Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 25 April 2008

Wednesday 23 April 2008 - Back in Deepest Cheshire

It’s summer again, with light nights and a beer outside the hostelry before our regular evening walk.
Tonight we started from The Bells of Peover, with a pint of Bombardier. As we had allowed an hour for the journey, and it took half that time, it was a very leisurely drink that we enjoyed before Andrew, tonight’s leader, turned up and directed us along his well planned route.

Bells of Peover is a Grade I listed building which dates back to the mid 13th Century. It was originally known as the Warren de Tabley Arms but was changed to the present title in the 1890s. Many people think it gets its name from the church bells next door, but it was named after the Bell family who continued to run it for several generations. George Bell is buried just 50 yards away in the adjoining church. The Stars and Stripes fly alongside the Union Jack because Eisenhower and Patton were stationed nearby at the Hall during the war and held strategy meetings in the bar at the pub!

It was a clear night, but warm enough for sandals and a thin fleece. As we tramped through the fresh Cheshire countryside the sun sank slowly behind us, illuminating Andrew’s carefully produced map of the route, and giving the trees above us a pinkish glow at dusk.

Whilst Andrew got edgy about the timing of his next pint, Sue enjoyed the company of these two frisky horses.

Before long, we had zoomed past the Whipping Stocks and were homing in to the discordant clangs of five of Lower Peover church’s six bells, the ringing practice turnout being somewhat inadequate tonight. Continuing down pleasant paths and over a busy mill race, we soon arrived at our destination. The clangers had just about finished, so we were able to restrain Sue from stepping into the breach and calm her down with a glass of cider.

Here’s the route, 9 km with 50 metres of ascent (Cheshire has a gentle slant, according to Andrew) and taking just under two hours.

Tuesday 22 April 2008 - Back in Sunny Timperley

We don’t seem to spend much time here nowadays, and part of the roof that blew off whilst we were in New Zealand still hasn’t been repaired…
But who cares. It’s sunny, the birds are singing, the hedges have greened up and are blossoming; the cherry blossom is particularly abundant. Even some of the larger trees are exhibiting a green sheen of new growth.
The Bridgewater Canal’s towpath has even been dried by the keen east wind, so my galoshes have been left at home and the washing machine hasn’t been needed after every short bike ride.
The mallards have been busy as well - I passed some baby ducklings today.

Saturday 19 April 2008 - Reflections and Journeys

Today’s entry is really for the purpose of wrapping up my notes on our energetic trip to Torridon in fabulous weather.

The above map shows the locations of the cottage and the walks we enjoyed during the week.
I think it really demonstrates well that once you have arrived in Torridon, very little driving is needed - a wide variety of fabulous walks are literally on your doorstep.

The reports on the individual days can be accessed via the ‘Torridon08’ label on this blog. The entries were made each evening from the cottage (occasionally under duress!) and the photos were added later.

I’ve discovered that one of the disadvantages of the format of this blog is the inability to effectively publish (my albeit rather amateurish) panoramic images, other than as a header or footer, due to the narrow space available. I like the format apart from that, so don’t intend to change it. On this occasion I’ve published a separate web page which is a better medium for the wider images. It also summarises the trip and provides some statistics which may be of interest to those who came along.

Whilst Notchy, Dave, Pam and Paul enjoyed an uneventful 10 hour journey home, Sue and I had TGOC food stashes to drop off. We also had Heather’s stashes to take back home as we had discovered that her poorly metatarsal had suffered a setback, meaning that she is out of this year’s Challenge.

It proved a long but pleasurable journey, and we were very lucky to escape past a comatose petrol tanker that was lying on its side on the A82 near Fort Augustus, before the police and fire engines arrived to stem the river of fuel that we had to drive through, and no doubt also stem the flow of traffic and rescue the driver!

Further on, we enjoyed this classic view of Ben Nevis from the Memorial at Spean Bridge.

Most importantly, we arrived in Dundee in plenty of time to enjoy a lovely evening with Chris and Avril, and their daughter Sue and her children. Chris and Avril had been with me in Ullapool in 2006 (I think the report may still be outstanding!) and were very jealous of the good weather we had enjoyed in Torridon.

Thank you Chris and Avril for such a lovely evening to conclude this most pleasurable trip.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Gripped To My Office Chair

I've just picked this up from John Manning's blog. Rarely do I watch this sort of thing all the way through, but I had to, I was gripped in my office chair!
If you click on the picture and watch the video, you'll see what I mean....


John comments: "I’m currently organising an outdoor festival in the South Pennines, I’m now going to check the liability cover is adequate!"
So that should be a Festival With a Difference!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Friday 18 April 2008 - A Big Day on Beinn Eighe

THIS IS NALLO LADY'S POSTING FOR 18 APRIL

This was a big day for Dave, Paul, Pam and me – Beinn Eighe, after Martin’s frittata for breakfast.
It was another lovely morning, although the wind was brisk and cold. There was a good rising path from the plantation near Loch Bharranch.

The final snowy section (above) up to the first summit was hard work, with axes employed despite the soft snow, due to the steepness of the slope. Elevenses of tea and caramel shortbread had been just in time!

A man and his seven year old Munro bagging son were also going well.

The snow was good up to and beyond the Munro summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach, where Pam and Paul are pictured below, and the ridge ahead, with Liathach as a backdrop, was beautiful.

The ridge was narrow but felt safe – we were all high as kites with the blue sky and stunning views.

Lunch was on a snow-free, south facing slope with a grandstand view of Liathach, always bathed in sun. Clouds from the east evaporated as they passed overhead.

There was another stiff pull up to the point where another narrow ridge heads off to the main summit of this mountain, Ruadh-stac Mòr. The wind now increased in earnest, spindrift filling the air. The chill wind bit into our faces and strengthened as we approached the summit. Care and strength were needed to stay upright. Dave and I reached the summit and waited….and waited…
Meanwhile Pam and Paul were hunkered down in the snow on the final approach, as Pam had nearly blown away! Here they are, just after staggering to their feet after their long 'hunker'.

A team effort got us all back up to the summit.

On the descent we encountered others nearing the final haul to the summit. We recommended approaching from the leeward side! Here we are, descending to the right of our upward route.

The next obstacle was the gully into Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Although the snow was mostly soft there were a couple of tricky sections where it was shallow, steep and icy. …Steep, but enjoyable once the difficulties were over.

After this we descended gradually to the clear lochan, where the breeze was still stiff. Stepping stones made easy work of crossing the outflow, then a good path traversed the hillside, descending gradually. The northern flanks of Liathach again revealed themselves, covered in snow.
We saw several more folk after a break for afternoon tea by some waterfalls, before completing the final 5-6 km in a cold headwind that persisted all the way back to the car.

What an epic day on which to conclude a wonderful week!

Here's our route - 16 km and 1200 metres ascent: