me to post entries from my ‘phone and insert the images within the text. I installed Bloggeroid on the ‘phone but was unable to make it work as intended. I see that Gayle has managed to do this in her postings from the Pyrenees (latest one is here – well worth a read) but it does seem to give her issues with font consistency. Perhaps she’ll give me a lesson when she gets back?

Anyway, I spent a few minutes on the canal towpath between Buckingham Grove and Walton Park, taking pictures of flowers. They constitute a ‘snapshot’ as at 17 July (plus a few taken with the Canon G16 on 22 July), so, as many earlier flowers have passed, this subject should be revisited next year.

There’s an album here, but currently most of the entries in the album (I’ll add to it later from my ‘Bridgewater Canal library’) are included below in what was intended to be a ‘Bloggeroid test’, but isn’t…






White Clover


Mustard (not sure which one)




Viper’s Bugloss


Hedge Bindweed


White Dead-nettle


Herb Robert


Smooth Sow Thistle


Great Willowherb


Red Campion


Hop Trefoil


Green Alkanet




Ribwort Plantain




Red Clover

There were many more flowers, such as a variety of Willowherbs, but the camera failed to focus or the pictures came out even worse than some of those pictured above! There will be further entries if I get round to it.

Try going for a walk along your local towpath and see what you can find.

Here’s another link to the slideshow, which may reveal more varieties.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Summer in Timperley


A typical summery weekend:

Starts with a parkrun - 5 km in less than 30 minutes and a leisurely coffee or two afterwards.

Here’s a serial offender before the start. If you click on the image you’ll see behind Jan in the background, Andy W playing with his banana, a race director (Andy H) trying to marshal his troops, and on the far right – Andrew W, one time Commonwealth Games silver medallist (cycling pursuit, Edinburgh) limbering up for 5 km in 19 minutes.


The park was simply studded with elite performers today. On the right in this picture, looking on and asking “Where’s the gazebo?” is Ken B, capable of sub 21 minute five kilometre runs well into his 70s, despite the ‘muddy passage’.


We used to need a table for two for our coffees, now it's a table for ten or more. 'Parkrun brings a steady stream of new friends' is a comment that applies to not only Wythenshawe's participants but to parkrunners all over the planet.

Here are today’s results, and last week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun) were:
87,625 parkrunners
8,932 volunteers
6,546 first-timers
14,682 Personal Bests

Even Oliver must have been impressed by the turnout of expensive apricot customised t-shirts, even if he did turn his back on them.


That left me with several tasks for fellow parkrunners, including a Moelwyn project for TGO Challenger Jenny. How refreshing it is to revisit 'Wild Walks' and also Walter Poucher's Welsh guidebook, with their general impressions of routes rather than the precise guidance that may be the current vogue.



Then, back at home, a visit from Jacob and Jessica and their parents, with a trip to the park, ice creams, and a barbecue, with lots of hanging about trying to catch Pokémon characters.


Sunday saw Richard and Jenny picking us up for a morning stroll from Monyash in sunny weather. Here we are near the start.


Just two hours were spent on easy paths including the Limestone Way and the High Peak Trail. Here we are strolling past rampant wild flowers along Hutmoor Butts to a Donkey Sanctuary.

2310hutmoorbutts 2311donkey1

You wouldn't want to spend too much time on the High Peak Trail at a weekend unless you are on a bicycle, as they rule the roost on days like today. (Despite there being none in these pictures!)

2314highpeak. 2316flowers2

After leaving the High Peak Trail and its harebells and clover at Pomeroy, we took a short break then found a pleasant path back to the Limestone Way.


A field of cows, complete with a beefy bull, might have been expected to freak Jenny, but she passed by unscathed whilst the docile bull gave Sue a good lick.

There are some lovely footpath signs hereabouts, this one directing us amiably past a nice looking campsite and back to Monyash.


Here’s our route – 9 km in two hours, with minimal ascent.


After tea and sandwiches in Monyash, the metropolis of Bonsall was visited, where Richard abandoned his spectacles and Mr and Mrs Williams guided us (I'm not sure why) to Hulland Ward and District Village Hall, where Pam and Paul were celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary with tea and lots, Really Lots, of cake. Luckily there was a squad of retired teachers ready to spring into action to separate the quarrelsome pair (just joking!) and settle the argument as to who had eaten the most cake. We all gave it our best shot!


Congratulations, P & P!

Friday, 22 July 2016

A Goat Ate My Menu


Last night seven of Andrew’s victims enjoyed the fourth of this year’s five ‘Deepest Cheshire’ walks.

We convened in the Swettenham Arms whilst the sky dumped a soggy blanket over the locality. Beer o’clock eventually came to an end and we had to decide what to do.

Plan A involved a walk from a couple of years ago on which Andrew had baled out due to wearing himself out on the recce!

Plan C involved a walk to the bar and back – rejected on the grounds that Andrew and I might quickly bore everyone to distractions with our recollections of serial visits to this place during the past fifty years or so.

Doesn’t time fly?

So, Plan B it was. A shorter route than Plan A, mainly along country lanes and firm footpaths ‘with hardly any deep grass’.

Tonight’s gang posed dutifully outside the hostelry.


The direct route from the Swettenham Arms involves a quiet lane with very little traffic. I wonder why?


As usual, Sue found a friend who preferred the greener grass ‘on the other side of the fence’, despite being housed in a field full of deep grass.


So, there would not be much deep grass?


By the time we reached the Black Swan, beyond a new equestrian centre construction site, everyone had wet legs and it was raining. Ideal conditions for popping into another hostelry. Sadly, the Black Swan in Lower Withington barred entry. Andrew lives in Lower Withington and is one of the residents responsible for the demise of this fine place. If the residents of the village had put as much effort into downing their pints as they do into curbing the speed of passing motorists, the pub would be thriving.


A good permissive footpath (well done, farmer) saw us home in to Messuage Farm and its friendly herd of goats. There were some menus nearby. We read one out to the attentive audience, who gave it a good lick (top photo, tongue blurred), before snatching the document and quickly reading it before eating it.




By the time we had retraced our steps in intermittent drizzle to the Swettenham Arms, light was becoming scarce on the warm, damp evening, The pub appeared from the outside to be full of bikers, but we didn’t see much of them.


A visit to the lavender field was deemed essential, before we adjourned for rehydration activities, courtesy of Selwa, the generous pharmacist.


Here’s the route, though if it’s dry we would recommend Notchy’s 2014 route in preference. Tonight’s made for a sociable and entertaining little outing of 6.5 km with 32 metres ascent (although it seemed completely flat to me), taking a leisurely hour and a half. Thanks, Andrew.


The last of this year’s ‘Deepest Cheshire’ walks will take place on Thursday 18 August - Lower Peover – starting from The Bells of Peover (SJ 743 742) at 7.30 pm. All are welcome.