Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Catgill Camping, Bolton Abbey – 19 to 21 August 2016


Friday 19 August – we left home early enough to arrive at Catgill campsite in time to set up camp in Kate’s favourite corner, and avoid the rain, which started as soon as the final peg had been placed.

An obvious choice of wet day activity hereabouts is a visit to Skipton Castle. I’d not been there since passing through with Andrew in June 2011 as we lumbered along the Dales High Way.

We managed to penetrate the well guarded fortifications without too much difficulty. Jacob had been sick in the car. Perhaps that’s why his mother shouted "take him to the dungeon".


Skipton Castle in the rain – a fascinating place engulfed in over 900 years of history, with a yew tree in its central courtyard - Conduit Court - that was planted in 1659.

There's a good view over Skipton, but the town was shrouded in mist today.

A nearby walkway/moat sports a pretty ornamental waterfall.


It was soon time for afternoon tea in a welcoming tea shop, after which Jessica spewed all over the car on the journey back to camp. “I’ve got a weak stomach but I’m throwing it as far as I can” I heard her murmur.

Back at camp, Jessica continued to exercise by throwing her stomach all over the tent, whilst the rest of us downed some welcome spaghetti bolognese.


Saturday 20 August - a rainy start encouraged us to go underground.


Stump Cross Caverns were surprisingly quiet when we arrived. There was a 'treasure trail' to keep Jacob happy, whilst Jessica impersonated a whingebox.

Opened relatively recently, Wolverine Cavern sports a wonderful array of formations. The height of the cavern is around 15 feet.


"So, did you enjoy that?"

At least nobody was sick!


Sue and I watched an excellent 20 minute film about the caverns, of which the show cave forms just a small part. That gave J and J time for a short rest before the drive to Grassington, where a refreshed Jacob made a bid for freedom.


A 'pooh stick' bridge over the River Wharfe was soon reached, just below the weir at Bow Bridge.


Then we went back to camp, with the children intent on travelling in a darkened room.


Grandma and Grandpa went for a walk whilst Kate and Co tried to get a bit of rest after Friday’s late night. We headed down to Bolton Abbey and the ‘Welly Walk’, at the start of which there is this classic view towards the River Wharfe and the ruined Priory.


Most of the stepping stones were out of the water.


There's a children’s obstacle course that we more or less completed on our way to Wooden Bridge, before returning along the west bank of the river.

Then we all went to Billy Bobs American Diner for tea. And a children’s playground. I was getting quite a few spare moments to read John Grisham’s ‘The Racketeer, and Kate practiced drinking a milkshake up her nose.


Here's the standard walk from the campsite, which we repeated with Kate and J and J on Sunday 21 August - it's about 6 km.


Here we all are on that walk, dodging the showers, after packing up the tents and making use of the jump leads as I’d left the fridge on in Sue’s car. (I’m sure the old car had an automatic cut out to preserve the battery – this one was completely dead though.)


Overnight rain had made the stepping stones over the Wharfe disappear, but the Welly Walk’s obstacle course had stepping stones of its own…


...and a 'Bog Adventure'.


The maze was easy peasy, and Jacob discovered the muddy tube in which I’d filthied myself the previous day. There was also the obligatory Money Tree.

On reaching Wooden Bridge, we lunched outside the café in lovely summery weather before returning to camp via the other side of the river.

And then we went home to watch GB basking in the glory of being second in the table with 67 medals in the Rio Olympics.

There’s a slideshow with a few more images, here. Click on the first picture, then click ‘slideshow’.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Thursday 18 August 2016 – Deepest Cheshire Again


The Bells of Peover pub was Andrew’s chosen departure point for the last of this year’s Deepest Cheshire evening walks. It was a lovely evening, and we savoured it – at some point Graham and I waited for the WI Contingent, relaxing outside a summerhouse.

