Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Friday 13 January 2017 – An Evening Stroll in Stretford and Chorlton


After a hasty return home from the Leather’s Smithy at Langley (see previous entry), I grabbed a bite to eat and followed Sue down to Dane Bridge Metro Station where Andrew was waiting for us to commence an evening walk at 7.30.

We lingered until the allotted time before heading towards Manchester along the Bridgewater Canal towpath on a lovely moonlit evening.

The route is shown below – basically a stroll into Chorlton, past the Bowling Green Hotel favoured by Chorlton Runners, past my old house in Chorltonville, across the meadows to cross the Mersey at Jackson’s Boat, pictured below,


then on along a narrow path to the Visitor Centre, passing between Sale Water Park and the M60 before re-crossing the Mersey, re-joining the canal towpath, and ambling back to the Bridge Inn for welcome refreshments.

Phew, that was another 9+km and a couple of hours’ walking to add to the day’s stroll in the Peak District. A lovely evening though and a very pleasant saunter along paths familiar from days gone by. Jackson’s Boat was often visited in my student days; just nearby was a concrete tube that was great for testing home made fireworks, and I recall at least one of my bicycle wheels being destroyed by an annoying kerb after a Friday night session. Happy Days!


A short period of rest was then called for, starting with the 5km parkrun at Wythenshawe Park at 9am on Saturday morning, and various other similarly ‘restful’ activities during the course of the next few days. Readers may be pleased to hear that none of these were deemed worthy of a diary entry, and given the dark, drizzly weather, no photographic record exists.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Friday 13 January 2017 – John B’s Birthday Walk


John B kindly invited me to his annual ‘MOT walk’ that takes place on his birthday (when he temporarily catches me up age wise). “We start at 8am from outside the Leather’s Smithy pub in Langley” he asserted.

I drove Polly through a blizzard and arrived in semi darkness with about 15 minutes to spare. The place was deserted. I waited. Eventually, after 8.30 had come and gone, I decided on a stroll around Ridgegate Reservoir then a circuit on my own if nobody had turned up after that. Reaching the point from which the top picture was taken, I glanced around and noticed three figures marching up the road from Langley. Could that be John and his mates? I turned back and yes, it was they. John’s car had apparently failed to negotiate the slope out of Langley.

John follows the same route every year. “How far?” I asked. “About 20” was the reply, which offered me relief as I was wearing a new pair of boots. That’s until I realised he meant miles, not kilometres! Anyway, ‘never mind’, I thought, as we set off along the Gritstone Trail, which we followed all the way to Barleigh Ford Bridge in the Dane Valley, where we turned left to follow the route of the Dane Valley Way (DVW) to beyond Three Shire Heads.


After an overcast start, the cloud slowly dispersed, leaving us in sunshine by the time we passed the radio mast on Sutton Common, where we lined up for a self timed photo.


The focus of the route was Shutlingsloe, which was always visible, other than from valley sections of the walk, as we strolled around a wide south western arc of the ‘Matterhorn of Cheshire’.


After our first picnic break we descended into the Dane Valley and walked beside a conduit that reminded us of the industrial heritage of the area. This weir is also a sign of the textile mills that were powered by the River Dane.


Danebridge is currently the home of a fishery by a small lake, the Ship Inn, and the Wincle Beer Company’s microbrewery.


A slither alongside the River Dane past rare breed sheep saw us arrive for lunch at some picnic benches outside Gradbach Mill, recently disposed of by the YHA and refurbished as a ‘Boutique Hotel’. The building dates from 1792, when it was constructed for the purpose of spinning linen yarn.


Beyond Gradbach, the Dane Valley Way rises briefly above the valley and passes a few decrepit buildings, including a barn with old stalls that appears to be one of John B’s favourite places.


It was quite hard going up to Three Shire Heads, where the scene contrasted greatly with the one we experienced last Sunday.


After Three Shire Heads, the DVW was soon left to its own devices whilst we ascended steeply to the A54 road. Beyond that, Cumberland Clough used to be a glorious route, the surface flattened by the hooves of generations of pack horses. Sadly, recent use seems to be concentrated on trial biking, resulting in the destruction of the wonderful old path. A shame. A route I sometimes use for mountain biking, where full suspension makes life relatively easy.

Towards the bottom of Cumberland Clough, the valley opens out and the 506 metre top of Shutlingsloe, complete with stick men traversing the summit, appears ahead, its ascent now imminent.


After a third picnic stop and a final gulp of jelly babies and cake, we were fuelled for the steep but short yomp in deteriorating light to the iconic summit and its views over the street lit towns of North Cheshire and Greater Manchester.


As John posed with Tom and Steve on the summit at 5 pm, it appeared to me to be virtually dark. But the auto setting on my camera obviously disagreed!


We strolled back down a path compacted by today’s many visitors, to Trentabank, by which time it was indeed completely dark. At the visitor centre I left the others, some of whom were slowing dramatically. They very rarely walk this far, so they had done well, and John – still going strong – had passed his MOT with flying colours. I needed to get back home for another appointment (see next entry), so it was with great regret that I couldn’t linger for some rehydration fluid at the Sutton Arms with the others. Sorry folks.

Here’s the route (click on it for a larger version) – about 33km, 1200 metres ascent, taking us 9.25 hours. The ‘picnic’ icons denote our three picnic breaks.


Here’s a slideshow – 31 images.

A grand day out. Thanks, John.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Martin’s Christmas Walk Quiz 2016


I promised this earlier. (Click on the image, or here to get a larger version that you can ‘Save as’ and open in a version, eg in Picasa, that you can magnify.)

Just for a bit of fun, some readers may like to see how many of the above pictures they can identify. If I get ten comments, I’ll provide the answers….

Line 1 - Name the flowers

Line 2 - Name the birds, the mountain, the pass and the viaduct

Line 3 - Name the locations

Line 4 - Name the bands

Line 5 - Name the countries (bonus points for city, region, park, region and glacier)

Line 6 - Name the cities (bonus points if you can name the subjects)

40 points available

Have Fun!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Sunday 8 January 2017 – A Walk from Derbyshire Bridge


The sun was trying to emerge as we passed through Macclesfield, but the Cat & Fiddle road had a different agenda. We spent the whole day in variable amounts of cloud and rain, despite a favourable forecast.

Eleven of us met at Derbyshire Bridge, from where Sue W led us south, past noisy but largely hidden red grouse, eventually arriving at Three Shire Heads amongst a flurry of walkers, cyclists, and trial bikers.


Elevenses turned out to be ‘twelveses’, or should that read ‘noonses’? Anyway, Sue’s box of CCS was soon depleted. At this point the rain intensified. Waterproofs were needed.


Soon it was time to cross the bridge and head up a sometimes muddy path to gain the Cat & Fiddle via the Dane Valley, where a dipper added colour to the scene, and Danebower Hollow.


The Cat & Fiddle remains sadly closed, with Robinsons still looking for a suitable tenant, so lunch was taken outside the pub, where a picnic bench served its purpose.


A couple of wimps headed back down the road to their car from here, but the rest of us enjoyed the path towards Shining Tor before turning down to Stake Clough and on to Goyt’s Clough beside the infant River Goyt. Even in the mist this was a pleasant route.


We finished reasonably early, before 3 o’clock, giving us a leisurely winter’s afternoon before popping round for dinner and Rummikub with Mike and Sarah in Northern Moor.

Here’s our route – 16km, 500 metres ascent, taking about 4.5 hours.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Saturday 7 January 2017 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 270 – A Cakefest


We know from our backpacking etc trips with Cary that he survives on a diet of Cake. Lots of it. So it was perhaps no surprise that he turned up for his 100th Wythenshawe parkrun with the masterpiece pictured above.

That picture and the one below were taken by Andy Wright well before Sue and I and over 330 others turned up in time for the 9.00 am start. Andy is one of a small core team that habitually arrives about an hour early on dark winter mornings in order to set up the course, distributing bollards, markers and signs in an effort for the event to run smoothly, which it always does, even if last minute route changes prove necessary. This has happened in the past due to waterlogged areas and on one occasion due to an inebriated member of the public who was stuck up a tree that was surrounded by fire engines and blocked paths when we arrived for the run.

Our thanks go out to all these stalwarts. (Spot the Wolves supporter – he left early and was rewarded with a fine result at Stoke.)


I snatched this close-up of the cake before the start.


It was a misty morning. The course was muddy and slow, but the turnout was excellent. Here are some familiar faces at the start.


Sue and I still had calf and other injuries, so we jogged around at gentle paces, enjoying a chat with people as they went past. The results are here.

Today’s Run Director was Ralph (pictured on the right of Andy’s second image above). His team ensured that everything ‘ran’ smoothly, and he even wrote the Run Report in time for me to reproduce it here:

What a CAKE way to start 2017

Posted on January 8, 2017 by wythenshaweoffice

Wythenshawe parkrun
Event number 270
7th January 2017

What a way to start the New Year. 335 fantastic parkrunners, 25 fabulous volunteers and 1 stunning cake.

Sorry folks but headlines have to go to Cary O'Donnell's 100th Wythenshawe parkrun celebration cake. Anyone who hopes to win the 2017 cake of the year award is going to have to produce something amazing to knock Cary off the top spot. Yes I know it is only the first week but if you saw the cake and the detail that was put into the decoration of it I think you'd agree. For those of you who missed it here it is.

Cary's 100th at Wythenshawe cake[494]

All the detail is there - the old hall, car park, far bridge, muddy passage, farm animals, trees, Cromwell, marshals in hi-vis vests, parkrunners and of course, the parkrun logo. The cake went down well with everyone who sampled it and even Cromwell enjoyed the occasion - he was last seen in the café but unfortunately didn't survive the experience. No-one has admitted to his disappearance!!

A huge thank you to Cary for this masterpiece in baking.

Now to the running.

As mentioned above we had 335 runners on a slightly foggy but otherwise ideal morning for parkrunning. Of these 69 were running at Wythenshawe for the first time with 45 yes 45 taking part in their first ever parkruns. We had tourists from places as far afield as South Manchester, Reading, Norwich and Birmingham. We hope you all enjoyed the experience and will return again and again and again and ……

There were 35 personal bests. Too many to name individually but I will mention 3. Edward Lord who achieved his first PB since 21st of May last year, Andrew Grant who on his 11th parkrun managed a time under 30 minutes for the first time and Carole Partington for achieving a quirky PB time of 33.33. Well done to everyone who achieved a PB and to those of you who didn't - keep on trying you'll get there one day.

There were 3 parkrun milestones - Scott Wilson doing his 50th parkrun and Kieron Walsh and Colm Mulhern both doing their 100th parkruns. Congratulations to you all.

For those who are interested in the "results" First male across the line was John Stockdale followed by Iain Owens and Richard Evans. First female across the line was Hannah Carey followed by Zoe Gmerek and Rachel Rongong.

Bravest parkrunner of the week is Cale McCoy who completed his first ever parkrun on Saturday. After tripping and badly grazing his face last week during his first attempt he bravely turned up again on Saturday for another go. This time he managed to stay injury free and complete the course. Well done Cale.

We wouldn't have been able to have our run if we hadn't had such a good band of able and willing volunteers so on behalf of all the runners a big thank you to the volunteers -

Alan Lamb, Amelia Atack, Amy Mollard, Andy Wright, Andy Holloway, Caroline McGarvey, Clair Potter, David Sinnott, Ethan Spencer, Frank Cordingley, Jackie Cordingley, Jason Wood, Jim Brett, Joe Oliver Evans, Kate Holloway, Ken Burgess, Lydia Mae Jane Dudley, Margaret Tunney, Norma Burgess, Ralph Gilchrist, Ron Carter, Sam McGrath, Victoria Cordingley, William Lord and, Zoe Carter

With apologies to anyone I haven't mentioned or any major omissions I think that's everything.

See you all again this coming Saturday and DFYB.


Thanks Ralph. I’m amazed, given the slow conditions (two steps forward, one back in places) that there were so many personal bests, and I was most impressed by Richard’s effort in third place, only 3 seconds outside his PB – it’s only a matter of time before he joins the elite 80% age related club. Go for it, Richard!

Here’s that cake again, with a few annotations. It lasted until about 10.30, by which time some of us were on our second coffees in the Courtyard Café. 0701parkrun1

Calf report: thanks to our slow pace, Sue and I didn’t noticeably aggravate our injuries, but we subsequently went to see Sarah Pank at in-step footcare (thanks go to Claire H for the recommendation) who gave treatment and advice that was much appreciated, even if we are required to use ice regularly on our injured appendages, and are banned from running until the weekend.

Monday, 9 January 2017

4 to 6 January 2017 – A Visit from Jacob


We had the pleasure of a visit from Jacob due to his term not having started and his mum and dad having gone to work.

Liz lent us some games and jig saws – Hot Wheels (above) and Hullabaloo being the star items that supplemented our own diet of jigsaws, Uno, dominoes and ‘'”Sorry”, to name but a few.

There were daily bike rides to Walton Park, and a long game of Frisbee on a muddy football pitch.

Motorists who potter their way around the M60 may be familiar with the Chill Factor building. Can you spot the ‘Chill Factor’ sign?


Below all the winter based activities is a large ‘soft play’ area called PlayFactore. Excellent for five year olds like Jacob.

It’s not cheap (except for pensioners), and there’s a time limit of two and a half hours. However, for a total of £18 plus a few extra coins for the arcade game pictured below, it was excellent value.


Whilst Sue and I spent most of the time following Jacob around an array tubes, ladders and slides, we did enjoy elevenses. (What’s new!)


There’s a big slide that runs from the top to the bottom level. Jacob’s fast clothing resulted in an involuntary lane change and a bumpy landing. He wouldn’t go down it again, so no photo – he recovered on this bouncy ball…


They were frosty days, but that didn’t stop the bike rides. Here’s Jacob with his main Christmas present.