Lower Peover church is next to the pub, but the ‘Bells’ of Peover don’t relate to the church – the name is that of a long deceased owner of the hostelry.


Andrew usually comes well prepared for his walks, so was he ready for a pre-walk interrogation whilst the rest of us enjoyed drinks in the last of the sunshine?


Soon we were on our way, Sue having selected shorts and sandals to negotiate paths overgrown with deep grass, nettles and brambles!


The route took us to a path beside a motorway. Surely not the M6, which is usually a giant car park at this point when we travel by car…


After negotiating a redirected path and some fields of frisky cows, we reached some quiet lanes that led to a former pub (still marked as such on my map but now an equestrian shop). A very pleasant path then followed a parish boundary back to the start of the walk. During this time the sun set, a final ‘action’ picture was taken before the light disappeared, and the moon rose behind us.


It was properly dark when we arrived back at the pub after an excellent 7 km stroll with minimal ascent, taking a little over an hour and a half.


Well, the long days of summer seem to be rapidly dwindling – had I better organise a few torch lit strolls around Timperley?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Wednesday 17 August 2016 - A Dunham Massey Saunter


We haven’t managed to attend many of SWOG’s Wednesday evening walks this year but Nigel and Sue had organised one on our patch. If they can travel here from Disley, we could certainly make it from Timperley!

So we enjoyed a leisurely departure from home – it’s just a ten minute drive to the Dunham Underbridge on Woodhouse Lane where there’s parking for a couple of cars. A short stroll along the towpath in lovely evening light took us to the rendezvous point outside the Swan with Two Nicks.


There were just fifteen of us on this walk, which made it more ‘manageable’ than with the usual attendance of thirty or so, this being a bit of a trek from Stockport.

We started by retracing our steps along the towpath, past various canal boaters enjoying the evening sunshine, as far as Dunham School Bridge. It was a lovely warm evening.


Turning down School Lane, I spotted the ‘Sausage  Lady’ to whom I was introduced by JJ and Rick last week, emerging from the Village Hall. She reiterated her desire to entice more people to venture down Cow Lane to her small farm shop. “If they come once, they soon become regular customers”, she explained. (The sausages I bought last week were delicious; ‘Lucky’ the pig was not so lucky though.)


Lovely paths through narrow ginnels, beside fields, and around the edge of the golf course, drew us inside the boundaries of Dunham Massey Park, where large numbers of fallow deer and their youngsters were enjoying a frolic before bed-time.


Nigel and Sue’s perimeter route gained great views of the rising moon, seen also, as we returned home in the car, by the GB women’s hockey players in Rio, who were probably too busy thrashing the All Blacks to pay much attention to it.


On return to the Swan, the local ale went down well. Then we strolled back along the towpath to the car, in lovely moonlight, and went home.

8.4 km in a couple of hours.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

From a Roving Correspondent: Random Tractors of Europe


“Spotted while I was waiting for the car-wash today. No fuel gauge on this model - the driver opened up the engine cover climbed up with the fuel pipe and peered inside the tank, watching until it was full.”

Thanks Nick, I’m sure Alan will provide a full analysis…

Tuesday 16 August 2016 – Cadair Berwyn


‘140319CadairBerwyn.arf’ - a route I planned back in 2014! This week’s superb weather meant I didn’t even need to put waterproofs or a fleece into the car!

An hour and a half from Timperley, Llandrillo is a good starting point for a walk over the Berwyns. There's a free car park and toilets next to the playground in the centre of the village.

My walk started off past the war memorial and followed the Tegid Way, an eighteen mile walk from Bala to Cynwyd, for the first 6 km.

It's a nice view west from the rising track, despite the wind turbines.


Summer is now well on, as shown by loads of bright red berries on the trees lining the track.

It was a gradual ascent up a rough track. Once above the trees, the heather (ling) was in full bloom, as I looked past scurrying sheep towards the Berwyn summits.