The Bridgewater Canal was partly frozen, to the extent that the Black-headed gulls were declining to land on the ice, instead attempting, with limited success, to grab Jacob’s crusts whilst flying past. They were showing rather less skill in attempting this, than the magpies that are emptying our bird feeder.


We had a lovely three days and enjoyed Jacob’s company a lot, if not his predilection to waking up full of beans at 5 am. (iPad to the rescue!)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Tuesday 3 January 2017 – A Bike ride to Lymm


Sue and I were pleased to be joined by Grandad Paul, and Isabella, who had taken a break from looking after Great Grandparents and packing for a long haul trip, to enjoy a gentle ride along the Trans Pennine Trail to Lymm and back.

We met near the (now sadly defunct) Bay Malton hostelry, Sue and I having cycled down the canal towpath from home – just over ten minutes.

We’d hoped to go a bit further than Lymm, but it was a chilly, grey day, and whose hands wouldn’t get cold sitting on the back of Paul’s bike?


The surface of this cycleway is starting to deteriorate, but it’s nothing like as bad as it was before the major renovation work carried out a few years ago.

The café in Lymm was excellent. A brilliant place to pause for an hour or so before pedalling slowly back to our nice warm house.

On the way we passed the site of the Railway Inn/Hotel that used to host vibrant folk nights but closed a few years ago and was then destroyed by fire in 2011. Since then the building has been demolished and planning applications have been made, rejected, and resubmitted on a smaller scale. The building currently under construction is the result. Interestingly, the Planning Statement says:

‘The applicant has stated his willingness to contribute toward the maintenance of the Trans-Pennine Trail which sits immediately to the north of the application site.’

We’ll see. I’d anticipate that the ‘applicant’ may construct a fence to deter the prying eyes of those enjoying the trail…


I looked for my old photos of the Railway – couldn’t find them, so I’ve used these images from Google to show what the old place looked like. To be fair, the new structure does show some sympathy with the old design.


This easy ride covered about 24 flat kilometres and took about an hour and forty minutes, plus an hour in the café.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Monday 2 January 2017 – Silverdale


It was a good decision to postpone this visit for 24 hours. We were rewarded with a superb 'blue sky' day.

After another leisurely start we enjoyed coffee and cake at Leighton Moss bird reserve visitor centre, leaving it at around 11 am for a clockwise 19 km stroll around the coast to Silverdale, over Arnside Knott, down to Arnside and a bit more coast, then cross country past sunset at Hawes Water to a pot of tea at the visitor centre before it closed at 4.30.

There were many people about and the paths are well used by locals and visitors alike. Thankfully not as muddy as those around Alderley Edge, and the planning regulations seem to be more sensible here.

The top picture shows me approaching the old Smelt Mill Chimney at Jenny Brown’s Point, after which we meandered through Jack Scout, where the sun shone on these seed heads from a deep blue sky.


Both Wolf House Gallery and the Silverdale Hotel were closed. Perhaps they hadn’t realised that this Monday was a Bank Holiday on which they could have made good profits had they been open.

We’d anticipated our usual haunts being closed, so, with the tide out, we wandered along the slippery shore line to the cove.


There’s a bench, just out of shot to the right in the above picture, which makes an excellent luncheon venue.


Here’s the view over Morecambe Bay from the bench. You can see the Power Stations at Heysham on the horizon.


The robins hereabouts are not afraid of humans.


Nor are the mice. This is one of a pair who were busily constructing a nest in a wall. They ignored our attention, but if we had picked one up I expect a sharp nip would have been our reward.


Sue paused on the ascent of Arnside Knott to attempt some artistry with the frosted leaf litter.


Many pictures were taken from near the 159 metre summit of Arnside Knott. The views across the Kent Estuary to the Lake District were superb, with the higher summits such as Helvellyn and Skiddaw tinged with snow.


Our friends in Arnside – Conrad, and Ian and Rona, were all away, so sadly we passed Conrad’s local Spar shop and Ian and Rona’s house without the pleasure of seeing them. Though a stop of any consequence would have seen us finishing in the dark. The sun set as we passed Hawes Water, still with half an hour to go.


The bird watchers were still present in abundance as we approached the visitor centre well after dusk. We weren’t on a bird spotting mission today, but we did notice a Great Egret near Hazelslack.

Here’s our route – 19.5 km with about 400 metres ascent, taking a little less than five and a half hours.


I’m posting this to avoid getting too far behind. A slideshow will follow, and notes of birds and wild flowers observed this year. (Good intentions, anyway!)