It was a t-shirt day, but there was a cool breeze – so whilst I was happy to have left my fleece at home, a light windproof top did prove useful.

After 6 km the Tegid Way turned sharp left and my path joined a route used by 4WD vehicles. At the top of the pass, at about 550 metres, there's a memorial to 'Wayfarer' and there’s a box containing logbooks and other items for the 4WD ers, for whom this may be a high point. I wonder who was responsible for all the litter around here? – lots of banana skins and toilet paper (I didn’t dare look under the stones)!


At the memorial my path turned right and abandoned firm surfaces for most of the rest of the day. A small cairn pointed the way to the Berwyn summits, the first of which was the north east top of Cadair Bronwen. The summit of Cadair Bronwen was topped by a large cairn with fine views beyond Bala towards Snowdonia.


The route towards Cadair Berwyn continued over the boardwalk shown below, dropping to Bwlch Maen Gwynedd, from where an obvious contouring path led to the 742 metre summit of Tomle.


Whilst contouring, I could admire the excellent view down the Llawenog valley, but soon I was passing new fencing on the top of Tomle as I looked ahead to Foel Wen, a 691 metre outlier on which I enjoyed some lunch.


Returning to the summit of Tomle, there were constant good views towards Cadair Berwyn.


There were superb views down to Blaen-y-cwm and along the broad summit ridge. There’s a trig point at the north top of Cadair Berwyn, seen here looking towards the main summit.


There’s a massive windbreak on Cadair Berwyn - not needed today. Distant views were hazy in the heat, but there was a good view looking down to Llyn Lluncaws from Cadair Berwyn, and across to Moel Sych. Moel Sych was apparently once considered to be the higher point – and the highest in Denbighshire – but whilst both tops are thought to be 827 metres, Cadair Berwyn is now considered higher.


By now I’d met five people on the summits, but nobody else was seen until I reached the valley near Llandrillo.

A vague path path led me to a cairn at SJ 040 309, from where a yomp over very rough ground led to a wall/fence at SJ 037 316. Following the wall to a steep, rough track was nearly as rough. A couple of gates had to be hurdled on the private track to Rhyd-y-Gethin, where a ford was crossed in order to by-pass a route through somebody’s garden. On the descent the temperature rose considerably, and with the thistles now sporting seed heads it felt like a late summer heatwave had arrived.


Three buzzards and a kite squealed overhead, with lots more buzzards scrambling from trees when I passed by.

I made the mistake of following an off-road route into Llandrillo. Whilst the gates and stiles were present, the actual paths bore a resemblance to jungle terrain – really tough to negotiate.

Eventually I muscled my way through the undergrowth to reach the village, and luckily the post office had a fridge full of cold drinks.


Here's my route - 29 km with 1220 metres of ascent, taking a little under 7 hours at a brisk pace (Naismith would have taken nearly 8 hours).


An excellent day out – and a great choice of day as it was pretty dry underfoot. It looked as if it could be wet after rain.

Here’s a slideshow – 39 images. Click on the first one, then click ‘slideshow’.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Around Timperley


Time flies in between trips.

Just a few snaps have been taken since returning from Scotland and spending time planning future exploits and watching the Rio Olympics.

Meanwhile, some of our local ducks are looking after their second broods, and one of the rich people of Hale seems to have exited his Mercedes rather faster than his footwear permitted…


JJ and Rick joined me for a stroll in intermittent drizzle down the Bridgewater canal towpath to Dunham Massey and back. The majority of the old Linotype Works that we passed is being demolished to make way for housing.


The local cygnets were staying close to their parents.


These boys are causing trouble at Dunham. It’s rumoured that they have been foraging in the ornamental gardens.


The following day, Sue and I enjoyed a trip to meet up with Jon and Eddie at a mutually convenient Thai restaurant. There were no tractors in evidence. Will a postbox do by way of a substitute?


Sadly, we didn’t have time to visit the opera.


Enjoy the hot weather!